Digital Marketing

Market Intelligence: What It Is & How To Use It

Market intelligence is a sure-fire way to help determine how and who to target your marketing efforts.

But how do you get such crucial information about your target market in the first place?

This comprehensive guide will teach you what market information is, how to collect it, and how to use it.

What is market information?

Market information is actual data or information that relates to the general market for your business.

Market intelligence includes more than just your target audience.

The goal of gathering market intelligence is to help make data-driven decisions about your company — not just your marketing efforts.

There are different types of market information. These data points can include:

  • Industry-wide trends.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Consumer reviews.
  • product sales.

Compare market information. business intelligence

It is important not to confuse market intelligence with business intelligence.

Both areas of knowledge are vital to the success of any company, and they each have their own use cases.

Business intelligence, by definition, refers to data about a company and its performance.

Let’s break down the main differences:

Image created by the author, December 2022

The main difference is how the data is collected.

Because market intelligence focuses on external factors, these data sources may include:

  • Customer surveys.
  • Economic and consumer pricing data.
  • Demographic and geographical analysis.
  • Consumer behavior reports.
  • User testing.
  • Third party tools.

On the other hand, business intelligence looks strictly inward. When collecting inside information, these data sources may include:

  • Profit and loss statements.
  • Data warehouses.
  • Project management tools.
  • Employee satisfaction surveys.

The above key differences should make it easier to help determine what kind of intelligence data your company may need at any given time.

How to use market intelligence

Whether you are a completely new business or an established one, there are many ways to use market intelligence to your advantage.

To understand how to use market intelligence, you must first define your goals. What are you trying to achieve by gathering market information?

The most effective way to use market intelligence is to allow this data to answer key business questions:

  • Are our company goals compatible with the current market?
  • What market(s) is suitable for our brand? Should we consider expanding or focusing on a specific niche?
  • Does our business need to divert resources to achieve our goals?
  • How do customers start buying our products?
  • How do customers become aware of our (or competitors’) product?
  • What does our ideal target customer look like? What behaviors and characteristics do they have?
  • What do competitors do that we don’t?

Market intelligence essentially analyzes the external environment (or market) of which a brand is a part.

Market information analysis can be divided into different categories.

competitor trends

Another part of using market information is to perform competitor analysis. The goal of a competitor review is to help your brand determine:

  • What are their strengths and weaknesses compared to your brand?
  • Key product differences or similarities.

Identifying the above can help better position your product or service in the marketplace.

consumer behavior trends

The biggest opportunity to use market intelligence is to research consumer behavior about your product or service.

Use this data to understand your pain points or challenges, as well as why they chose to buy from you in the first place.

This kind of intelligence can help improve retention and engagement for existing customers, as well as new customer acquisition.

Market information about consumer behavior also helps in framing the ideal customer and its key characteristics. This could include:

  • Browsing and buying behaviour.
  • interests.
  • Where they spend their time.
  • How do they spend their money.
  • Family status or family income range.

Understanding these key factors can help shape your marketing and outreach efforts.

external market factors

Analyzing the market your brand is currently in or where it might want to expand is another way to use market information.

Using this type of data can determine how your product or service will perform in the current market. It can also be used to determine the pros and cons of expanding into new markets and what opportunities or risk factors are associated with it.

Some of these external market factors can interfere with competitor and consumer behavior trends. Putting it all together in a market analysis will help frame the bigger picture of your company as a whole.

How to collect market information

Gathering market information should not come from a single source. Several reliable and trustworthy sources should help shape the story around your target market.

There is also no “one size fits all” in gathering market information. The first step is to set a goal for what you want to achieve with this research.

Now that you’ve set a goal, the second step is to identify the metrics that are important to your brand. Some examples of key metrics could be:

  • Total Addressable Market (TAM) Share: How many potential customers are in the market for this product or service? What is the expected growth rate of the market?
  • Pricing indicators: How does our price point compare to the overall market?
  • Competitor data: How many competitors are there in this market? What market share do they cover compared to us?

Finally, it’s time to start gathering market information. Here are some ways you can start collecting data and research:

  • your customers. This could be something as simple as sending out surveys to existing customers. Ask them basic questions about their buying journey, their pain points, and what they love about your product.
  • Analytics databases. Consider your own first-party analytics data to analyze customer trends, as well as third-party marketing and analytics platforms that contain competitor data. Marriage between the two sources can help identify several key differentiating factors.
  • Search online. This could include reviewing or purchasing specific business magazines or reports about your market. While this research may cost money, it usually pays for itself in the long run by taking in ideas to help shape your branding strategy.
  • Market experts. These experts usually work with companies for a fee. As market experts, they work with others in the industry to guide product trends.

While this is not an exhaustive list, these areas should be able to provide a jumpstart for your market intelligence journey.

Once the data has been collected, the analysis part comes next. Use the tips above on how to use market intelligence to your advantage.


Market intelligence is a great way to determine the current position of your product or service in relation to the current market.

Since markets are constantly changing, conducting market intelligence should be an ongoing effort for your brand. Gathering data about your market should not be seen as a solitary project.

By creating a proactive approach to market data, you will be steps ahead of your competitors and have a better understanding of where you are spending your time, money and resources across all departments.

More resources:

  • How do you calculate the total addressable market (TAM) for SEO?
  • The State of SEO: Survey Data to Plan for the Next Year in SEO
  • SEO Strategy: Complete Outline (+ Template)

Featured image: mrmohock/Shutterstock

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