The Four Truths of Market Intelligence (The Story)
There are at least four fundamental truths that are “self-evident” regarding the importance of market intelligence in business. We all at least recognize and accept them but have had difficulty utilizing their teachings. These truths are:
1. A Pervasive Marketplace Awareness is Always Critical for Business Success
2. All Business Actions are Interdependent
3. Effective Intelligence Gathering must be Affordable
4. Information is Power; But Only if it is Used
These are “truisms” in that they are obviously correct. In one form or another they have been restated in politics and for the military as well as in business. Both in politics and in the military their teachings have been carefully followed. Not so in business. Here quantitative market intelligence has been considered an expensive luxury of only marginal and fleeting use. Market intelligence has been gathered mainly as an after-thought or at the bequest of troubled executives in their corporate governance responsibility.
This is not the way it needs to be. The key purpose of Your-Marketing-Toolkit approach is to levelage these truths through analytical marketing research and the development user empowering robust interactive decision support systems. This approach has been developed over a 35 year period by work with major industrial firms. It has been a pragmatic development based on the needs of the users.
To understandYour Marketing Toolkit Concept it is useful to examine the Four Truths:
A Pervasive Marketplace Awareness is Always Critical to Business Success
Of these truths the importance of intelligence is probably the most established. The American military refers to “Obtaining a Dominant Battlefield Awareness” is the driving concept of modern strategy. But what do we mean by a Marketplace or situational awareness. It is the appropriate insight into what are the driving forces in the marketplace. This consists of both understanding the “What” of situation obtained through the “Voice of the Customer” and the “How Much” obtained through analytical surveys. Both are critical. But the concept of a pervasive awareness goes further by needed that intelligence now when it is need it; when decisions are made and actions required.
Your-Marketing-Toolkit is design to help provide this pervasive marketplace awarness through user friendly interactive decision support systems based on quantitative market intelligence. The toolkit is based on the expected needs of business-to-business enterprises.
All Business Actions are Interdependent
All decisions have consequences. This is a truth for all situations but even more so in business. In the business there are at least four types of actions that always are required: (1) products need to be designed, (2) promoted, (3) priced, and (4) placed in the marketplace. But the results of these actions are not independent. They are all interrelated. Market intelligence is needed for all of these actions always.
Market intelligence should be collected in a broad and complete to provide sufficient information for actions. The toolkit approach emphasizes the interaction among the types of information to provide insight into the impact of decisions and a means of creatively exploring alternatives.
Effective Intelligence Gathering must be Affordable
Gathering marketing intelligence should never be considered “cheap” since “cheap” implies a disregard for quality and viability. However, to be made available marketing intelligence must be affordable. With proper design, skill and modern methods, in almost all cases, it should always be affordable. Just as in the military, situational intelligence is be extremely valuable, and with such high worth, significant funds should be allocated. Market intelligence is not a luxury, it must be a necessarity.
The key to obtaining affordable intelligence is to collect it in a broad, complete and integrated fashion. Modern marketing research methods then allow for affordable collection. The toolkit approach further provides efficient analysis and interpretation of the market situation.
Information is Power; But Only if it is Used
All the information in the world is useless unless it is used. That means that not only must it be converted into intelligence or knowledge but that it engages people and compels action. This is summarized for the military by the “Boyd Cycle” which states that all decisions require Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA). This is as much a visualization and creativity as an analytical process. As ut us true in the military, it is true in business. In business there are any number of doctrines and methods of using market intelligence. All are useful and but none complete. The trick is to have access to the tools and the intelligence that drives them.
Your-Marketing-Toolkit approach is designed to “get the most” out the market intelligence. Fundamentally the toolkit provides sets of custom decision support tools. This involves providing a broad range of visualizations of the data in an interactive and heuristic environment. The objective is to provide market insight for decisions in a user friendly flexible environment. The goal is to have the desired information available for examining pricing, positioning, segmenting, and evaluating all aspects of the market.