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How to Use Market Intelligence to Win Against Competitors

Note: This blog was written by Ellie Mirman, CMO at Crayon, a market and competitive intelligence company that provides insights and inspiration for marketers.

Businesses today have great internal visibility – into their funnels, websites, and roadmaps – and many tools and data to evaluate those internal efforts. But when it comes to understanding and acting on what’s happening externally – with competitors, customers, and partners – most companies are radically underinvested.

How are competitors shifting messaging and positioning? What are the most meaningful product and pricing changes in your market? Are companies in your space shifting marketing investment to new platforms? What’s their hiring plan? What’s their partner strategy? Are they winning or losing customers at an accelerated rate? What content strategies are working for them? Most companies can’t answer these fundamental questions.

What is Market Intelligence?

Market intelligence (MI) is information relevant to a company’s market – specific industry or product area – for use in strategic and tactical decision-making to achieve the company’s goals. Market intelligence includes data on one’s competitors, customers, partners, thought leaders, and other variables that can influence market success.

This intel is hidden everywhere – across a company’s website, online forum threads, review sites, and job boards. There’s an incredible wealth of information available online that can be used to get insight into competitors’ strategies and programs.

Increasing Adoption of Market Intelligence

More and more companies are committing resources to market intelligence – in fact, 94% of large companies are doing some market intelligence and 80% have whole teams dedicated to it. At the same time, we’re still in the early stages of companies learning how to build out effective MI programs — 40% of these programs have been in place for less than one year and only 22% have goals.

 

How to Build a Market Intelligence Program

If your business, like many out there, is just getting started with market intelligence, here are some key questions to answer to build out this new program.

  • Who are the key players in your market? Consider not only your direct competitors but also your indirect competitors and aspirational competitors.
  • What areas of your business do you want to impact? Having this in mind can help target your market intel efforts. Do you want to create differentiated messaging? Find untapped content marketing topics? Identify areas of strategic investment to investigate?
  • Where are our competitors and customers active online? Consider the complete digital footprint spread over a company’s website, online forum threads, job boards, and more.
  • When will you review and analyze intel? Timeliness is critical in order to get an advantage over others in your industry with the newly found insights. Determine your cadence for reviewing and analyzing intel in a timely manner.
  • How will you drive quantitative and qualitative results? Businesses employing MI efforts see both quantitative and qualitative benefits. Whether it’s an increase in sales win rate or an improvement in unique differentiation, MI can have a significant impact across every area of the business – remember to evaluate the full range of results.

 

The vast majority of companies haven’t awakened to the market intelligence opportunity yet. That’s great news for you! You can be first in your market to use actionable market intelligence to build a sustainable competitive advantage.

There’s a good chance if you don’t make the investment soon, someone else in your market will beat you to the punch. By the time you see their case study, you’ll be playing catch-up. Instead, you could have your rivals read a case study about how you won with market intelligence.

About Crayon

Crayon is a market intelligence platform that enables businesses to track, analyze, and act on everything happening outside their four walls. Tens of thousands of teams use Crayon’s software to capture and analyze complete market intelligence, pulling from more than seven million sources. Crayon was founded in 2014 by former HubSpot and AdMob executives who believe that millions of businesses have yet to take advantage of the intelligence data available today to drive actionable insights and opportunities. To learn more about Crayon, visit www.crayon.co.