A marketing intelligence system is a set of procedures and sources used by managers to obtain their everyday information about pertinent developments in the marketing environment. It means that this is a mechanism used by executives to gather data on the developments taking place in the environment – commercial, technological, legal/political, and so on – to help them formulate strategies to cope up with the changes.
Marketing intelligence may be carried on by reading books, newspapers, trade journals. It may also be carried on by talking to different groups as customers, suppliers, distributors, and so on and different company personnel. In contemporary marketing practices, we find the formal use of an intelligence system instead of an informal or casual one. Because the casual system may provide information either too late or the information so gathered may be lost or forgotten.
Therefore, steps should be taken to place an appropriate marketing intelligence system that involves four logical steps. In the following section, we shall discuss the steps involved in a good marketing intelligence system.
Definitions of Marketing Intelligence
|Authors||Definition of Marketing Intelligence|
|(Igbaekeme, 2014)||It is an important instrument in gathering relevant information for marketing managers, executives, and management to make decisions under certainty, uncertainty, and risk.|
|(Smith, 2011)||The process of gathering information in business and thus allows business managers to fast-track the decision-making process.|
|(Hughes et al., 2008)||An organization can process, interpret, and disseminate information from the market/environment, facilitating inter-functional coordination that permits an agile response to change.|
|(Muller, 2006)||The process of determining key intelligence areas and then acquiring and analyzing, supplying, and applying information (both qualitative and quantitative) about the external market environment to understand market forces (including products and customers).|
|(American Marketing Association, 2006)||The process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.|
|(Huster, 2005)||The ability to fully understand, analyze, and assess the internal and external environment related to a company’s customers, competitors, markets, and industry to enhance the tactical and strategic decision- making process.|
|(Tan & Ahmed, 1999)||An ongoing and interacting structure of equipment, people, and procedures to gather, analyze, and distribute timely, accurate, and pertinent information to be used by marketing decision-makers for overall efficiency and efficacy of business operations.|
|(Kotler & Armstrong,2010)||A set of procedures and sources used by managers to obtain their everyday information about pertinent developments in the marketing environment.|
|(Ettorre,1995)||A process of Knowing what the competitors are up to and staying one step ahead of them by gathering actionable information about the competitors and, ideally, applying it to short- and long-term strategic planning.|
|(Hutt &Speh, 2006)||A system for capturing the necessary information for business marketing decision making.|
Marketing Intelligence importance
From the previous definitions, the researcher can summarize marketing intelligence importance:
- Allows business managers to fast-track the decision-making process.
- Knowing what the competitors are up to and staying one step ahead of them.
- Developing knowledge and skills in connecting the customer and the product.
- Help the marketing managers, executives, and management make decisions under certainty, uncertainty, and risk.
- Used by marketing decision-makers for the overall efficiency and efficacy of business operations.
- Facilitating inter-functional coordination that permits an agile response to change.
- Enhance the tactical and strategic decision-making process.
- Maintain its competitive position in the industry.
- Identify opportunities in emerging market sectors and new partnership arrangements to reduce geographic expansion.
- Provides small business companies with information from the business environment for decision making.
Steps to Improve a Company’s Marketing Intelligence System
Following steps may be taken to improve both the quality and quantity of marketing intelligence:
- Training and motivating salespeople to spot and report on developments in the environment.
- Taking measures to involve marketing intermediaries as well as to use other techniques to have intelligence information.
- Purchasing information from outside suppliers
- Establishment of Internal Marketing Information Center.
Step-1: Training and motivating salespeople to spot and report on developments in the environment.
Salespeople have the opportunity to relate directly to the customers. As a result, they can provide the company with invaluable intelligence information, which other means have no access.
They are called the “eyes and ears” of the company. They should accordingly be trained to gather relevant information on the environment and immediately pass those on to the concerned person(s) of management.
Management should recognize that salespeople are extremely busy with their routine work. They should be reminded of the necessity of such information to the company. Some motivational steps should also be taken so that salespeople feel encouraged to be involved in providing management with the necessary information.
Step-2: Taking measures to involve marketing intermediaries and using other techniques to have intelligence information.
Marketing intermediaries are a good source that may provide a company with insights on its competitors and happenings in the environment. The company should motivate them so that they pass along the company with accurate and timely intelligence.
Appointing specialists to gather marketing intelligence is another technique that a company may adopt. To have marketing intelligence on company salespeople, mystery shoppers may be sent to sales centers to pose real shoppers. These mystery shoppers may provide the company with information on how the company salespeople treat customers.
A company may learn about its competitors in several other ways: purchasing their products, attending trade shows and open houses, talking to the competitors’ ex-employees, current employees, marketing intermediaries, suppliers, and shippers, studying their advertisements; reading different trade journals, and so on.
Step-3: Purchasing information from outside suppliers
Several outside organizations in every country collect information on happenings in the environment and sell those to companies. Such firms collect data at a much lower cost than the company can, and a company can save money and time if it buys data from such firms.
Step-4: Establishment of Internal Marketing Information Center.
Companies may also establish an internal marketing information center to gather marketing intelligence and circulating it. The center staff may go through different publications and provide managers with a summary of findings. Besides, this center may also collect and file relevant information to supply managers when necessities arise.
Marketing Intelligence Components
Marketing intelligence components are sub-systems that do the main system; the authors differ in determining marketing intelligence components. The table illustrates the marketing intelligence components of many authors.
|(Jensen et al., 2016)||√||√||√|
|(Hattula et al., 2015)||√||√||√||√||√|
|(Venter & Rensburg, 2014)||√||√||√|
|(Shimmary et al.,2009)||√||√||√||√||√|
|(Powell & Allgiar, 2008)||√||√|
The researcher considered the four components common to most of the previous studies are the independent variables that are derived from the marketing intelligence, which are as follows:
Competitor intelligence is an official program of collecting information about the company’s competitors.
Product intelligence is an automated system for intelligence collection and analysis of product performance that is designed and manufactured so that this data is automatically fed to product managers and engineers who design the product to help
them develop the replication or subsequent version of the product.
Market Intelligence is the capturing of information related to a company’s markets. In the context of a more practical, it is the collecting, analysis, and distribution of information related to the market segments in which the Company participates or wants to participate.
Customer Intelligence is a customer information viewer that gives you access to an enterprise-wide view of customer information. Customer intelligence is also an analytical tool that enables you to manage customers by measuring customer
satisfaction, profitability, retention, loyalty, acquisition, and life cycle.
The researcher also relied on the Crowley model as he agreed with the study on the key components of marketing intelligence, and there are sub-items for each of these four components, as shown in figure 2.1.