As customers become more informed and pressures of increased competition cause long term relationships with customers more difficult to maintain, it is more important now to know all you can about the market you work in than it has ever been.

Often utilising a combination of Desk and Primary research, and sometime mystery shopping, Market Intelligence now forms a critical part of a businesses decision making process.

Information on Market size, share and growth, as well as information on possible technology, environmental and socioeconomic changes and how they are going to affect the marketplace are now the norm when facing a strategic decision.

Market Intelligence can be viewed at differing levels, with an overview looking at the industry from a “birds eye” giving a snapshot of the key players and the overall shape of the industry. This then allows you to highlighting a particular segment, sector or component of the marketplace to focus in on and establish a comprehensive understanding on how it works now as well as how those in the industry feel it will change in the future.

This is by far one of the more difficult topics to cover as it is very easy to become confused with a wash of different methodologies and information types. Combining perceptions, opinions and factual data can do more harm than good and stop you from reaching the objectives you set out to see. Likewise it is possible to enter the never ending loop of information gathering that never actually reaches a conclusion, only raises further questions.

Best done by the professionals this area of research requires significant levels of planning and discipline and really needs to be done by an impartial third party. Done well the Strategic advantage Market Intelligence can offer a company can make stronger than the rest and remove the reliance on “trial and error”. The secret as in all strategic areas, get in there first and make the others follow, always be in front.