You may have noticed that some of your competitors always seem to be one step ahead. They keep making better-informed decisions and attracting more customers. How do they do it?
Market intelligence might just be the secret.
Gathering and analyzing data about your industry helps you make better-informed decisions, stay afloat, and ultimately grow your business.
So, in this comprehensive guide, you’ll find four practical ways to use market intelligence for business growth.
- Identify Market Opportunities
As a small business owner, you always look for untapped opportunities to grow your business. One of the most effective ways to do this is by extensive market analysis.
To start, take a look at your current customer base. Are there any new patterns or trends that you can identify? Is there a change in their taste or behavior? You can analyze your customer database to get this information. You can also use business intelligence tools to identify emerging trends.
Also, research your industry to see what’s happening at a broader scale. You can get these insights from industry reports and publications. It also helps to attend trade shows and follow industry experts on social media. Observing for yourself what’s happening in your industry can help, too.
For example – let’s say you run a small bakery. You can visit other bakeries in the neighborhood, and take down notes. Let’s say you notice a lack of high-quality, affordable gluten-free options. So, you could offer a wide variety of gluten-free baked goods to cater to a more health-conscious market segment.
Staying informed helps you spot emerging trends and changes before your competitors do. This way, you can react accordingly.
- See How Competitors Are Doing
When growing your SMB, you also need to look at your competitors and gather competitor intelligence. Understanding your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses helps you improve on the former and exploit the latter.
Here’s how you can get started with your competitive analysis. Of course, identify your top competitors first. This is where competitive intelligence tools like Owler, Spyfu, VisualPing, etc., come in handy:
After making a comprehensive list of these competitor businesses, gather as much information as you can about them, including:
- Who they are, and what are they doing well
- their unique selling propositions
Don’t forget to analyze your rivals’ marketing tactics. You want to know how they are reaching their target audience, whether this be through paid advertising, social media, or SaaS marketing strategies. Look at their content marketing strategies as well.
Analyzing your competitor also means analyzing their product offerings and pricing models. Are your products way more expensive than theirs? You also want to know if they offer certain promotions or discounts or if they have a wider product selection than you do.
Finally, keep track of what your competitors’ customers say about them and how they respond. This information can help you improve your own customer service. Don’t overlook this. Remember, customers are over five times more likely to recommend your business after good customer service. So, here’s an opportunity to boost customer retention and grow your SMB.
The bottom line: If you know what makes your competitors successful, you can replicate these strategies yourself to hopefully reap the same–or even better–results.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a restaurant. Based on your research, you find that your competitor generates many of its leads through its recipe blog posts. You can use this information to inform your own marketing strategy. For example, you may want to replicate their content. Or, you might want to go a step further and include how-to-cook videos.
Whatever you do, you can only identify these growth opportunities through competitor analysis.
- Determine Customer Insights
Understanding your own customers is critical to the success of your business. Gathering customer insights through market intelligence helps you make better business decisions and improve your customer experience. This ultimately increases your sales.
Customer reviews and surveys work brilliantly here.
Ask customers questions about their experiences with your business, their likes and dislikes, and suggestions for improvement. Use this feedback to identify patterns and trends in their behavior. Generative AI technology can help you create effective survey questions:
You can send these questions to your subscribers. If you can, give them an incentive like a discount for answering your online surveys in the first place.
You can also use marketing intelligence tools like BrandWatch, Tableau, and Demandbase to gather data on customer preferences and behavior. These tools can track website traffic and customer interactions.
Another strategy is to monitor what your customers are saying on social media. Your customers spend an average of two hours and 25 minutes on social media. So, it’s the perfect place to find important customer insights.
With these strategies, you get a comprehensive understanding of what your target audience wants. You can then use your customers’ insights to improve your product or services.
You can also group your customers based on their answers to your surveys and insights. This will allow you to target your marketing efforts better and offer personalized experiences.
- Gather Product Intelligence
Product intelligence involves gathering and analyzing data about your offerings to identify product development and improvement opportunities. It’s one of the most practical ways to use market intelligence for business.
With product intelligence, you can learn:
- What features customers like and dislike
- What features they use the most
Analyzing this data shows you which products to focus on, and which features to add or improve, or even remove.
To gather product intelligence, start by analyzing your sales data. Look at which products are selling well and which ones are not.
Don’t forget your product performance metrics like:
- Sales revenue
- Churn rates
- The average revenue per user (ARPU)
Also, look for patterns and trends in your data that can provide insights into your product performance. For example, if you notice that a particular product has a high ARPU, it can mean your audience likes your product.
But you’ll also want to analyze other types of marketing intelligence data to better understand this information.
For instance, you can look at your customer insights to determine what exactly your audience likes about that specific product. So, you can even improve that feature in the existing product. Similarly, if you notice high churn rates, you can determine, through customer insights, what customers dislike about that product. Then you can make the necessary changes.
You can also analyze your product performance data in conjunction with your market research and competitor analysis data.
Let’s say you find sales of your thick-crust pizzas are taking off. Based on your market research, you find no restaurant in your neighborhood is selling thin-crust pies. You also see your competitors’ spicy pies are selling quite well. Based on all that data, you can introduce a new product in the market: a thin-crust spicy pizza..
The use of market intelligence for business allows you to grow and succeed in today’s competitive business environment.
This guide shared four ways you can use market intelligence. Use it to identify market opportunities, conduct competitor analysis, understand customer insights, and collect product intelligence.
Remember, the use of market intelligence for business growth is not a one-time activity. It’s an ongoing process you must do continuously to stay ahead of the curve.