You spend large amounts of time to collate research data, survey questionnaires, stakeholder interviews, news alerts and social media information. How can you ensure that your key messages don't get lost in the deliverables?
We ask Hans Hedin, GIA Webinar presenter in Building a High-Impact Market Intelligence Product Portfolio, for some suggestions.
Should intelligence deliverables be branded?
"Yes, branding is most important.
Organizations often suffer from information overload and it might then be difficult to distinguish between internally developed and other reports. Internally developed market intelligence reports typically are of higher quality and consider the organization's perspective fully. If properly branded, such market intelligence deliverables will "stand out" and get identified quickly. This will of course, save time and improve decision-making capability.
On another practical point, branding deliverables means you can track them and hopefully, prevent people from copying and distributing them freely without acknowledging the source.
It also helps to promote your "products" and raise awareness of the market intelligence function.
You can brand both the deliverables and the people who worked on the deliverables. If you illustrate your role within an organization chart, you can also show the rest of the organization who you are and who you work for. This may help build internal authority and credibility. Just make sure you brand the deliverables consistently."
What is the best way to package market intelligence deliverables?
"The market intelligence team needs to develop a comprehensive portfolio of deliverables. This may consist of several levels.
The first level might be "Self Service", where managers obtain off-the-shelf reports regarding specific competitive issues. The second level could then be "Specific Reports", consisting of market, competitor or technology profiles, for example. The third level would be a more "Tailored Market Intelligence" approach, where management has a specific question that the market intelligence team needs to help find the answers to. The final level would be "strategic projects" which consist of sophisticated and in-depth deliverables.
For all three levels, you need to first ensure that you know your audience. Take the initiative to engage your internal customers in a continuous dialogue. It is useful to scope out what will or will not help them, and what you are realistically able to offer in your portfolio of deliverables. Some companies use surveys and benchmarking for this purpose.
Do ask them what questions they are trying to answer. What decisions do they need to make? What do they really need, versus what they would like to have? How much time do they realistically have to review the deliverables? What formats will be most helpful? Do they have any special requirements? For example, adapt your presentations and charts for someone who is visually color challenged. Some companies are even beginning to use videos as delivery tools."
How can deliverables be communicated with credence?
"The person delivering the market intelligence messages must first have the proper authority within the company in order to be able to make the message trustworthy. It might be necessary to develop the competence of the market intelligence professionals so that they become more like management consultants rather than information professionals.
It is helpful that they also present intelligence messages from the recipients' perspective. What are the recommendations and actionable items? What is the impact?
It helps to have a senior executive or board member as a champion, so that more recommendations can be acted upon. For this to happen, you need to make sure you have a seat at leadership forums or meetings."
What can we learn from the GIA webinar on Building a High-Impact Market Intelligence Product Portfolio?
"First, the listeners will get to understand why it is critical to have a complete market intelligence deliverables portfolio, and the competence level needed to produce various types of intelligence deliverables. Next, you will also learn how to create an intelligence portfolio and listen to how Best Buy have successfully developed and extended their market intelligence deliverables.
This webinar is part of a series that we are hosting on the Key Success Factors for World Class Market intelligence, trademarked by GIA. The other webinars coming up will cover market intelligence tools, organization, culture and processes. It is a webinar series we have developed targeted specially at those who are responsible for setting up and running international market intelligence functions."
Author: Hans Hedin, Vice President, Business Development, Global Intelligence Alliance
This article and others from GIA's World Class Market Intelligence practice can be found at Global Intelligence Alliance Insights and Analysis