Market Research or Market Intelligence?

The best way to discuss the difference between marketing research and market intelligence is to focus upon each face of the market intelligence pyramid. The information face of the market intelligence pyramid is built upon a foundation consisting of four basic areas: competitor information, product information, market information and customer information.

Competitor information refers to the understanding of competitors’ strategies, organizational structure, product investment portfolio, and future product plans.

Product information refers to an understanding of the products in the marketplace, how they are priced, and what tactical marketing activities (promotions, advertising, etc.) are being used with these products.

Market information encompasses a view of the market at a macro level including the current market size, market segments, market share trends, and the forecasted growth of the market and the respective market segments.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, customer information (the traditional focus of market research) involves fully understanding the customer preferences, drivers of customer behavior, brand loyalty, satisfaction rates and any other customer views that impact their behavior in relation to your firm’s products or services.

It is important to note that each of these areas of knowledge can be a unique discipline in and of itself. However, the real power of the information lies in combining all of these areas to create a complete view of the market, the market intelligence view.

Market intelligence yields an ongoing and comprehensive understanding of the market. Each of the four knowledge areas – competitor intelligence, product intelligence, market understanding, customer insight – interacts to form a complete understanding of the market. Each competitor’s strategies will impact their product actions, the overall trends of market growth and segment interaction will impact the strategies. Underlying all of this, the customer’s behaviors and attitudes will ultimately drive the market dynamics in terms of growth rates and product acceptance. This integration of all four knowledge areas is the ultimate deliverable for market intelligence. Marketing research is a critical and significant source of information. However, it does not encompass all of the information areas which are covered by market intelligence. The scope of information covered is one of the key differences between marketing research and market intelligence.
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