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What’s the difference between market intelligence and competitive intelligence?

What’s the real difference between market intelligence (MI) and competitive intelligence (CI)? Because the two are often conflated and the terms used interchangeably, which can cause confusion when you’re designing your insights strategy and choosing the right insights infrastructure for your business.

While market intelligence and competitive intelligence do overlap in some ways, and they certainly work together to make your organization more competitive, they are different. The main difference between market intelligence and competitive intelligence is that market intelligence achieves a big-picture view of your business and the external environment in which it operates, whereas competitive intelligence achieves a narrower scope of understanding about the capabilities, vulnerabilities, and intentions of your biggest business competitors. 

Both types of intelligence are essential to capitalizing on opportunities and building organizational resilience. But let’s take a closer look.

Market Intelligence and competitive Intelligence have different goals

While the goal of MI is to respond to your customers in a quicker, smarter way based on a wide range of forces, issues, and trends. The goal of CI is to gain insights about your immediate competitors so you can mitigate risks they pose to your business and also identify and capitalize on their strengths and weaknesses. 

You can leverage market intelligence to:

  • Decide whether to enter a new market or expand an existing one.
  • Create market penetration strategies and/or market development strategies.
  • Create insights-driven product development and/or diversification strategies.
  • Increase customer centricity and improve customer retention and loyalty.
  • Uncover unvoiced customer needs and anticipate disruptors.
  • Better allocate resources and streamline processes in your organization.
  • Avoid poor investment decisions.

You can leverage competitive intelligence to:

  • Uncover new opportunities based on tracking competitor developments.
  • Identify potential risks and threats your competitors pose to your business.
  • Develop plans and strategies to out-perform specific competitors in specific categories and markets.
  • Benchmark your business’s growth against a competitor’s growth. 
  • Predict competitor movements.

So while the goals of market intelligence vary in relation to customers, products, and the market, the goals of competitive intelligence focus solely on the moves of your business competition.

Market intelligence and competitive intelligence have different data focuses

MI and CI focus on different types of data, metrics, determinants, and statistics. 

Market intelligence data focus:

  • Customer insights, like customer behavior information (psychological, social, cultural, personal, and economic determinants and influences); brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand preference metrics; customer concerns and complaint information; and market segmentation information.
  • Market forces and trends, like market size and share information, market forecasts, technology trends, and geopolitical impacts, potential disruptors, and new entrants.
  • Product insights, like pricing data, product innovation information, product promotional data, and product differentiation data.

Competitive intelligence data focus:

  • Competitor investments and funding sources.
  • Competitor acquisitions, key distributors, suppliers, etc.
  • Competitor corporate strategies and tactics. 
  • Competitor organizational information, like changes in the organization, job openings, corporate culture, number of employees, key people, and key teams, etc.

As you can see, market intelligence and competitive intelligence often focus on different data sources, with market intelligence broader in scope than competitive intelligence.

The sources for market intelligence and competitive intelligence are similar, many, and overlapping

While the goals and data focus of MI and CI are different, the sources for gathering market intelligence and competitive intelligence can be the same. 

External sources for both market intelligence and competitive intelligence:

  • Syndicated sources (content providers)
  • Premium vendors (research agencies)
  • News feeds and press monitoring
  • Industry reports
  • Job boards
  • Social media, forums, etc. (social listening)

Internal sources for both market intelligence and competitive intelligence:

  • Sharepoints
  • Google drives
  • Google docs
  • FTP sites
  • Powerpoints
  • Project records
  • Spreadsheets
  • Email
  • Voice of customer videos
  • Employee’s minds

Drive faster, better decisions with all your market intelligence in one, searchable place. 

Whether trying to orgnize their MI or CI, many large organizations struggle with disorganized, siloed information. It can cause the businesses to miss or be too slow to react to changing market conditions and disruption. 

But what if you could easily search, browse, and discover insights from all of your organization’s internal and external knowledge assets to speed up your work? As the world’s leading insights management platform, Market Logic give you a birds-eye-view of your company knowledge, and helps you improve your market intelligence with intuitive, collaborative product features.

Market Logic Software brings all your internal and external sources of market intelligence into one, searchable place. That means you can unlock and integrate insights from any source—no matter where they live. We’ve helped some of the world’s leading brands tap into hundreds of premium sources and vendors, all integrated, indexed, and searchable, as well as reap the benefits of time savings that prove their platform’s ROI.