In simple words Market Intelligence is the latest information about anything relevant to a particular business which may affect it in any manner. It could be about: new taxes government plans to impose, a new substitute of your product, competitor has introduced something better ,a new cheaper source of raw material etc.
Keeping up with the change and taking prompt action is vital for the survival and growth of any organization. Big organizations have separate departments for gathering market intelligence and also they can hire services of agencies but small business have limited options. Some of the ways small businesses can gather Market Intelligence are as follows:
Customers: Always keep in touch with your customers. They are a good source of information as they are in touch with you as well as with your competitors, so many times they tell you what your competitors are offering.
Internet: Social media, customers', competitors', vendors', and News' websites reveal a lot of information. An online survey about your products / services may also be helpful. Once you get all the information then analyze it and act accordingly.
Your Sales Team: Frequently communicating with your sales team also gives you an sight about what is happening around you. Sales people are in constant touch with your customers. Also, when they go out in the market they see & meet their customers. They understand their & competitors' strengths & weaknesses. So, your sales team is one of the best sources to gather Market Intelligence.
Vendors: They can also be good source of information. They tell what & when they are going to offer something new but sometimes they also share what your competitors are doing.
Your Own Website: Track audience who visit your website. This will help you to find potential customers. Update your website or social media pages frequently and read visitors' comments regularly. This will also let you understand what is happening in your business environment.
Competitors: Always keep an eye on the activities of your competitors. Check their websites, social media pages and ad campaigns regularly. Also, visit the market to check their product price, quality, packaging etc.
Please keep in mind, gathering Market Intelligence and acting accordingly is not a one time job, for your survival and growth, it needs to be done frequently.
Hope you found the above helpful. Please feel free to comment.