A Quick Guide to Market Intelligence


Market intelligence is “an ongoing, holistic knowledge of all aspects of the marketplace,” according to Quirk’s Marketing Research Review. Market intelligence provides a high-level view by analyzing many different business areas including competitors, products, market dynamics, and customer insights.

These four areas cover a range of specific factors, such as:

  • Corporate strategy, acquisitions, and executive teams
  • Pricing, promotions, and cost structure
  • Market size, segments, forecasts, and trends
  • Brand loyalty, product concerns, and satisfaction rates

Because market intelligence takes a broad perspective — tracking both competitors and the overall state of the industry — it can provide valuable insight that improves a company’s business model and shapes its strategic direction. 

What questions can market intelligence answer?

Market intelligence can answer a variety of important business questions. Consider the following examples:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors?
  • Is there intense competition in our market?
  • What is the optimal price point for different products?
  • How does our company's performance compare to current industry benchmarks?
  • What are the primary drivers of value in our market?
  • Which new products are on the horizon?
  • What are the demographics and psychographics of key consumer groups?

Market intelligence has the potential to answer these kinds of strategic questions because it is based on multiple sources of data — including primary and secondary sources — which provide context and create a more balanced, accurate view of the market.

What is an example of market intelligence?

A pet food company aiming to develop a new line of pet food could employ market intelligence techniques to gain valuable insights into the industry and their target consumers. The company might begin gathering market intelligence through secondary research available in industry trade journals, government data, and information from investor conference calls. This knowledge could be deepened through attendance at trade shows, consulting with industry experts, reviewing internal company sales metrics, analyzing social media data, or conducting surveys or focus groups.

With this market intelligence, the pet food company could uncover important insights related to market demand, the strategies of competitors, and consumer preferences. By leveraging this information, they can better tailor their new pet food line to cater to the demands of its target consumers and opportunities within the market, ensuring a competitive edge and ultimately driving increased sales and customer loyalty.

How is market intelligence done? Are there any shortcuts?

Some corporations rely on a DIY approach to market research and gather as much intel as they can on their own. However, analyzing complex data sources and reaching objective conclusions may be beyond the capacity of most entrepreneurs, executives, strategists, and consultants — who are already busy with a long list of urgent, day-to-day responsibilities. Sifting through a sea of data not only requires a significant investment of time and money, but not all the necessary information may be publicly available or easily accessible.

To get in-depth research quickly and benefit from an objective, third-party view, many corporations use off-the-shelf market intelligence reports that allow them to access key benchmarks and data points to help them stay ahead of the competition. Thousands of published market research reports are available on websites like MarketResearch.com with in-depth data on just about every industry you can imagine, from hot dogs to space shuttles.

What about competitive analysis?

Some published market research reports provide a comprehensive look at a specific product or market, while others focus on individual companies by analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). Company profile reports cover a company’s operation and organizational structure, products and services, mergers and acquisitions, contract wins, and more. This type of report can help you analyze the competition and better understand key industry players without losing too much time in the process.

Additional resources

Market intelligence can inform and improve an organization’s overall strategy by grounding its decisions in real-world data and analysis, which can lead to business growth.

Interested to learn more? Check out our white paper to learn how to use market research to find new business opportunities and generate additional revenue streams.

Finding Business Opportunities: The Importance of Market Research

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