Marketing intelligence is a must for every company participating online today. Without it, competing in the global marketplace is next to impossible, and brands are running on pure luck, living in fear of the next disruption. Here’s how to get – and stay – ahead of competitors with marketing intelligence insight!
What Is Marketing Intelligence?
Marketing intelligence is pretty intuitive, really. Whereas market intelligence is focused on understanding the overall category one is marketing to, marketing intelligence is focused more on the tactics than the audience. But, audience understanding plays an important role in sorting out these tactics too! Let’s dive in and share ten ways marketing intelligence adds to any company’s online efforts, with tactics that are immediately actionable.
Top-notch strategic marketing requires you choose your tactics wisely. And this post will help you do that. We’ll break it down for you by use case, and have linked to pages where you can further explore each!
10 Marketing Intelligence Use Cases
1. Brand Health & Perception
How consumers view your brand matters more than anything, and this isn’t overstating things. This means brands need marketing intelligence that tells them what is being said about them by both consumers and the media, as either can direct public opinion. More than that, it can suddenly shift opinion to create something you never intended.
For example, as we share in our report on The Importance of Brand Perception, understanding news media coverage, and being the first to know of news mentions is extremely important to help your brand identify, understand and mitigate potential risk. This is the hallmark of reputation management and its informed by real-time marketing intelligence. New media outlets – and consumers as influencers – paint a picture of your brand to the world, and their narrative can ultimately impact how your brand fares in tough situations or during times of crisis.
Looking at a Quid News Narrative Analysis, a dominant themes around Whole Foods was around their employee benefits. After the Amazon acquisition, benefits for part time workers were cut, upsetting many Whole Foods workers, and tarnishing Jeff Bezos’ image, with headlines that read “Did Whole Foods just give conscious capitalism a swift kick to the curb?”
This sort of thing can happen to much smaller brands as well, often caught unaware as they didn’t catch the niche news piece or micro-influencer blogging about them until it spirals out of control. With NetBase Quid, brands are on top of these conversations as they happen, with marketing intelligence that helps you get ahead of harmful narratives before they get out of hand.
2. Voice of the Customer (VoC)
Understanding the voice of your customer is paramount to maintaining the positive brand perception referenced above. Not only that, but VoC marketing intelligence reveals the consumers purchase path and helps you identify lookalike audiences to target in your messaging. Capturing consumer attitudes, preferences and expectations throughout the customer journey is a must. This takes brands well beyond demographic data and buyer personas and into the nuanced psychographic insight that drives purchases and acts as the springboard for creating long-term connections.
3. Influencer & KOL Marketing
There are so many influencers online seeking brand sponsorship, so it can be challenging to choose the right one to partner with. Marketing intelligence helps brands identify and building relationships with relevant influencers of every size, from micro-influencers to celebrities. Key Opinion Leaders are another group all together, but hold sway over entire categories due to their recognized expertise. Knowing who they are and what they’re saying – in real-time, can significantly impact messaging and product sales. One need to only look at Elon Musk for a timely example of a KOL’s influence.
4. Campaign Strategy
Campaign strategy should never happen in a vacuum, yet that’s precisely what happens at companies much of the time. Brands rely on what worked before and expect those tried and true campaigns to resonate with their target audience, who they’ve come to know so well. The trouble with this, of course, is that audiences are constantly shifting and evolving. A slight shift will go undetected until it becomes a problem, and your brand is losing market share to competitor relying on marketing intelligence instead of assumptions.
Developing content that resonates doesn’t have to be a data analytics nightmare, not if you use the right social listening tool, that is. And it often offers insight that can power memorable and fun campaigns. As Chris Ebbeler, Director of Social of Chili’s Grill & Bar and Kyle Taylor, Founding Partner at Fact & Fiction share – NetBase Quid allows them to produce better content for their campaigns – content that drives engagement across social.
With it, they (and any brand) can pick up on trends, issues and conversations to understand what content to create and what their guests truly care about. This marketing intelligence lead to the hilarious creation of the Chili’s thermal insulated hoodie for April Fool’s Day after learning about customers who frequently smuggle Chili’s food into movie theaters. It was definitely consumers were interested in, and the campaign was a hit!
