Today’s business environment is in a constant state of change, and marketers have to be armed with the most up-to-date data on their customers, competitors, industry and market at large to stay ahead. Market intelligence tools give businesses the data they need to understand the movements of their industry, putting their organization in the best position to succeed.
What is Market Intelligence?
Market intelligence is the data organizations use to make strategic business decisions about their marketing campaigns, sales processes, product development and other critical operations. It’s typically based on activity in their industry, including trends in consumer behavior, competitor performance, technology adoption and macroeconomic forces that could impact the overall market.
As data collection tools have become more sophisticated in recent years, market intelligence has empowered more business executives to make impactful, data-driven decisions about the direction and future of their organization to maintain their competitive advantage. According to Ascend2, almost 70% of today’s marketers are using data most or all of the time to inform the decision-making process.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate the point. A cybersecurity software company might have data intelligence that suggests ransomware attacks are on the rise and B2B customers are investing more of their security budget into the latest ransomware protection solutions. The cybersecurity company can use that information to revamp its own ransomware solutions to better meet consumer demand, and build marketing campaigns that directly address the changing needs of their customer base.
The Core Components of Market Intelligence
There are four key components of market intelligence, including competitor analysis, product intelligence, market understanding and customer understanding.
Businesses have to build a complete understanding of the competitive landscape to fully appreciate the nuances of their industry and more accurately pinpoint their own competitive advantages. To conduct your competitive analysis, identify all relevant competitors in your space, including businesses selling products and services identical to yours as well as businesses selling to the same customers as you are.
Take stock of their offerings. Purchase a selection of each competitor’s product offerings (or sign up for a free trial) and evaluate their core features and benefits. Once you’ve collected all of this data, you have a better understanding of the industry standard and can more easily position your market advantages in relation to your competitors.
Businesses that know how to evolve and adapt are best able to respond to changes in the marketplace and stay relevant in the eyes of their customers. Gathering product intelligence helps businesses gain a deeper awareness of how their products are used and perceived so they can assess the value they’re bringing to customers and make adjustments as necessary.
Marketers can collect product intelligence data through methods like customer surveys, testimonials, customer satisfaction scores, polls, questions and other means. The data they acquire through these methods helps them know their customers’ needs and preferences so they can better adapt their current offerings to continue delivering value.
Reaching the right customers with the right products requires a full-scale view of the marketplace, including customer profile, opportunities for innovation, technological advancements, and industry outlook and performance. This helps businesses better prepare for challenges and opportunities on the horizon and position their brand for maximum growth.
Take the time to conduct deep market research. Some agencies periodically publish deeply researched, highly comprehensive analyses of a specific industry’s recent performance and future outlook. Consider investing in a selection of these reports to gather the necessary business intelligence needed to best adapt your organization to emerging market trends and position your brand for success.
Customer expectations often feel like a moving target, and in many ways, they are. New challenges arise, technology changes and economic conditions adjust. Your business has to keep its fingers on the pulse of consumer activity to understand how best to address their needs and create long-term value.
Using methods like surveys, interviews and testimonials, businesses can learn about the inner worlds of your customers’ businesses. This helps you build a better understanding of their specific business challenges and needs, which you can use to decide whether to bring new products to market (or simply better position your existing product line to match their current challenges).
Analyzing your online content is another key part of learning about your customers. Examine the types of content they find most engaging to learn what topics they care about. This data can form the basis of a content marketing strategy that drives engagement and, ultimately, conversions.
Market Intelligence Tools for B2B Businesses
Businesses use market intelligence tools to stay ahead, but it can be difficult to know which products do what. These are some of the most effective market intelligence tools in use today:
Website analytics software
Website tools like Google Analytics help you track the performance of your web pages to build a profile of your site visitors and better understand the way they engage with your online content. Track metrics like bounce rate, average session duration, average pages per session and more to see the types of content that are driving the most engagement with your brand.
This information gives you valuable insight into the page elements and brand characteristics that users find most appealing. Colors, images, graphics and tone of voice can all be identified, abstracted and replicated on other pages to generate similar results across your online collateral.
Analytics software also helps you understand the subject matter users want to read about. This gives you a window into the challenges, needs and objectives of your potential customers, which you can use to inform your content creation processes.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective channels for acquiring new customers, according to data from HubSpot. SEO is the process of enhancing specific elements of your website to make your content more valuable in the eyes of search engines, increasing your chances of ranking on the first page of search results.
While your SEO strategy should be dynamic and include optimizing various elements of your pages (including page speed and metadata), the keywords you target on each page should be the heart of your organic search strategy.
SEO tools like Semrush make it easy to select high-intent keywords that your audience actually cares about, while supplementing that intel with market research into the keyword performance of your competitors’ websites. Use this information to build a content marketing strategy around the right keywords to help you nudge ahead of your competitors where it matters most.
Social listening tools
Social media is the focal point of activity for many of today’s B2B shoppers. In fact, more than half of consumers use social media platforms to learn about new brands, according to research from Sprout Social. In addition to learning about brands, customers also use social to chat with friends about certain products and share knowledge about topics they find interesting. It’s a deep treasure chest of information, but it can be difficult to track and organize.
Social listening tools do the hard work for you. These solutions monitor conversations between potential customers taking place in selected social media channels to understand what they’re saying about your brand and what topics they want to learn more about.
