Marketplaces have become more and more complex in the last few years. The Covid-19 pandemic, inflation and the global energy crisis have affected economic markets all over the world making it harder to predict business opportunities and trends. Emergency situations like these prove the level of resilience a company has built up over the years because making decisions in uncertain environments requires extensive market knowledge. Changing conditions are part of the game and some companies emerge even stronger from recessions and turmoil in large parts thanks to something called market intelligence (MI). MI is especially important for companies that expanded into a new market. In this post we explain what defines MI, explain its core processes and give examples of how it can benefit your business in the Colombian market. 

What is Market Intelligence?

Marketing Intelligence describes the gathering and analysis of information about possibly all aspects of an economic market before entering it. Within the specific target market companies search for information about the market conditions, competitors, industries, suppliers, customers, interest groups, etc. MI helps collect data about  market  players  and  strategically  relevant topics, and transforms it into insights that support strategic decision-making

The basic concept of MI is simple, the more you know about a market the likelier it is that you will have a competitive advantage. However, in today’s world, access to market data is not the main challenge to gain an advantage, rather it is the efficient use of MI. Often, MI is divided into four processes:

Collection: The first step in most MI frameworks is the gathering of relevant data from the analyzed sector. External sources such as governmental agencies, research institutes and other partners should also be consulted.

Validation: “Cleaning” the market data collected is a crucial stage, as some sources present incomplete, wrong or duplicated contents. This step will allow data and information to be adjusted and understandable.

Processing: Involves the use of translating the clean data into readable information, reports or spreadsheets that allows the organization to gain exclusive insight into the market.

Communication: The fourth and final step results in communicating and presenting the newly gained market knowledge to interested companies with the idea that they apply these insights in their decision-making processes. 

Why is Market Intelligence Important in Colombia?

Even though some products or services are successful in their respective home countries it does not mean that expanding into new markets, especially in Latin America, is an easy decision. It is understandable that companies without local knowledge in Colombia are suspicious about growth and business opportunities. The enormous cultural, environmental, and economic diversity can make it difficult to identify possibilities for a successful market entry. The social and political risks in Colombia can make international companies insecure if this is the right market for them. Local bureaucracy is another factor that negatively affects expansion to the Colombian market. These challenges make it even more pertinent that companies invest more in their Market Intelligence. 

The Colombian business environment is a perfect example why accumulating Market Intelligence is as crucial as having a good product. In today’s fast-moving world economy, knowledge is (financial) power. Uncovering the immense potential of Colombia with the help of Market Intelligence reveals interesting business opportunities that are not available to your competitors. A significant difference to other markets is the relatively high degree of informal structures of innovation and the lack of formalized knowledge production in Colombia. In this context, receiving inputs, financial data from external sources can affect the Market Intelligence of your company positively and foster innovation. Further, applying Market IIntelligence models in the Colombian meat industry have shown that there is an impressive quantity of data available on the web. Organizing and filtering this information is a time consuming process, but the investment in knowledge management will pay off in the long run.

Tips and Reminders to apply Market Intelligence in Colombia

Developing your MI goes back to the fundamentals of strategic analyses of industries. In competitive markets, companies should maximize their knowledge about suppliers, buyers, new competitors and products. 

  1. Important to remember in the Colombia context is that some information can hardly be accessed by virtual desk research. Sustainable growth possibilities require a certain level of local knowledge and also access to unconventional sources. 
  2. The sheer amount of information on the internet makes it difficult for companies outside of Colombia to decide which business opportunities are worth the investment. That is why it is vital to follow the four MI processes mentioned above thoroughly because skipping a step could result in financial losses due to insufficient knowledge acquisition.
  3. The lack of knowledge about government and legal regulations can be a major hurdle to enter the Colombian market. That is the reason why it might be a good idea to organize the different data points about customers, competitors, suppliers, etc. according to your company’s needs and priorities.

Conclusion

Resources invested on gathering and analyzing information data about the Colombian market need a coherent MI strategy. Almost too much information is available nowadays about different sectors of the economy. For that reason the second step mentioned above, validation, becomes more and more important. Providing its clients with reliable and accurate market information is the specialty of Ongresso and backed by its successful implementation of MI strategies for companies in many different sectors in Colombia. If you want to acquire relevant knowledge about choosing your appropriate distributor in Colombia check this blog.

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