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What is Marketing Intelligence?

Neil Chandavarkar
Neil Chandavarkar
February 16, 2022
Customer Success, Marketing

What is Marketing Intelligence?

Whether your business is large or small, marketing intelligence can give you a leg up in an increasingly competitive business world. Marketing intelligence refers to the insights, stats, or data that help businesses position products and services within their niche industry. Let’s take a closer look at what marketing intelligence is and why it’s important.     

Why Marketing Intelligence Matters

Marketing intelligence is all about seeing the big picture, while also exploiting specific data sources to gain a competitive advantage over rival firms. 

By following market intelligence best practices, businesses can gain actionable insights into their existing market. They can also acquire the necessary knowledge to break into a new market, whether that means rebranding or expanding overseas. For larger companies with several product lines, marketing intelligence will be more complex and even more indispensable.        

Benefits of Marketing Intelligence

In general terms, we can break the benefits of marketing intelligence down into a knowledge trident that involves self-discovery, market understanding, and customer understanding.   


It’s hard to excel at anything without knowing what you do best. Identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) will help you develop business strategies that play to your strong points. These strategies will help you target your niche market more effectively. Greater self-awareness allows businesses to optimize resource use and investments. This leads to better business outcomes in less time.   

Market Understanding Through Competitor Analysis

These days consumers or software buyers have options and many of them. Making your product or service stand out from the crowd can be challenging.

Competitor analysis is crucial for overall market understanding. This involves not only accurately identifying your current market share and that of your main rivals, but also analyzing comparative Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These include metrics like sales and revenue growth, marketing team spending per new customer, funnel conversion rates, etc. 

An effective marketing intelligence strategy can help give you a clear picture of how you line up against competitors in several key result areas that are relevant to your customers. Among others, these can include customer satisfaction, ease of use, security, or return on investment.   

Customer Understanding: Focus on your Target Audience

An effective marketing intelligence system will help you clearly define your target market, however diverse it may be. You’ll need to understand your customers’ needs, wants, and pain points before figuring out how to fill that void. This means collecting customer data, and lots of it. 

Through market segmentation, businesses can break down their target audience into logical and comprehensible segments divided by geography, demographics, as well as behavioral and psychographic profiles. 

Finally, having an awareness of the buyer journey and what made customers choose your product or service over others provides a beacon for reinvesting in successful campaigns and repurposing high-value marketing content. Companies that can optimize the customer experience, keeping track and acting on metrics like customer lifetime value and post-sales approval rates, will have better customer satisfaction rates and naturally, greater customer retention.

Marketing Intelligence Methods

In broad terms, there are two main methods that researchers use to collect marketing data. The qualitative approach tries to sniff out the tastes, preferences, and behavior patterns of a target audience when it comes to consumption habits. 

The quantitative approach focuses more on hard numbers that can be objectively compiled, contrasted, and analyzed to identify and predict trends. Whether a business is focused purely on profit margins or on growing its market share and increasing revenue,  a calibrated mix of both methodologies will tend to result in a higher degree of success.    

Whether qualitative or quantitative, product intelligence can give marketing managers a clear view of what sells and what doesn’t, This shows businesses which product features are the most appealing to potential customers.

The Qualitative Approach 

Qualitative marketing data can be gathered through a variety of tools that are designed to collect primary source insights directly from target audience consumers. These include email marketing, questionnaires, surveys, forms, polls, focus groups, or even product sampling to generate reviews. Direct customer feedback is invaluable when it comes to constructing business strategies to raise brand awareness. 

Qual versus Quant market research

The internet and the virtualization of many marketing tools have helped bridge the gap between businesses and their customers through eCommerce and social media platforms. The increase in more impersonal online sales has made shopping cheaper and more convenient for many buyers. Even if customers are farther away, offering great customer service both to prospective and established customers remains as essential as it’s always been.               

The Quantitative Approach

Breakthroughs in marketing software development and big data have changed the game when it comes to market intelligence. AI and machine learning tools can construct algorithms to predict future results based on real-time data feeds. Modern technologies have made it easier to forecast key metrics, from campaign expenses to sales revenue.

Through marketing analytics, consumer behavior patterns on the internet can be tracked with surgical precision, revealing buyer browsing times, products they’re shopping for, and more. Dashboards and visualization tools can be used to analyze campaign results. This leads to more informed ad spend decisions that will increase ROI in future campaigns. 

Marketing Intelligence Pitfalls and Misconceptions

Other terms that are frequently confused with marketing intelligence include business intelligence and market research. While marketing intelligence considers an industry or market as a whole, business intelligence deals with data and insights involving the performance of a specific company. 

Market research, on the other hand, refers to the tools and techniques used to target specific groups of consumers or buyers. In this sense, Business intelligence and market research can be considered components of marketing intelligence, but are not synonymous with it.   

Marketing Intelligence in Practice

Data collection has always been vital for the business decision-making process. Important decisions that rely on market analysis can include whether to expand marketing efforts, product development, or even your sales team. This involves increasing research costs, with the perspective of increasing revenue and profits at a higher rate.     

Marketing intelligence allows you to acquire more knowledge about your own business, your competitors, and your customers. Optimizing your marketing intelligence could mean hiring specialists and consultants, finding better data sources, or simply using new software tools. Businesses should consider where they are and where they want to be when weighing the costs and benefits of any investments in marketing intelligence.       

About the Author

Neil Chandavarkar
Neil Chandavarkar
Neil Chandavarkar is a Research Analyst at TrustRadius. He holds a BA in International Relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo, having undertaken graduate studies at New York University and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, reading, and hanging out with his German Shepherd and Tabby Cat.

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