Constant changing market realities, increasing amounts and availability of information, that lead to faster changes in consumer/customer requirements make market intelligence vital to your company’s survival.
In order to quickly react to your environment, your company needs to capture pertinent information, process and present it in a useful way and have it become a conversation in and outside your company.
Capturing pertinent information
There is more market intelligence than any single brain can process out there. Your company needs to focus only on the information that is pertinent. Information is pertinent when it is tied to your mission as well as your short, medium and long term objectives. In order to capture all the pertinent information all your ‘’sensors’’ must be on. These sensors come in the form of processes put into place to capture information as well as every single employee’s sense of observation. Employee contribution can only happen when they have assimilated the company’s mission and objectives. It must also be part of all your employees’ task to gather and share market information.
Processing and presenting
Process and present information in ways that will be both attractive and useful to the different areas (management, finance, marketing, production, HR, sales, customer service, etc.).
Processing data coming in different formats, from multiple sources represents an enormous challenge. Look for the various applications, often free for smaller users, which can assist you in this task.
In order for people to want to read and retain the pertinent information it must be presented in an attractive and simple way. Case in point would be the rise of infographics in the last few years.
Have your data flow become a multi-way conversation internally as well as with key players, partners and customers.
This implies that non sensitive data is flowing freely in all directions. It also implies that everyone in the company can and should add to the information that is processed. It should then be shared and stored centrally. It also means that you need an infrastructure to get constant feedback from your key partners and customers.
It is very much akin to the human nervous system. The entire company must be wired (with applications and processes) to capture and process information (locally and centrally) then programmed (i.e. be part of your culture) to act on the pertinent one quickly or store it for future use. Otherwise your company is evolving in a world without any of its senses functioning.