Secondary Research & Competitive Intelligence

“It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital” – (Sherlock Holmes)

Secondary Research

Secondary research is the gathering and analysing of data that was previously collected to serve a purpose other than the current reason for the research.  In this way, secondary research differs from Primary Market Research, which is the direct gathering of information from individuals in order to answer a specific and generally new research question.

Secondary market research can help conserve a firm’s resources since the expense of designing and implementing a research study has already taken place.  Secondary market research is usually thought of in terms of two categories: Information from internal sources (held by a particular company or agency), and information from external sources (held outside of a particular business enterprise, organization, or agency).

Secondary Research is a common research method; it involves using information that others have gathered through primary research.

Purpose of secondary Research

This technique is performed in order to:

  • Assess easy, low-cost and quick knowledge;
  • Clarify the research question;
  • Help align the focus of primary research in a larger scale and can also help to identify the answer; and
  • Rule out potentially irrelevant project proposals (ex. The proposed work may have already been carried out).

Types of Secondary Market Research Methods

The type of market research information gathered defines it as either quantitative or qualitative.

Quantitative Method of Market Research

The research conducted to gather numerical data is defined as quantitative method of market research and it includes the following:

  • Surveys conducted to assert customer refund frequency.
  • Figures about sales
  • Sales number related to industry products
  • Telephonic or online questionnaires
  • Trends pertaining to finance.

The quantitative method of market research services involves plenty of statistics is helpful in identification of the following:

  • For identification of the market size
  • The worth of the market size for the business
  • Identification of areas of sales for the growth of the business.

 Qualitative Method of Market Research

The qualitative method of market research primarily deals with the gathering of information about the attitudes, feelings, and views of the consumers. It involves the following:

  • Focus groups consisting of consumers and potential customers to understand the views they have about the company’s products and services.
  • The informal and formal chats engaged with consumers to understand their satisfaction level about the company and its products.
  • Information about competitors such as reviews and the visits etc to understand the practices engaged by them with respect to their products and practices of customer services.

Qualitative market research method though is very helpful in understanding consumer needs, habits, practices  including being very helpful in increasing sales and providing better consumer service, it requires an altogether different approach and may even take longer time for data interpretation due to the complex nature of information collected.

Competitive Intelligence

What is Competitive Intelligence?

The process of collecting and analysing information about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in a legal and ethical manner to enhance business decision-making. Competitive intelligence activities can be basically grouped into two main types – 1) Tactical, which is shorter-term and seeks to provide input into issues such as capturing market share or increasing revenues; and 2) Strategic, which focuses on longer-term issues such as key risks and opportunities facing the enterprise. Competitive intelligence is different from corporate or industrial espionage, which use illegal and unethical methods to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

Is competitive intelligence legal?

Yes! Competitive intelligence is legal and ethical. However, industrial espionage is not. Competitive intelligence generally covers gaining information about the external business environment, such as data about previous patterns in competitor’s business, while corporate espionage involves using unethical practices to gain insider information. Make sure you know what you are doing before you cross any lines.

Why only the best organizations opt to use competitive intelligence services?

 The use of competitive intelligence services for deciding business strategies has paid off for leading companies who have an annual turnover of more 10 billion dollars an open secret. These organizations have their own well-organized and well-formulated competitive intelligence system. In fact, many of the largest organizations have a full-fledged department dedicated to competitive intelligence. Even mid-sized firms, outsource competitive Intelligence services for the purpose of gathering and analysis of intelligent information.  Even smaller business owners tend to undertake Competitive Intelligence services on their own.

Study reveals that those organizations that undertook competitive Intelligence services outperformed the other organizations who failed to undertake CI in many areas including market share, sales, sales per share and profitability.

When should you use competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is always relevant, but it is especially important before beginning any new campaigns, unveiling new products, or making major changes to strategy. Gaining a complete understanding and predictions of what to expect keeps you from walking into new scenarios blindly.

Competitive intelligence offers valuable insights that marketers can use to be more effective and strategic in their decisions. Ultimately, there is no excuse not to utilize competitive intelligence to your benefit. This information can greatly shape your game plan so you can avoid making mistakes your competitors have. How do you use competitive intelligence in your marketing efforts? What has been the most valuable type of information you gained and how did it affect your campaigns?

“It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital”-   (Sherlock Holmes)

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