The Four Key Perspectives of Market Intelligence
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In the age of information, the biggest hurdle is no longer lack of access to information. If anything, the modern research professional is inundated with information overload.
The name of the game today is staying nimble and proactive to an ever-changing market landscape. It is no longer good enough to merely stay aware of market-moving events— you must separate the signal from the noise and extract critical insights from the data at hand. With a proactive market intelligence practice, you can make smarter business decisions, serve customers better, and get an edge over the competition.
But how do you move away from reactive research processes?
That’s where market research tools come in.
Why You Need a Market Research Tool
Whether you are researching a market, industry, or trend, it’s helpful to have a tool that can show you the full picture—what your competitors are up to, what your customers need, and what trends are worthy of your radar —and cut through market noise so you can arrive at the insights you need to make confident moves.
With never-ending content streams constantly churning out SEC filings, earnings transcripts, analyst reports, trade journals, news publications, census data—finding the data itself is rarely the issue. Instead, it’s the slow, manual processes used in traditional market research and analysis that just don’t cut it anymore. If organizations want to be able to adapt, compete, and chart the best path forward, the question isn’t if they can benefit from a market intelligence tool, but which market intelligence tool will benefit them the most.
Whether you’re fine-tuning your organization’s marketing campaign, figuring out which potential new market will be most profitable, discovering which of your peers are investing in research and development, or doing a deep dive on changing consumer preferences, the right market intelligence tool can help you identify and act on key market-moving trends sooner.
How to Choose the Right Market Research Tool
When considering a market intelligence platform, every organization should be asking questions throughout the process.
What types of content are available through the platform? Is the content offered through a platform already publicly available? Does the platform provide you with access to exclusive information and insights? Are the intelligence tools customizable to meet your needs? Can the platform be easily integrated into existing systems? Does the tool give you the ability to export data into Excel or other usable formats? Does the vendor offer adequate customer service? How is their customer feedback? What about 24/7 tech support?
This guide will explain how professionals can make better, more confident decisions with market research tools. We’ll go over some of the best tools available today, and compare their features, strengths, limitations, cost, and see which types of organizations and use cases they’re best suited for. By the end, you’ll have a much better idea of which market research platform can address your needs and get your organization where it wants to go.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know:
- How to confidently navigate the market intelligence tool landscape
- How to identify which solution will be a good fit for your organization based on your specific market intelligence needs, priorities, and budget
- Ten market research platforms found on the market today (both paid and free)
- The capabilities, limitations, and price range of each tool
- A few of the ways organizations can use market intelligence to work more efficiently and effectively
10 Market Research Tools to Support Your 2023 Business Goals
What it’s used for: AI search technology, qualitative research, proactive market and competitive landscaping
Recently named one of the top 50 AI-based companies by Forbes, AlphaSense is designed for both the world’s top financial service firms and corporations. The tool is currently used by 85% of the S&P 100, 97% of the Dow 30, and 80% of the top consultancies.
Aggregating over 10,000 private and public data sources, AlphaSense’s curated library utilizes AI search technology to surface key insights from a wide array of private, public, premium, and proprietary content sources. It quickly analyzes both qualitative and quantitative research, adding context to unstructured sources to ensure you never miss an insight buried deep in the data.
AlphaSense is an ideal platform for anyone that’s looking to spot emerging trends, stay ahead of their competition, or level up their market analysis game. Here are some of the most useful features you will find in the platform:
With AlphaSense, you don’t have to worry about missing out on what is most important to your organization. By setting up automated alerts through the AlphaSense platform, you can receive customized email or mobile notifications for your companies and trends of interest.
Extensive Content Universe
AlphaSense gives its clients access to high-quality, rich content that offers critical insight into sentiment, trending topics, industry outlook, and detailed information about a company’s financial performance and market share.
A few of the content sources that are accessible on AlphaSense’s platform include:
- Company documents (i.e., SEC filings, earnings transcripts, company press releases)
- Wall Street Insights® (a leading collection of broker research from 1,000+ independent and sell-side firms covering global sector themes, industries, companies)
- Stream expert transcript library (30,000+ interview transcripts with industry experts, customers. competitors, and current and former company executives)
- Industry news publications and trade journals
- Regulatory websites
- Internal content (can be uploaded and analyzed using platform capabilities)
With AlphaSense, you can use AI-based Sentiment analysis to identify, quantify, and analyze levels of emotion within the text of company documents, like earnings transcripts. Understanding sentiment can help investors and business professionals catch the subtle inflection points in language that move markets and provide early indicators of shifting corporate performance.
