Why Do Companies Need Market Intelligence?
Market intelligence used to come in the form of a glossy report that would hit your desk with a thud or a large pdf that might haunt your email inbox for days. It was always interesting, but seemed like information that might be several steps removed from a business decision.
Today, that information and analysis is the immediate basis for your decisions.
Internal company dynamics and external market forces are constantly in flux, requiring that companies arm themselves with accurate, timely information gathered and analyzed to help make the right business decisions – and feel confident doing so.
When companies forgo market intelligence, industry leaders may be caught off guard by a disruptive technology or new market entrant; businesses may be surprised to uncover preferences for competing products; or newly enacted regulations may change the game in a particular market.
Market research provides our clients with an advantage in these as well as other scenarios.
What Questions Should My Business Be Asking?
At Hanover, we share a strong belief that if your company has strategic goals and objectives, you need market research support to effectively make progress against them.
The first step in successful market research is asking the right questions. The role of an effective research partner is to help you formulate those questions based on an overall mandate to shorten the distance between you and your goals (and elongate the distance between you and your problems).
When we approach a market question, we find that stepping back to look at the overall picture frequently yields a view that includes critical root causes or adjacencies. For example, when a client comes to us with the intent to launch a new product, it is tempting to jump directly to questions of features or form factors. However, it may be more important to consider product demand in the market or product positioning against the company’s existing portfolio first.
Case Study: Understanding Your Position in the Market
Recently, an automotive components manufacturer asked Hanover to evaluate the auto parts aftermarket, e-commerce landscape. Specifically, the company wanted to expand their sales channel mix to include e-commerce, and sought market intelligence on prominent brands and products online, as well as guidance about how and where to position their products in the e-commerce space.
Hanover provided a high-level overview of trends within automotive aftermarket e-commerce, including market size, segmentation, and growth rates. Hanover also compared brands sold by major online retailers.
Originally, the company believed that their products had little-to-no online presence, but Hanover’s research revealed that the company’s products were already being sold online. For companies that rely on distributors as a primary sales channel, this is not an uncommon situation, as it’s not always clear who distributors may sell products on to or how.
This intelligence provided the company with crucial information on how their products were being sold and repositioned the business objective from how to enter the e-commerce market, to better understanding their current position within that market. Hanover’s analysis challenged the company’s perceptions and resulted in a direct change to business strategy.
The NEXT STEPS
These initial findings led to additional in-depth interview-based projects with distributors to uncover how products are selected for online retail sites, so that the company can take a more informed and active approach to managing their e-commerce brand going forward.