Market research arises in this context as a discipline that encompass several methods of market projections, which will allow a better understanding of a sector, area or market where the organization intends to act, but also providing knowledge that helps this organization to project its future position in this sector, contributing this way to propose a general strategic plan. Market research has a specific and critical help for the strategic plan: to adequate the overall value, perceived by a customer, for a commercial, competitive offer. And one of the key issues for understanding the external context is the analysis of the competitive environment, usually related to forces coming from sources as competitors, customers, suppliers, regulators and other agents that are independent and not controlled by the organization.
Companies develop market intelligence processes to generate knowledge that can apply in their strategic marketing planning.
But is the organization culture market oriented? Does the culture stimulate openness, collaboration and willingness for change? What kinds of behaviors are promoted? What type of knowledge is collected and treated? What types of capabilities are required to be considered a market oriented organization?
Therefore organizational culture must support, on a continuous basis, the analysis of the external environment in order to identify present and future threats and opportunities. This is particular relevant in sectors more exposed to market change and depended on open innovation activities, for instance external partners capabilities that need to be insourced in key innovation processes. Organizations need to be aware of partner requirements as well as changes in their market positioning. Some partner organizations and even some customers may move from allies to direct competitors. It could be a consequence of fast technological advances, changes in customer expectations for service or price, arrival of new players in the marketplace or strategic alliances formed by partners and third parties or eventually the entrance of new products/services or substitutes. Based on the achieved results, organizations need to have a clear understanding of their market environment in order to respond to forces of change proactively according to the strategic plan, goal or thought they established.
Understood in the way defined above, MI delivers knowledge for a sector, represented by a group of companies, or sector players, allowing them to better develop their strategic marketing plans. The MI method is proposed as a two-step definition.
The first step is composed by three actions:
The second step is constituted by a cycle, which is correspondent to a process where the knowledge will be continuously produced in periodical journeys, where the frequency – typically for each semester, annual, etc. – depends on the sector planning and execution times.
The continuous production of knowledge, as a collateral effect, allows a better historical perception about that market, improving its overall comprehension.
At the end of each cycle, we can merely return to “collect” point and then, repeat the cycle again, in a new period, producing knowledge for new marketing plan preparation for the new period. Clearly, the continuous production of knowledge, as a collateral effect, allows a better historical perception about that market, improving its overall comprehension.
The cycle is detailed in the following figure. Besides its theoretical proposition in a post-doctoral program, it is supporting several consultancy works for Brazilian commercial sectors, as Biotechnology, Steel manufacturing, Retailing, Furniture design and sales and Power supply.
Organizations must embed market intelligence practices into their day-to-day processes and strategic plans.
Among several actions, the study of Market Intelligence (MI) reinforces the contribution of market research for the precise understanding of a market, enabling more accurate plans and decisions. However, this can only be done with the support of the organizational culture. Organizations must embed market intelligence practices into their day-to-day processes and strategic plans.
In the case of MI process, each organization produces and receives, in an interactive sectorial action, knowledge to be applied in more sustainable plans. As a critical contribution for innovation, these plans can also depict or create situations where a product innovation can be offered, or a decision to modify a process, introducing a process innovation can be effectively taken. Approaching the Schumpeterian definition for Innovation, new markets can also be developed and / or attended by companies, with a more detailed perception of its needs and desires, allowing to a more sustainable product or service offers.
To be more effective and productive, organizations who are interested in applying such approaches of MI to their planning capacities should organize a representative group, or association, and then start the cycle as detailed in this article, always analyzing its potential deliveries and knowledge application for decisions such as the intended level of strategic marketing planning.
Rui Patricio is the Co-founder and CEO of CONTINUE TO GROW and Managing Director of Digitalflow. He is passionate about helping organizations implement innovation cutting edge programs that enable the deployment of differentiation and value added strategies. With more than 20 years experience in management and technology, Rui is a project coordinator, an active speaker, author, lecture and workshop leader on different topics of innovation and procurement.
George Leal Jamil, the Post-Doctor by University of Porto, Doctor in Information Science (UFMG – Brazil), Master in Computing Science (UFMG – Brazil), Electrical Engineer (UFMG – Brazil). Consultant, Post-graduation Teacher and writer, with papers, chapters and books published in Brazil, Portugal and USA. Expertise Areas: Strategy, Information systems, Knowledge management, Innovation management. Associated consultant of CONTINUE TO GROW.
António Rocha, With more than 20 years of experience in information systems, is currently CTO at CONTINUE TO GROW and Ambidata®. His also professor at Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto. With interests in the areas of innovation, software architectures and databases, was responsible for dozens of development projects and software implementation.
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