Market Intelligence: dati da trasformare in conoscenza

Market intelligence (MI) is an increasingly discussed topic among marketers and managers.

But what exactly is meant by this term? How is it possible to develop a business strategy that includes it? Is it a prerogative of large companies, or can SMEs also exploit it?

Digital technologies and their applications have changed the rules of the game over the years, offering every business, regardless of size, the opportunity to reap benefits that were once hard to imagine.

Before we look at how this is possible, let’s understand what exactly is meant by market intelligence and what its benefits are.

Data to be transformed into knowledge: definition, goals and examples of market intelligence

Each market or sector of the global economy has different characteristics, dimensions and evolutionary trends.

The collection of data relating to these elements is the basis for any market intelligence activity, followed by their processing in order to obtain information compatible with the company’s goals.

The development of an MI strategy entails the constant monitoring of a market, through the use of tools for data research and their integration into daily operations.

It is therefore a matter of transforming an information asset into a resource to achieve one’s objectives more quickly, maximising the return on investment and reducing costs.

The areas in which this approach can be used are many. Let us make it clear with some practical examples:

  • Using government sources, a company could investigate international trade trends and choose new destinations for its exports.
  • By purchasing a report from a specialised company, a company can better understand the evolution of consumption in an area.
  • By addressing their customers, Account Managers can get opinions on products, services or business approach and adopt improvements.
  • By analysing the sales history, forecasts of future cash flows can be made, optimising existing strategies and devising new ones.
  • Through participation in trade fairs, it is possible to map competitorspotential customers or industrial partners and gain an overview of the market.

There are many sources to draw on, and alongside professional tools such as sector studies or reports from public institutions, there are also traditional solutions that companies can use.

In any case, the objective is always the same: to understand what is happening in the marketto select relevant information and to develop a solid knowledge base for future decisions.

Yesterday and today: traditional vs. digital tools?

As mentioned above, the tools to implement a market intelligence strategy are very different.

Let’s go back for a moment and reconsider fundamental MI activities, such as studying competitors or potential B2B customers in an area.

Who are my competitors? What distinguishes their offerings? What are the features of my ideal B2B customers? What products do they use for their processes?

These are all questions that companies have always answered in the traditional way through business trips and trade fairs.

While this approach allows you to maintain direct contact with your market and the people within it, it also has its limitations. Which ones?

  • Firstly, the high costs of participating in events, especially when they take place abroad.
  • The amount of time used to prepare the participation, which usually requires the commitment of many people in the company.
  • The possibility of a limited number of companies attending the event; in other words, trade fairs offer valuable networking chances, but they do not exhaust market opportunities.

For these reasons, the potential of new technologies must be combined with traditional solutions: a principle that now applies to every business process, and also to the study of the market.

The aim is to create a synergy between the physical and online dimensions, where different solutions can reinforce each other and have a positive impact on business.

Let’s try to understand better with an example linked once again to competition.

After identifying the competitors in the area of interest, you can study their commercial offering and decide to improve your positioning, attending the next trade fair after having updated your business proposal.

But how do you know exactly who your competitors are?

You can carry out market analysis using global databases, identifying the companies you are interested in by using industry codes, and then analysing the sites of those found, in order to understand their characteristics in detail.

This is a manual process usually carried out by consultancy firms, at high costs and with medium to long lead times. For these reasons, many companies may believe that market intelligence is an exclusive domain of large companies with the resources to acquire such analysis.

But this is a mistaken belief. Let’s see why.

Find new clients, distributors and suppliers in 196 countries.

Le analisi di mercato automatizzate sono anche a portata

Why market analysis is now also accessible to SMEs

This is no longer reserved for large companies, thanks to the advantages of digital technologies. Here are some of them, which are also applicable to market analysis:

  • Speed: the use of artificial intelligence algorithms makes it possible to automate the study of a market, reducing the time needed to obtain concrete results.
  • Variety: systems such as Big Data Analytics allow data from a variety of sources to be cross-referenced to identify links between information, providing a comprehensive overview of the area being studied.
  • Accuracy: today’s tools allow you to map the elements of your research in great detail, extracting information that could be missed with a manual search. In the case of a market analysis, an example would be the certifications held by companies within an industry.
  • Accessibility: the automation introduced by new technologies makes it possible to reduce the human component required by many activities, and consequently also the related costs. Today, it is possible to collect data in a few minutes that would once have required months of work.

All this means that each company can integrate a flow of quality information into its operations, capable of supporting an ongoing market intelligence strategy.

We have developed our Explore platform with this in mind. By applying AI algorithms to a database of 400 million companies in 196 countries, we are able to automatically study their online presence, providing a detailed snapshot of the global market at all times.

This is a fundamental step to identify the interlocutors in line with one’s needs, all over the world: suppliers, distributors, customers, potential partners, but also competitors to be studied, as we mentioned earlier.

Having the right information in this area allows you to build new business relationships and gain real knowledge of the scenario in which you are moving.

Combining consultancy and digital technologies, at Matchplat we also help SMEs to develop effective market intelligence strategies, without geographical limits and in a short time.

If you would like to know more, request your free pre-analysis now to find out how we can help your company.