This information provides you with valuable insight into your potential customers’ thinking, letting you gauge how your brand needs to position itself to better align with expectations, while also giving you ideas that can inform relevant, personalized content marketing strategies.
Competitor monitoring solutions
It pays to keep your eyes on competitor websites. It gives you a look into what they believe is the best way to connect with users to entice greater engagement. But it can be a full-time job in itself to constantly stay abreast of competitor site updates.
Competitor monitoring solutions track all the changes your competitors are making to their websites, from subtle color tweaks to large-scale overhauls. Paired with other competitor analysis solutions, these tools can help you build a complete understanding of how your competitors are positioning their brand and how the changes they’re making are impacting their ability to reach potential customers.
For example, your data might tell you that a selection of your competitors have updated their website copy to make it less feature-focused and more benefits-oriented. Your analytical tools are now telling you the websites that have implemented those changes are driving significantly more traffic and reporting higher engagement figures. This suggests your potential customers prefer website copy that speaks to the ways it can help them, information that can (and should) inform your own copy updates.
Competitor email analysis software
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to connect with potential customers, drive traffic to your website and share product and educational information with users. More than 80% of B2B marketers say email is the content marketing channel they use most, according to the Content Marketing Institute. However, subscribers tend to have an inbox full of emails from companies trying to connect with them, so any slight misstep in your email content can cause users to completely overlook your brand.
Competitor email solutions help you collect and analyze various data on emails other companies in your space are sending. You can learn how often they’re sending email to their subscribers and what types of emails are generating the highest open rates, while aggregating information across numerous competitors to understand industry best practices you can reapply to your own email campaigns.
Backlink analysis tools
A good backlink profile is one of the hallmarks of a healthy, high-performing website. So important, in fact, that the number and quality of backlinks to your website are among the metrics Google uses to determine ranking in search engine results pages.
Backlink checkers (tools like Ahrefs and Ubersuggest are among the most popular) give you a complete overview of the backlinks leading to your website, including the number of links, the types of websites and how much traffic those links are driving to your pages.
This information gives you an overview of the number and quality of your backlinks, which can help you make smarter decisions around your backlinking strategy to improve those links for better search results rankings.
The Benefits of Market Intelligence Tools
Implementing advanced market intelligence tools enable businesses to realize a variety of outcomes that power market innovation, deepen their customer relationships and give them an edge over their competitors. Here are seven ways businesses can benefit from market intelligence tools:
- Drive impactful product innovation: Customer needs and expectations are in a constant state of change and reevaluation. Maintaining a proper appraisal of the challenges customers face can help you decide how to pivot your offerings in the market. Rolling out innovative products when your customers need them most will help you deepen customer engagement and maintain your competitive advantage.
- Prepare for future changes in the market: Businesses that remain agile in the face of market change are the ones best able to weather market challenges and drive their long-term success. Market intelligence helps businesses keep an eye to the future, understanding new, potentially disruptive trends on the horizon so they can best prepare and ready themselves to adapt when they emerge in the market.
- Build more relevant marketing strategies: Businesses can use the information they gather from marketing intelligence software to understand how customers want to engage with brands. This can help them build more relevant, highly personalized marketing materials that drive meaningful engagement and encourage potential customers to deepen their interactions with your brand.
- Slash your customer acquisition costs: Marketing intelligence facilitates more efficient innovation, faster times to market, better agility and more personalized marketing campaigns. The result is lower costs needed to acquire each customer, making your sales, marketing and product development arms more efficient and giving your business additional resources to devote to other high-value priorities.
- Build better customer loyalty: Customers want to feel like your brand has an intuitive understanding of their needs and preferences and is willing to go above and beyond to treat them like individuals. A personalized approach to marketing coupled with developing products that meet their specific needs helps build deeper customer relationships and longer lifetime value.
- Maintain a competitive advantage: Businesses that deploy the right market intelligence tools are able to keep a close eye on the movements of their competitors. Whether the competition is bringing innovative products to market or revamping their marketing messaging, market intelligence keeps you fully appraised of all competitor changes, helping you position your brand’s unique differentiators to maintain a competitive edge.
- Become more customer-centric: Today’s market intelligence tools provide a wealth of data about market demands and customer preferences. Placing this data at the center of your processes and operations will help make your business more customer-centric, enabling you to adapt to the needs of your customers for better performance and more value generation.
Leverage a Suite of Intelligence Tools from CONTENTgine
CONTENTgine’s intelligence solutions provide B2B marketers with purchase intent data, which helps them identify target accounts that are ready to make a purchase. We manage the world’s largest repository of B2B content assets, including whitepapers, case studies and more. We send content assets to millions of customers across the world to generate billions of intent signals and learn where in the buyer process each potential customer lives.
Clients can categorize intent signals based on their specific industry category, helping them zero in on the potential customers that are in the market for their product or service offerings. Not only does this connect businesses with the customers that are ready to buy — drastically shortening their sales cycles and reducing their marketing spend — it also gives them access to new market segments they didn’t know existed.
CONTENTgine’s intelligence comes complete with detailed persona information, so B2B marketers know where in the organizational hierarchy their prospects reside. Using this data, marketers can better personalize their marketing materials to maximize the chances of a conversion while also removing those accounts that are unlikely to make a purchase.
Reach out to our team today if you’re ready to use intent data to transform your content marketing strategy.