The Agency Record Blog

The Importance of Market Intelligence

It is said that creativity often flourishes under constraint. When certain defined limitations are imposed on the creative process, it can free the brain to focus on finding the best creative expression within those boundaries, and the results are often compelling and engaging. And as creative marketers, engagement that leads to action is the name of the game.

I shudder to think how many professionally-produced brochures and web sites I have seen over the years that have missed the critical marks of action and engagement. Not as defined by me, but as defined by measurable market response! It is almost as if the creative team tasked with showcasing a business simply ignored everything except their own creative self expression, and delivered something beautiful yet absolutely worthless to the business they purported to serve.

And on the other hand, I have seen Microsoft Word template-based designs (note the utter disdain in my tone) that offended every sense of style known to the western world, and yet when evaluated based on the results, they were compelling, effective and engaging. For creatives everywhere, this is troubling.

This observation should set us on a lifelong path of learning about what makes one thing engaging, while something else is wholly ignored. I have found that the distinguishing characteristic time and time again is this: Market Intelligence.

The best, most engaging creative content is not created in a vacuum. It doesn’t begin in meetings that start with creative briefs and specs. It doesn’t even find much footing in the sophistication or brilliant swagger of the creative shop doing the work. It starts with a tangible, working knowledge of who the market really is, what they really want, and how they want it.  Market intel.

Market intelligence is the constraint that any creative marketing firm seeks to define before one single bit of creative work gets done. It’s the size and shape of the canvas. It’s the color palette and the style. It informs and defines and shapes and limits in essential ways, all of which help to deliver the final results that justify the price tag: action and engagement.

How intelligent are you about your market? How much do you know about how they interact with your brand, your products, your services? How much sharper could that understanding be, and how would having better market intel shape your next marketing effort and budget allotment?

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