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The Integration of Market Research & Competitive Intelligence

This content covers the evolution of market research, the emergence of competitive intelligence, and the effects of the global marketplace on research. The integration of market research and competitive intelligence generates valuable insights for strategic and tactical decision making. Learn more in this presentation by SIS International Research.


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Market Research
  • Tells you what you want and need to know
  • "Is a science"


Business Intelligence
  • May tell you what you don't want to know
  • "Is an art"


The Evolution and the "Era" of Market Research

Market research evolved during the post World War II period, driven by the rapidly growing US consumer market.

During the 1950's - the 1970's, application of scientific and analytical methods were employed for:

  • market segmentation
  • market projection
  • development of consumer profiles
  • attitudes and usage studies
  • new product concept testing
  • tracking and performance/measurement studies of retail products
  • customer satisfaction studies



The "Era of Competition" - The Emergence of Competitive Intelligence (CI)

During the 1980's, the US economy experienced intense competition from Japan, followed by other Asian countries, in the automotive and manufacturing segments. Out of "defensive" measures to protect their domestic market shares, US firms started to monitor their domestic and foreign competition. CI Research methods primarily consisted of scanning the literature and primary research.

1986 - The emergence of SCIP; professional organization.


In the Post Communist period of the 1990s, the world began to "go global."

Market research "went global" to the developing countries, e.g. China, India, Russia, Latin America, etc.

  • primarily quantitative


On the other hand, CI was most developed in the US.

  • primarily qualitative


The problem: Most firms knew how to use market research data and findings but did not know how to use BI/CI studies.

The challenge remains: how to turn CI into actionable information.


Contrast in Research Methods:

Contrasting Market Research with CI


In the 21st Century - The Integration of Market Research and Competitive Intelligence

Corporate downsizing has forced strategic planning, market research, and competitive intelligence to become "more efficient," and in some firms, to merge into one department. The results of market research studies are comparitively easier to track than CI studies. The integration of both of these methods generates a "powerful cocktail" of intelligence for the organization if they know how to utilize the information for strategic and tactical decision making.


Examples of how to integrate market research and competitive intelligence:

Integrating market research and competitive intelligence


Summary & Conclusions

  • Opportunity exists to integrate business intelligence with market research to achieve maximum "intelligence yield"
  • Caution: monitor the projects to avoid duplication
  • Remember: market research and BI/CI employ different skill sets. Do not assume that the research executives can be "cross functional."
  • A database should be created which catalogues these "hybrid" projects to enable your firm to track the success of this functional area.



This article was provided by SIS International Research. Visit their website at

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SIS International Research

SIS International Research

New York, New York, United States of America
(212) 505-6805
About SIS International Research:
SIS International Research, founded in 1984, is a leading full-service Market Research and Market Intelligence firm.

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