If you want to make business decisions you can really rely on, that will bring you success, and that you can stand and account for in front of anyone, be it board, investors, clients or simply your employees, you need to base them on data. Being able to show your working is a much underrated asset in the world of business. Much is made of a CEO’s gut feeling, of the instinct for success and results, and late nights spent closing that vital contract, but less is made of the careful, meticulous gathering of information that allows a CEO to make informed decisions.

If you want to make rock solid decisions that will bring your business success, revenue and acclaim, you to field confident with market intelligence: what it is and how to gather it.

The most important thing to do is find the right market intelligence platform for your business. When you’re gathering data, sending surveys and asking questions, you need to be reaching people who you’re actually targeting with your brand. If your business targets students and young professionals in their twenties, then gathering your market intelligence through a platform that only reaches those in excess of 50 years old will, at best, return misleading data, if you get any results at all.

If you’re working with a market research firm, you should be having an ongoing conversation about your brand, your needs and your aims. This will allow them to pick their approach, their platform and their methods of research and choose the ones that will get you the most valuable, insightful results.

Getting the raw data, however, is only half the story. An array of figures is helpful when you’re making the vital decisions for your business but it’s the interpretation and application of these figures that turns them into true Market Intelligence. That’s the expertise you’re paying for: turning raw figures into insights that inspire your business and empower you to take forward new ideas successfully.

One of the most vital forms of market intelligence you can get is not about how your consumers are behaving, but how your rivals are behaving. Digesting their choices, from product launches and advertises, through to prominent hires and signing big clients will help you work out what’s going on behind the scenes. This means you can take account of what your competitors have planned and make sure you aren’t clashing with them, or alternatively you synchronise a product launch or promotional campaign with them to take the wind from their sails and lessen the impact of their investments.

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