5. Product Innovation & Launch
Marketing intelligence is incomplete if it isn’t informing product innovation and launch. Brands need built-in databases and interactive data visualizations that help them scout emerging innovation, identify risks, zero in on white space opportunities for growth or acquisition, and much more.
And once created, strategic decisions around launch tactics must be informed by real-time marketing intelligence. With it, brands have an in-depth understanding of their target audience, and can create a nuanced and powerful launch plan.
6. Trend Analytics
Understanding emerging trends is key in any category. Lynn Duffy, Sr. Manager of Strategic Insights of DAC Group, one of the world’s most significant Performance Marketing Agencies, shared her company’s ability to tap into unusual trends and uncover surprising themes that nobody anticipated. More specifically, they were able to identify – and even anticipate – trends as COVID hit, and guide clients toward solutions in this new and rapidly changing landscape.
With social listening, agencies are able to capture marketing intelligence to develop winning media strategies – and trend analytics details are a definite ‘go to’ for making these determinations. For example, a brand selling cosmetics should be interested in trending terms (and how they change from week to week), as this could inform entire campaigns demonstrating best practices with their products:
7. Crisis Management
Using trend analytics was also helpful to DAC Group when it came to heading off crises before they hit. They’ve learned to never assume and let the data guide their understanding. And also, to watch closely for sudden drops in sentiment or spikes in mentions. As an example, they had a client with a super positive net sentiment score, but a member on its board of directions aligned with a political publication and net sentiment plunged as a result. And they were able to map it back to this precise action thanks to this marketing intelligence. Providing them with this intel, they were able to work with a PR Crisis Team to get ahead of it and recover quickly. Many other companies are not as lucky.
They were also able to find very different localized issues across countries for another client and activate messaging with various publications to get ahead of conversations. Pinpointing potential issues in the precise areas they’re beginning to take hold is huge. It helps agencies guide the client to tell the right story at the right time, because they can quickly understand the velocity and magnitude of an event. This is something more brands are recognizing as essential planning and they’re seeking this expertise when deciding which agencies to partner with.
8. Competitive Intelligence
Your company’s place in its category matters – and online offers the best intel for sizing this up. It requires a comprehensive view of many data points to create a realistic summation of your efforts though – and marketing intelligence offers just that. Performing a competitor analysis includes benchmarking share of voice, net sentiment, and brand passion KPIs. You’ll also want to use theme analysis to identify differences in volume and sentiment across sub-segments of the conversation, while identifying and monitoring market trends.
If all of that wasn’t enough, sorting through the potentially billions of data points to immediately surface actionable intel – in real-time – is key. Everything in a competitive analysis hinges on fast action. It must inform your campaigns, processes, resources and new idea development. And savvy shops also use it to inform organizational improvements and learn from competitor’s mistakes.
9. Mergers & Acquisitions
Having the ability to track competitor intelligence is important, and as part of that, companies need to quickly uncover new entries in a category, as well as partnership and R&D movements in the market. All of this helps inform merger and acquisition intel, but it’s far from the entire picture.
Once your list of potential targets is narrowed down, the next step is due diligence based on key business metrics. And that requires marketing intelligence to understand brand reputation, and a deep dive into investment and acquisition activity, IP applications, and product reviews.
Anticipating competitors’ M&A movements with this sort of cross-channel analysis is incredibly valuable, particularly when you can incorporate custom data sets – which is something NetBase Quid offers.
10. Technology Scouting
Technology scouting is an exciting subset of marketing intelligence that rounds out the competitive profile of any company. It involves monitoring your space for disruptive technologies using company profiles and patent application data sets. And it reveals specific opportunities and niche trends that could fly under the radar others.
For example, exploring the biotechnology space, from February, 2016 to February, 2021, we can clearly see a dramatic increase in Biotechnology Company investments – to the tune of $57B USD in private investments alone.
With more than 3k data points – and each item representing a separate investment, we can drill down to see the specific specialty areas winning those investments, which companies are receiving them, and who the key investors are is extremely valuable insight to have available in one dashboard. It alerts industry leaders to moves competitors are making, which technologies are resonating with investors and, as a result, areas that deserve more (or less) attention – right now.
All of it is really marketing intelligence that brands in any category should have on standby. Not only that, they should be referring to it regularly to check the market’s temperature. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that moving quickly is everything some days – and we’re still in the midst of those days. And might be forever. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how to set the pace, instead of struggling to keep up.