25 Sep 2020 17:20 IST

Leveraging marketing intelligence to stay ahead of the game

It will need strong analytical skills and ability to analyse information and interpret commercial recommendations

While the US, Europe, and other parts of the world are much ahead in using Marketing Intelligence (MI) as a hygiene discipline, India is far behind. Yet, India is an exciting market going through a phenomenal digital transformation. If you realise the importance of Marketing Intelligence, you will be among the early adopters, harnessing technology to achieve marketing objectives.

It’s like being the protagonist of a high-end, real-life video game, where one takes calculated real-time decisions. This position is full of power, responsibility, and is such a great motivator. Evaluating new business opportunities, strategies, and proposals for the brand’s market penetration and positioning will be your forte!

It is estimated to be a $20 billion dollar industry brimming with opportunities globally. The huge Indian market stands merely at $100-150 million currently. HansaCequity’s MX report 2020 says that only 30 per cent of marketing technologies are fully utilised here. As future practitioners of MarTech, there is immense opportunity in this field.

MI helps recover quickly

We have noticed that there has been a huge transition from the traditional to the digital, from offline to online, in just the last four months since the Covid-19 imposed lockdowns began. Millions of people were engaging with brands digitally, consumption habits evolved radically, and consumer’s buying behaviour also changed. The potential of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data analysis, has grown tremendously and people have started acknowledging its importance. This digital trend is going to continue upwards from here and the importance or MI analysts across the industries will be crucial for business growth analytics. Most sectors are dormant right now but will bounce back as soon as the consumer demand increases. The MI tools will aid the recovery process, and tell you what the competition is doing, in advance, so you’re equipped not just to defend yourself but also counter-attack.

Life as a MI practitioner

As a MI practitioner, the business development team will be your closest colleagues, but you will also work broadly across marketing communication. Your daily work will involve collaborating with the management on its goals, planning, and forecasting about the short-term and long-term growth ideas. As you go up the ladder, the role would require managing a cross-functional team by building credibility and build a rapport with diverse stakeholders including consultants, government bodies, bankers and clients. Your routine will require you to be aware of new developments in the industry, track investments, opportunities and trends at a global and local level.

Preparing mindset

MI is primarily a position of ownership, pro-activeness, leadership, and responsibility. If you are a MI analyst, you are not a data scientist, who is expected to churn numbers all day long. You think like an owner and use data to enable and take scientific decisions for the present and the upcoming goals. Strong analytical skills and knowledge of analysing information and interpreting or translating into non-technical, commercial recommendations.

Marketing Intelligence has full potential to give wings to the vision and soar higher towards growth. The more you delve deep with the tools and tinker around, you will be able to explore growth horizons to progress in. In the next decade MI is going to be a must-have research and development wing in every progressive company.

Formal education

The candidate with relevant tertiary qualification, Bachelors Degree or Diploma in Business, Marketing and/or Research/Statistics) is a requisite. The employers do seek certified education in Marketing Intelligence, Consumer Insights or Research Environment. These are both available within India and abroad in different institutions. A familiarity with SQL queries on large datasets to extract and manipulate data is required by a few organisations depending on the style of work. There are MI software tools which are taught to marketing students in the curriculum along with using spreadsheets and/or dashboard tools such as Lexis Nexis, Meltwater, Tableau, Looker, Quid among others.

The job readiness also requires strong communication skills and capabilities to articulate complex analysis to both technical and non-technical audiences.

Marketing intelligence is a magic wand that will make you a complete marketer. In the digital world triggered by Covid-19, we have a great opportunity to be steps ahead from our peers. Marketing Intelligence is an intensive specialised field that is going to be the most important differentiator.

(The writer is Integrated Marketing Specialist at Topline Consulting Group.)