The goal of competitive marketing intelligence is to improve strategic decision making by understanding the consumer environment, assessing and tracking competitors’ actions, and providing early warnings of opportunities and threats. Marketing intelligence techniques range from observing consumers firsthand to quizzing the company’s own employees,
benchmarking competitors’ products, researching the Internet, and monitoring social media buzz. In addition to marketing intelligence information about general consumer, competitor, and marketplace happenings, marketers often need formal studies that provide customer and market insights for specific marketing situations and decisions. Marketing research is the systematic design, collection, analysis, and reporting of data relevant to a specific marketing situation facing an organization. Companies use marketing research in a wide variety of situations. For example, marketing research gives marketers insights into customer motivations, purchase behavior, and satisfaction. It can help them to assess market potential and market share or measure the effectiveness of pricing, product, distribution, and promotion activities. Question 3 Ethnographic research involves sending observers to watch and interact with consumers in their “natural environments.” The observers might be trained anthropologists and psychologists or company researchers and managers. Beyond conducting ethnographic research in physical consumer environments, many companies now routinely conduct Netnography research—observing consumers in a natural context on the Internet. Observing people as they interact and move about online can provide useful insights into both online and offline buying motives and behavior. Tracking consumers online might be as simple as scanning customer reviews and comments on the company’s brand site or on shopping sites such as Amazon.com or BestBuy.com. Or it might mean using sophisticated online-analysis tools to deeply analyze the mountains of consumer brand-related comments and messages found in blogs or on social media sites, such as Facebook, Yelp, YouTube, or Twitter. Listening to and engaging customers online can provide valuable insights into what consumers are saying or feeling about a brand. It can also provide opportunities for building positive brand experiences and relationships. Question 4 Most companies are awash in information about their customers. In fact, smart companies capture information at every possible customer touch point. These touch points include customer purchases, sales force contacts, service and support calls, online site visits, satisfaction surveys, credit and payment interactions, market research studies—every contact between a customer and a company. Unfortunately, this information is usually scattered widely across the organization. It is buried deep in the separate databases and records of different company departments.
- Spring '15