Smart Synonyms™ Technology
AlphaSense uses semantic search to deliver results that match both the keywords in your query and the search intent behind it. This proprietary AI search technology finds results for your exact search term, as well as all relevant synonyms, so you can eliminate doing multiple manual searches.
For example, search results for the word “layoffs” would also include any content that mentions similar words and phrases, such as “cut jobs”, “reduce headcount”, and “eliminate roles”.
Unlike other generative AI (genAI) tools that are focused on consumer users and trained on publicly available content across the web, AlphaSense takes an entirely different approach. As a platform purpose-built to drive the world’s biggest business and financial decisions, our newest Smart Summaries™ feature leverages our 10+ years of AI tech development and draws from a curated collection of high-quality business content.
With Smart Summaries, you can glean instant earnings insights, quickly capture company outlook, and generate an expert-approved SWOT analysis straight from former competitors, partners, and employees.
Intuitive User Interface
Known for its intuitive, user-friendly interface, AlphaSense’s market intelligence platform was designed and built to be easily integrated into an organization’s existing systems processes. Simple search functionality, customizable alerts, data export options (like Excel or OneNote), and collaborative features make AlphaSense a tool that teams can actually enjoy using.
- Extensive content universe organized around the four key perspectives
- Proprietary content sets like Wall Street Insights® and the Stream expert transcript library
- NLP and AI-based search technology and sentiment analysis
- All-in-one research platform
- Intuitive user interface
- Collaboration and integration features
- Automated and customizable alerts
- Nonexistent ability to analyze internal company data
- No publicly available prices (interested parties have to call for a price quote)
Subscription prices vary based on the number of users (for small- and medium-sized companies) and are customized based on the organization (enterprise or company level subscription packages). Please contact the AlphaSense team to learn more.
For non-paying clients, AlphaSense still offers an extensive library of market research and expert insights on their website for free, like The Complete Guide to Conducting Competitive & Market Landscape Analyses or 10 Market-Moving Trends to Shape 2023.
What it’s known for: Firsthand research and expert insights
Gartner is the gold standard for expert insight and analysis on business trends, product reviews, digital transformation best practices, and more. They’re a largely public resource in that they publish free insights on their blog for anyone to view and use for their own strategic purposes.
Gartner’s real value, however, is in their in-depth, exclusive research offered only to paying clients and designed to give clients a competitive advantage and inform intelligent business decisions.
Some of Gartner’s proprietary features include:
- Magic Quadrant Reports – Evaluate and rank technology tools and providers
- Hype Cycles – Understand innovation and adoption cycles in different industries
- Digital IQ – Compare company performance with industry benchmarks against your competitors
Gartner has earned a solid reputation for being a best-in-class provider of original, firsthand research that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. With Gartner’s market intelligence platform, clients gain access to an extensive library of expert research on any business trend or topic you can think of.
- Helps identify areas for channel optimization
- Informs your organization’s strategic roadmap
- Reduces the risk of technology investment decisions
- Helps make better informed product decisions
- Helps gain deeper insights into vendor product and service offerings
- Streamlines vendor evaluation processes
- Limited options for smaller organizations
- No budget-friendly subscription options
Gartner offers powerful tools to its clients, but they don’t come cheap. At $30,000 per user, it’s not a viable option for most organizations.
For non-paying users, Gartner does provide access to many of its resources at no cost. However, many of the free resources will link to more comprehensive research that you won’t be able to access without a client account.
What it’s known for: keyword research and online ranking data
If it’s market analysis, comparative benchmarking, or SEO research you seek, look no further than Semrush. This is the most comprehensive intelligence tool on the list, in terms of content analysis. Semrush’s platform allows clients to consider website performance data in tandem with search trends.
Semrush can help you uncover anything and everything you could ever want to know about your target audience and your competitors. This platform is a good fit for any organization that’s looking to add something extra to its market landscape analysis, brand tracking, and competitive analysis efforts.
If your small business is looking to grow its brand visibility or ramp up its social media presence, Semrush’s social media marketing platform can provide valuable insights. It can also help you identify the best social media platform for you to reach your target audience.
- Measures the performance of articles published on other sites
- Tracks social engagement metrics, backlink count, referral traffic and daily keyword rankings
- Monitors competitors’ digital marketing campaigns and website performance
- Identifies keywords to maximize website traffic
- Increases brand awareness
- External sources and broader market insights
- Affordable membership options
- Pro – $119.95/month – for new users and small teams
- Guru – $225.95/month – for agencies and mid-sized businesses
- Business – $449.95/month – for large agencies and enterprise
What it’s known for: market research and trading platform
Bloomberg Terminal is a quantitative research platform that gives clients access to real-time financial news, market data, trading tools and insights. Bloomberg’s platform is an industry standard, and highly regarded among professionals in the financial services space.
