Market Intelligence and Market Research: What is the Difference?

Considering the similarity in their names, it’s easy to confuse market intelligence and market research. But they are actually completely distinct concepts. It’s a good idea to get a handle on the difference between these two concepts in order to properly maximize the benefits of both.

The Main Difference

The main difference between marketing intelligence and market research is that the research focuses more on the company. Marketing intelligence is a more general term that is more industry wide and that allows small business owners to analyze information relevant within a particular field.  Basically, the intelligence about who the competitors are within a field, what consumer demographics purchase what items within that field, and other data such as political implications all covered within market intelligence. This data doesn’t really change.

Market Intelligence and Market Research

How Research is Different?

Marketing research is different because it focuses directly on your particular company. Obviously this isn’t the sort of thing that you can just look up the way you can with the more general marketing intelligence. Research has to be done actively. Most companies use particular programs to help them get the research they need. Check out offline marketing strategies for small businesses.

Research Strategies

Examples of ways to get good marketing research about a company include using phone, Internet and in-person strategies. Someone who purchases a product from the company online, for example, may be asked to take a survey after the purchase on the Internet. The information they provide about demographic, company experience, and so on will be part of market research. These surveys can also be done based on phone surveys after a purchase, or even in-person depending on the company and the type of service.  It may be necessary in some situations to offer some small incentive for customers to actually leave feedback usable for market research, like a 5 percent off coupon or something similar in order to increase consumer response.

Using Data

It’s especially important for small companies to use both market intelligence and market research to determine what changes they’re going to make in order to increase their share and stay competitive. Marketing intelligence, for example, can be used by marketers in order to get a sense for how much of the market the company is currently responsible for. This is called market share, and it’s a percentage of the total amount of money available in the marketplace. But market research requires additional surveys in order to get a sense for customer preference within a particular market.

Getting Help

Many companies will outsource their need for market research on their particular company to outside organizations. Getting the best market intelligence can also sometimes be best accomplished by outside organizations. The two tend to be relevant to one another after all. Finding out the nature of the market in general is important for understanding your company’s particular role within that market. Getting the best intelligence on the market that’s available will go a long way to bolstering efforts to get research on how your own company is doing within that market.

This is a guest post by Marianne Ross, a freelance writer on business and marketing-related topics.