- Marketing intelligence must be accurate: Critical decisions affecting human resources and expenditures of money and time depend upon marketing intelligence.
- Marketing intelligence must not be late: Time is of the essence when it comes to business strategy. Opportunities and events have time cycles and cease to exist beyond time limits.
- Marketing intelligence must be usable: Data that cannot be applied to the marketing strategy is irrelevant.
- Marketing intelligence must be clear: Data that cannot be easily interpreted by the average manager and translated into strategy and tactics is useless data.
- Marketing intelligence must be meaningful: If it is not relevant to the company’s decision-making climate and cannot be translated into meaningful strategies, then it is just nice-to-know information that cannot justify the cost borne to obtain it.
People in marketing jobs use different approaches to categorize marketing intelligence. However, one of the most meaningful categorizations divides marketing intelligence into five categories:
- Environmental intelligence: Environmental intelligence relates to the collection of information external to the company and is necessary to assess trends, opportunities, and developments. Environmental intelligence is concerned with evaluating the effects of external factors like business competition, technological changes, political and socioeconomic factors, and international developments upon the company’s business.
- Internal intelligence: Internal intelligence relates to the collection of data on the internal operations of the company. Internal intelligence provides people in marketing jobs with knowledge of finance matters, human resources, inventories, productive ability, and the company’s position. Estimating the effects of internal factors upon the external environment provides guidelines for assessing profitability.
- Position intelligence: Position intelligence is concerned with analyzing data about market and industry position. Position intelligence pertains to all aspects of the marketing mix in relation to the situation of competitors. Position intelligence allows people in marketing jobs to view the company’s costs, profits, and ROI in relation to those of competitors and allows marketers to determine the current position of their brand or product in the market. Position intelligence helps to determine the effectiveness of the company’s advertising, sales force, product lines, and channels of distribution and how they measure up to those of competitors.
- Projected intelligence: Projected intelligence is concerned with determining future variables and possible marketing strategies. Projected intelligence makes informed forecasts about business prospects and the business environment based upon analysis of internal, environmental, and position intelligence.
- Decision intelligence: Decision intelligence is concerned with the future and builds upon projected intelligence. Decision intelligence takes into account the ''what if'' factor and uses internal, position, and environmental intelligence to come up with patterns for future marketing commitments.
For people in marketing jobs, data for marketing intelligence comes from market research, operations research, statistical analysis, cost analysis, logistics analysis, budget analysis, and analysis of diverse other factors that affect the business environment. However, the cost of such intelligence is justifiable only as long as it contributes to decision making. Ultimately, accurate marketing intelligence allows people in marketing jobs to optimize allocation of resources and maximize profits.