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Why and How to Set Competitive Intelligence Goals and KPIs

Colleen Ferguson on Wed, Jan 24, 2018

One big challenge facing marketers today is setting goals and proper key performance indicators (KPIs) for their market and competitive intelligence (MI/CI) strategies. It is for this very reason that Crayon asked over 700 professionals in the industry for their feedback on this topic in the 2018 State of Market Intelligence Report.

According to the report, less than one-quarter (22%) of respondents have defined market/competitive intelligence goals and even fewer (19%) have well-defined KPIs. Astoundingly, one-third of respondents didn’t see goals or KPIs as a priority in their MI/CI strategy at all!

Get the latest data - download the 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence  Report 

Despite these numbers, there is still a noticeable upward trend toward setting measurable goals and KPIs, with the Crayon report revealing at least 43% of companies are currently in the process of defining their goals.



Goals and KPIs Are Necessary for Market Intelligence Success

The State of Market Intel Report hit on an important point -- if a company doesn’t set market/competitive intelligence goals or KPIs, then how will they know if their strategies are successful? This may seem like common sense, and many companies agree -- 72% of respondents shared that having clearly defined goals is a major factor in success, and 63% stated that having clearly defined KPIs is important to success. This reaffirms the old adage that you can only manage what you measure.


Most Companies Use Both Quantitative and Qualitative KPIs to Measure Market Intelligence

As a market and competitive intelligence professional, it’s important to recognize that the most succinct KPIs often come from a combination of data sources. The report noted that for the companies that had clearly defined KPIs, the majority of them (68%) use a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics to analyze the impact of MI/CI on their business.


Quantitative KPIs include datapoints that define and describe the performance of the market and your competitor, including, but not limited to: overall revenue achievement, upsell/cross-sell/retention targets, average revenue per customer, win rates, product launch metrics, website traffic, and more.



Quantitative metrics are great, but since they don’t give us the whole picture of market intel’s role in the organization, it’s critical to complement quantitative KPIs with qualitative measures.

Qualitative KPIs include internal and external feedback on the company’s leadership and success in the market. For example, surveys to collect internal sales team feedback on the ability to compete and brand awareness surveys to collect buyer feedback on branding and differentiation can highlight the less numbers-driven business impact of market intel programs.



Together, qualitative and quantitative measures help business leaders evaluate the full impact of a market intelligence program across the business. It is also important to note that a business does not need to measure every single potential metric, but rather focus on 2-3 key measures (at least one quantitative, at least one qualitative) for their market intel programs.

These measures can change over time - for example, perhaps an early qualitative measure is executive team feedback on the level of product innovation relative to the market, but then over time, the company shifts to buyer surveys on brand awareness and associations. Ultimately, the chosen KPIs are meant to influence the approach to market/competitive intelligence through alignment with the company’s current priorities.

CEO is Most Likely to Set Market Intelligence Goals and KPIs

Given the wide-reaching effect of market intelligence, it’s no surprise that executive leadership plays a role in determining goals and KPIs. The report found that the CEO or President is most likely to be involved (43%), followed by the CMO/VP Marketing (35%), then Competitive Intel/Market Research Team (34%), and finally, the Product Marketing Leader (23%).


5 Tips for Setting Your Own MI/CI Goals and KPIs

There are increasingly more online resources to learn how to establish market intelligence programs and their related goals and KPIs. As you set out to determine your own goals and KPIs, consider these final tips:

  1. Identify the top 1-2 goals and focus on 2-3 related KPIs that align with the company’s priorities.
  2. Use a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures to provide a well-rounded evaluation of market intel impact.
  3. Incorporate input from across the business, including executives and key intel stakeholders, such as sales and product teams.
  4. Align your market intelligence initiatives with these goals and KPIs - what themes you want to monitor, what competitors you care about most, what questions you want to answer.
  5. Be on the lookout for both strategic and tactical actions that can be driven by market intelligence as it is surfaced.

To learn more how companies set market/competitive intelligence goals and KPIs, download the full 2018 State of Market Intelligence Report here.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence

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