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How to maximize your market intelligence

Market intelligence will remain relevant and even gain more interest this year, predicts Errol Van Engelen, the owner of Dutch business development consultancy firm Bizzmaxx. He suggested businesses put MI on the top of their agenda to gain insights from external data. MI alone is very helpful in decision making - after all, knowledge is power. But how can companies maximize it?

  • Combine MI with Business Intelligence (BI): Business Intelligence is more structured, numeric information usually kept in dedicated internal data warehouses, as Engelen's post notes. When combined with MI, decision makers could gain a fuller, clearer picture.
  • Make information accessible: There are some challenges in merging the BI and MI because the latter is more complex, as it also includes qualitative data and comes from a broader pool of sources. Standardizing the formats of the data, among other things, will make necessary information easier to access and process.
  • Be specific: Know what you're looking for. Take into account which competitors and which of their activities your business is most interested in, whether there are niche sectors you'd like to know more about, and keep track of major trends in your industry. My colleague Jonathan Dunnett made an excellent point in his blog post Building Corporate Awareness when he wrote "Understanding who your competitors are, as well as their weak points during such a downturn can yield a great competitive advantage, particularly if you are looking ahead and anticipating." The more MI analysts can de-clutter, the more actionable the data.
  • In-house not always best: You can save time and cost by outsourcing MI work to dedicated analysts rather than bog down the business development team with additional work. Having dedicated analysts can also help ensure your business is always on top of market, regulatory and competitive developments. Human curation has additional benefits, as it provides more freedom to customize and narrow down the content, among other things.

Information will always be relevant, but data without purpose won't be as useful. In fact, too much unnecessary information can create clutter and confuse decision makers. So, in order to make the best out of information, make sure you obtain actionable and accessible data to begin with.