Those without experience in or around the financial services space tend to find Bloomberg’s dashboard overly complex, and are often faced with a steep learning curve.
Related Reading: AlphaSense vs. Bloomberg
- Real-time collaboration tools for connecting with colleagues, clients, and a broader network of financial professionals
- Industry-leading pre- and post-trade analytics
- Fixed income securities, equities, and risk modeling
- Proprietary news and market analysis
- Index searches (S&P 500)
- Limited insights from broker research and expert interviews
- Limited search functionality
- Not easily integrated with other systems
Bloomberg Terminal is one of the most expensive options on the market, with the price ranging between $20,000-$30,000 for each user. Since most of Bloomberg’s products are bundled, it’s usually only a feasible option, cost-wise, for those who are already using other Bloomberg products and systems.
What it’s known for: data analytics and business intelligence
Tableau is a business intelligence tool and the undisputed leader in the end-to-end analytics space. Due to its internal research capabilities, Tableau is more of an organizational intelligence platform than it is a market research tool. By giving organizations a better way to store, organize, catalog, and leverage their own internal data, the Tableau platform elevates data prep, analysis, governance, and collaboration.
Tableau’s platform helps organizations work more efficiently to centralize data and provide easy access for team members in every department, regardless of their location. By ensuring all team members throughout an organization can see the same data at the same time, Tableau helps organizations streamline their internal communication and decision-making efforts.
- Advanced data visualization and graphing capabilities
- Mobile support and responsive dashboard
- Able to handle large amounts of data
- Easy to implement
- Efficient collaboration with teammates through data-sharing capabilities
- No external sources
- Lack of broader market insights
Tableau has the following tiered subscription options.
- Tableau Viewer—at $15 per user per month, this is the base model and the cheapest subscription option available
- Tableau Explorer—at $42 per user per month, the mid-level subscription gives users access to more features and functionality
- Tableau Creator—at $70 per user per month, the top-shelf subscription gives you all the available feature options
If you want to make sure Tableau is a good fit for your organization before committing to an annual membership, they offer free trials for all of their products. Plus, students and teachers can get a free one-year subscription for Tableau’s Desktop, Prep, and eLearning products.
What it’s known for: generating content ideas
Answer the Public is a “search listening” tool that was designed with public relations teams in mind. Similar to Google Trends, Answer the Public analyzes search engine data to reveal the intent behind a search. The more you know about what people are searching for online, the easier it is to create customer-focused content that specifically addresses their biggest pain points.
Answer the Public is the platform for you when you’re trying to generate new content ideas, collect market research data, create more effective marketing campaigns, or ensure your new product will address your target market’s biggest pain points.
Answer the Public Pros:
- Helps perform keyword research
- Helps track and monitor an organization’s brand reputation
- Provides content inspiration
- Offers comparative search behavior analysis tools
- Offers CSV data export capabilities
Answer the Public Cons:
- Only offers high-level, big picture data
- No ability to drill down further into data
- No qualitative or contextual details
Whether you’re a freelancer, agency, or a brand new team, there’s a good chance Answer the Public has a membership option to meet your needs. They currently offer three subscription options:
- Monthly: $79/month, for up to 3 users
- Annual: $99/month, for up to 5 user
- Expert: $199/month, for up to 3 users
Free Market Research Tools
If none of the tools above fit into your budget, there are plenty of free market research tools out there that offer valuable insights.
Google Trends – a keyword research tool that can help you uncover search trends, discover subtopics, or see whether search terms are rising or falling in popularity.
Google Analytics – a free data analysis tool that uses machine learning to provide valuable consumer insights.
TypeForm – a free market research survey tool you can use to create online surveys and questionnaires to gather customer feedback and improve your content marketing strategy.
Pew Research Center – this nonpartisan fact tank offers several free research databases, typology quizzes, templates, and survey question searches that can help even the most cash-strapped small businesses monitor social trends, public opinion, and more.
Try AlphaSense For Free
With AlphaSense’s AI-based smart search functionality, customizable alerts, intuitive user interface, and extensive library of premium content, it is truly the all-in-one market intelligence solution your business needs to succeed.
For professionals looking to elevate their market intelligence strategies and search capabilities, AlphaSense offers a free two-week trial of its platform. See how AlphaSense can level up your research and intelligence strategies today.