Businesses operating in the 21st century work in a world where data has never been more readily and publicly available. Thanks to the evolution of the Internet, general information about almost any market sector – whether it’s competitors, market trends, industry legislation or new product development – is just a few clicks away.
But although top level industry information is now freely available, it can be harder to obtain information relevant to a business’ niche and locality. The real power of market intelligence is the data that can be collected and analysed specifically for the purpose of making confident, progressive business decisions based on market development and market entry opportunities.
If used well, market intelligence can help a business gain a foothold in a market or further increase its existing presence. Keeping track of the competition is fundamental to the operation of any growing business. Market intelligence also helps to stay one move ahead of the competition; identifying their capabilities, liabilities and long term intentions.
If you’re a decision maker looking to add value to your business using market intelligence take some time to digest six of the most common market research studies used to find specific, valid industry data:
Market intelligence techniques
Market entry research
Market entry and expansion studies are carried out by businesses looking to enter new markets or expand their presence in markets they are already established. This research is geared towards giving you enough information to decide whether to invest in new sectors or invest further in existing markets.
The research will help to outline the demand for products and services; the most efficient means of getting products and services to market; understand the market’s likely response to a new entrant; and get qualified feedback from industry experts and associations.
Market assessment research
Market assessments tend to be carried out to as part of due diligence to support a business decision that’s already been made. For instance, an acquisition study – used to cross-check the foundations of an acquisition target – is more qualitative than quantitative research, with interviews carried out with customers, competitors and the acquisition targets themselves to understand the characteristics of the market.
Competitor intelligence research
Competitor research is fast becoming one of the most popular market intelligence studies with businesses keen to get the inside view of their rivals, whether it’s sales figures or production data, for example. Competitor insights are highly valuable due to the diversity of information they can provide. From investment and expansion plans to marketing strategies and supplier performance, it has never been easier to get under the skin of competitor businesses using the following tactics:
- Simply browsing competitor websites
- Customer interviews
- Discussions with competitors – about other competitors
- Discussions with suppliers and distributors
- Discussions with industry influencers
Needs assessment studies
With more choices and options available to consumers than ever before, it’s never been more important for businesses like yours to meet the needs of customers. One of the most interesting market intelligence studies investigates the gap between what a particular market wants and what it currently gets.
Needs assessment research is usually a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to measure the extent of a need within a market. From focus groups with target customers to quantitative questionnaires and online surveys aimed at specific demographics, it’s all geared to helping businesses build value propositions that meet the needs of your customers and ensure business longevity and growth.
In business a brand means so much more than just a logo or slogan. It’s the overall identity of the company that sets the tone for the quality and service that customers come to expect. B2B branding research is therefore crucial in helping new businesses to establish and maintain a distinctive corporate identity, both internally and externally.
Brand strategy research can assess the existing value of your brand, measuring levels of consumer penetration and advocacy. Intelligent branding research will not only help you ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of your own brand, it will also highlight opportunities to attack competitors where they are found to be weak.
A key to the success of any type of business is its ability to make well informed business decisions. At the Business & IP Centre we can give you access to a broad range of sources of reliable and relevant industry information to help your business keep abreast of emerging technologies, industry legislation and how your marketplace is developing as a whole. Sign up to ‘Introduction to using the Business & IP Centre’ workshop to receive practical guidance in using key British Library sources for market research, law, scientific research, industry news and arts and culture.
Segmentation is an alternative means of differentiating your business from the competition, with the goal of increasing profitability. Needs-based segmentation based on quantitative data of your target audience can ensure you meet the specific needs of a particular demographic – whether it’s gender, age, race, location or attitudes and interests. Segmentation studies can therefore have direct input into digital and offline marketing strategy as well as product development.