In order to succeed, you must understand that you don’t operate your company in a vacuum that only contains you and your customers.
Competitive marketing intelligence refers to gathering data about business competitors and your overall market. Not only does this kind of information help you understand direct competitors, it also gives you insights about their customers, marketing tactics, suppliers, and partners. Find out how to collect competitive intelligence and why it’s particularly important for new businesses.
Why new businesses need competitive marketing intelligence
According to a 2020 survey from Crayon, a company that offers business intelligence solutions, 94 percent of all businesses invest in competitive intelligence. As important as large and established companies find this information, it’s even more vital to startups.
After you’ve operated your business for some time, you’ll have more information about your own customers and other aspects of your market. When you’re just starting, you’ll lack the internal data and experience to guide decisions.
- After you’ve made a few hundred sales, you will start to understand the demographics and behavior of your typical consumers. You can use that intelligence to satisfy current customers better. You may also employ it to plan and target marketing campaigns to attract new customers, based upon the profiles of your current ones.
- You’ll have had a chance to investigate and test suppliers, distributors, and business processes. This information will help you work more efficiently. Without outside intelligence, you might need to suffer a long learning curve.
All ages and sizes of businesses can benefit from competitive research; however, you can see that it’s particularly vital for new companies. Lucky for you, plenty of market intelligence companies offer accessible services to small businesses these days. Digital technology can provide a tiny startup with the same sorts of business intelligence solutions that large companies rely upon.
Should your new business gather your own competitive market research?
If you can’t possibly budget for an internal department to supply intelligence, you can find a market research company with affordable services that have been tailored for your business stage. Actually, employing a third-party marketing research agency can offer both new and established benefits some benefits:
- Different perspectives: All sorts of businesses can benefit from a second set of eyes. Focused business founders drive themselves so hard to spark their business that it’s hard to remain objective sometimes. Also, new businesses can particularly benefit from a marketing research company with experience helping similar small companies.
- Technology expertise: In this digital age, marketing intelligence researchers rely upon an array of sophisticated tools. These can range from advertising platforms to social media monitoring to tools that allow companies to spy on their competitor’s search marketing campaigns. Research consultants should already know how to maximize the potential of these tools to provide you with the insights that you need.
- Efficient use of time: Unless you’re starting a marketing intelligence agency, you will want to focus upon other primary business goals. While your researchers do their jobs, you can do yours. You’re bound to enjoy faster results by relying upon experienced marketers than if you tried to handle your main responsibilities and intelligence research.
You should also understand that the nature of competitive intelligence may vary wildly for different kinds of companies. For instance an ecommerce site that sells common physical goods may most have an interest in a competitor’s marketing. However, a healthcare industry business may need to expand its intelligence to current regulations and political trends.
Also, you might perform some kinds of competitive market research by using online tools. However, such accessible and low-hanging fruit might not provide you with enough information to truly understand your business climate or competitors. Just a small sample of other sources might include journals, newspapers, conferences, government publications, and business directories. You may not always need to spend a lot of money to benefit from these sources, but you will need to spend time and of course, know where to look.
Kinds of competitive intelligence for new businesses
Market researchers generally group competitive marketing intelligence into two basic types:
- Strategic marketing intelligence: Strategic intelligence seeks to learn about competitors and the broader business environment. It’s supported by a long-term plan that will help and sometimes even determine primary business goals. For example, Unilever did well by promoting many of its products as sustainable brand, and it is those brands that drive the most growth and sales for the parent company. They set this goal after gathering intelligence about the motivations of consumers for the types of soap and tea they market and the successful efforts of some competitors.
- Tactical marketing intelligence: Tactical marketing intelligence refers to the short-term actions that will support the business strategy and achieve goals. Let’s say your company also wanted to promote yourself as a sustainable company. This could be personally important to you and according to your intelligence, important to your target audience.
When to gather competitive marketing intelligence?
Ideally, you should begin gathering strategic research before you even solidify your business plan and goals. You may have a great business idea, but insights you gain from your intelligence will help you refine it. Once you’ve defined goals, you can begin to gain tactical intelligence in order to map out the best ways to achieve them.