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The Secret to Success in a Down Economy: Market Intelligence

by Barbara Bix  |  
February 23, 2010

Especially in a down economy, it's important to understand where the opportunities are—and how to capitalize on them. Luckily, today's companies have many avenues for gathering such information.

Still, marketing research and analysis are expensive—especially today when marketing resources are at a premium. So, the questions arise: "What is the role of market intelligence in today's company—and where should one focus?"

One Company's Approach to Market Intelligence

To get an answer, I turned to the head of market intelligence at a medium-sized corporation. I was interested in speaking with him for three reasons:

  1. Like many of my clients, his company markets software solutions to other businesses.
  2. His company has dedicated an entire department to market intelligence and therefore must value this function
  3. Learning where companies that value market intelligence devote their resources, and why, may prove valuable for other organizations.

His department has three primary responsibilities:

  1. Collecting, mining, and leveraging customer and prospect data
  2. Managing the company's market-research activities
  3. Leading the strategic planning process

1. Collecting, mining, and leveraging customer and prospect data

For most businesses, the fastest and most cost-effective way to win business is to sell into the current customer base. Therefore, it's no surprise that this company devotes most of its market intelligence budget to analyzing and reporting on its customers and current prospects.

The company gathers customer and prospect data from various sources. In addition to records of day-to-day interactions with customers by Sales and other customer-facing organizations, those sources include Web metrics and the feedback from the company's industry-specific customer councils.

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Barbara Bix is managing principal of BB Marketing Plus, where she helps companies enhance their brands by capturing and enhancing the customer experience.

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