You can’t make a statement in your market by just wishing. You should trust only Market Intelligence: data sets that help you make relevant business decisions.
Definition-wise, Marketing Intelligence is the information you can/should collect to understand your business.
Hold on a sec.
“But I do understand my business!
Sorry to say, but you only think you do. Have you spent as much time getting to know your competitors and customers as you have developing a strategy that aims wide and hits narrow?
You know your competitors, company name, revenue range, product offerings. You set up mention alerts on Google and avidly read any press release they send out.
You know your customers. Somewhat. Your sales force is sharing information with marketing. Closed deals are a good place to start to collect info.
But there is a whole world of facts and numbers out there. What you should do is get cracking at Big Data mining.
COLLECTING MARKETING INTELLIGENCE: WHAT AND WHY
What Marketing Data Should You Collect?
Since there are so many things you want to know about your competition, you have to pick your battles. List your top 5 rivals and the main areas where they seem to be doing better. It can be any of the following:
- Web ranking: estimated traffic, SEO, SEM, back links and overall ranking
- Adwords: get the keywords they bid on, and how much they spend
- Social intel: monitor their followers and conversations
- Emails: spy on emails sent and opened
Here’s a comprehensive list of tools you can use to acquire competitor intelligence. A word of advice: we do not recommend using so many tools that you end up where you started, with an insane number of dashboards, a few dozen subscriptions, and a password list longer than the Nile.
Again, pick your battles.
Consider your business goals and needs and prioritize them. Then, aggregate so that analyzing the data is productive rather than frustrating.
If you think your competitors perform mostly due to a kick-butt sales team, visit LinkedIn and start poaching. [You did not receive that advice from me].
Don’t confuse it with the mother-ship Marketing Intelligence. Now that you plan to fully embrace inbound marketing and offer your customers what they want, you must learn as much as you can about who they are and what they need.
Market intel will help you to expand market share, tailor your messaging and assess opportunities. The difference with market research is that collecting customer data is an ongoing process. The longer the period and the higher the volume of information, the better the insights. In our case, less is not more. Behavioral patterns or buying trends cannot emerge when you have too small a sample size.
What you can gather goes beyond basic demographics, income range or home ownership status. Although these are pertinent facts to know, the gold nuggets lie deeper down the mine shaft, and when you find them, it’s a richly satisfying discovery.
Knowing your competitors can definitely give you an edge, but knowing your buyers (theirs also, yes?) will give you ninja power. INBOUND IS ALL ABOUT CUSTOMERS.
So, what exactly should you try to learn?
You need to know all you possibly can for each stage in the inbound process: awareness, consideration, decision.
Pain points, challenges, relationships, the color of the kid’s teddy. Also, where they hang out, how they go about buying things, how they sidestep friction points, where they seek answers, how they search for answers, how they respond to triggers and which action by you is likely to generate a positive action by them. In some ways, you need to be Freud, Einstein, and Google all in one.
Your Business Intelligence
This is all about you, for a change. There are many rough diamonds in your own backyard, waiting to be cut and polished.
We mentioned your sales team. Please make sure Marketing and Sales play nice and are aligned. This is the best (and more cost-effective) way to obtain qualified leads.
Start with your CRM. R stands for relationship, and that’s what you’ve been building all this time.
What defines a healthy relationship? Learning details from the other person. All your pages, forms, emails, workflows are telling you stories.
- Campaign performance
- Info collected from progressive forms
- Content performance
- Email reach and engagement
- Messages and conversations
- Revisits from leads
- Activity feed
- Social interactions
- Traffic sources
- Workflow analytics
- Paid campaigns
- SEO opportunities
Why Should You Bother Gathering Business Intelligence?
Because you can, and because the new era of AI-powered marketing tools is a lot more than data mining capabilities. Machine learning makes it possible to derive actionable insights from big data and build predictive models with spooky accuracy.
Download our ebook How Math Marketing Can Drive Superior Growth
The other benefit is the ability to segment your contacts with precision and create as many lists as you need, based on demographics+trends+behavior+etc+any combination thereof. It simplifies automation while not sacrificing personalization. Before you know it, you have implemented behavioral marketing in your online strategy.
If marketing intelligence can, in fact, help you understand exactly what to do and when, wouldn’t it be a mistake to not explore it?
I’ll bet that as a CEO or CMO, you have your eyes on marketing KPIs, sales KPIs, and ROI. The odds are in my favor, if I am to believe our clients’ concerns. The one thing that gets leads closer to signing a deal with SiO is… NUMBERS. The revenue and ROI calculator is their favorite tool.
The question that typically comes next is “Can you guarantee those results?”
We put it in writing (not using our own blood as ink, but close enough). One reason why you should hire a B2B Marketing agency is Accountability. One reason why you should hire SiO Digital is that we use Artificial Intelligence at the core of our process.
An inbound agency will sell you strategy. An iNBOUND iNTELLIGENCE™ agency will help you sell solutions to your clients.