Marketing intelligence is an integral part of a successful business strategy. It provides your company with information that you use to better understand your customers, products, industry and competitors. Plus, it gives you the data to make decisions to gain and sustain a competitive advantage.
Marketing intelligence can help you to observe a trend, find an opportunity or even reveal a risk. There are many types of marketing intelligence. These may differ by industry. Nonetheless, here are three things to look for when analyzing your marketing intelligence:
#1 Find New Qualified Sales Leads
Businesses survive and grow by having a growing pipeline of customers. This all starts with qualified prospects you’ve identified through your marketing intelligence.
Look at the players in your industry and their customers. Examine how your industry market share is distributed. Find out what other companies–if any–your customers also buy from.Segment your market by demographic and psychographic attributes that correspond with your target audience. The greater and deeper the details of your target customer profiles, the better your intelligence will turn out. See where the best leads congregate by region, media type or buying behavior. This can help you find the best channel to promote your products or services to them.
One of the best ways to identify qualified leads is to see who has visited your website. Using Google’s Universal Analytics can help you identify not only the quantity of traffic to your website, but also give a better understanding of how visitors interact with your online content. Plus, it helps you learn the demographics and other attributes of those who visit your site.
In her article that Forbes published in December 2013, Kimberly Whitler points out the importance for every CMO to be fluent in how to analyze, understand and evaluate online traffic at a high level. So assign this task to one or more individuals on your marketing team, including your CMO.
#2 Identify Your Audience’s Unmet Needs
New product ideas can come from new technology. However, the best ideas often come from identifying customers’ unmet needs.
When analyzing your marketing intelligence, look for unmet needs and attempt to determine why your industry has not yet fulfilled these needs. Then you can decide whether your company can fulfill these needs by developing a new product or service.
One way to identify your customer’s unmet needs is by a survey. You can easily distribute the survey to your customers through email.
Once you have some preliminary data you can do one of two things: You can perform another survey with new questions that probe your customers a little deeper on some issues, or you can do a focus group of select customer types to learn more about their attitudes, values and opinions.
Another way to learn about your customers’ unmet needs is to engage and monitor the conversations that take place on social media. See what your customers post about your company. Study how they respond to the information your company publishes.
You can also invite select customers to lunch and get to know them on a more personal level. This is a strategy Stephen Monaco recommended in his article in B2B Marketing in May, 2013. The focus should be not to sell but rather, to listen.
Sam Ford, in his article in Fast Company in 2012, said that it’s not enough to hear your customers, you must also listen. Hearing is analogous to collecting and charting the information. But listening is being able to understand what the data shows.
Ask your customers how things are going, what things are going well and what challenges they face. Most of all, find out what big problem or concern keeps them awake at night. Also ask about how they feel about your products–the good and the not so good. Their answers may surprise you. More importantly, their answers may help you improve the development, distribution and delivery of your products and services.
As you gather your data, you’ll need to analyze the results. A statistical software program can help you observe trends and see other opportunities that you otherwise may not know about.
You must also understand your customer’s behavior. Like a good psychologist, you’ll need to observe your customer’s behavior and not make conclusions just by what they say.
#3 Learn How to Increase Customer Repeat Purchases
Perhaps the best marketing intelligence is your customer buying history. This can reveal how often each customer buys, how much they buy and what they purchase. Moreover, you can identify your best customers…not just by the sales volume, but also by the frequency of buying.
Once you analyze this information you’ll have the data to support changes in your sales and marketing. For example, you may find a cluster of customers who order a certain amount of product within a period of time, but to whom you could sell a higher amount on a schedule.
You may discover a cluster of customers who buy infrequently, but do so often following a certain market condition or response to a special promotion.
The three most vital things you need to learn are:
- What can you do to increase commitment from your customer to repeat purchases on a frequent and/or regularly scheduled interval?
- How can you increase the volume of sales per customer?
- What signals indicate a customer may not purchase again?
Your customers are your company’s most valuable asset. They are the source of your cash flow. They are also the foundation for your future growth.
Any increase in purchase frequency and/or volume can go a long way in boosting your sales and profits. Just as important is to increase your customer retention. Understanding why customers may not repeat purchases can help you develop a strategy to get them to stay with you and not go to your competitors.
Marketing intelligence is a continual process that should not be neglected. Once you put a system in place to gather and analyze information, you’ll be able to improve how you find qualified leads, identify your audience’s unmet needs and increase customer repeat purchases. When you do all of these things you’ll also be able to improve your sales and cash flow.