It’s important to understand how customer intelligence is different from market intelligence. Market intelligence teaches us about a segment or group and discerns how they are similar. Customer intelligence informs us about the individuals who make those buying decisions in that market. As one peruses car counts, per capita statistics, and economic projections, it is helpful to remember the words attributed to Neiman Marcus founder Stanley Marcus: “A market never bought a thing in my sore, but a lot of customers came in and made me a rich man!”
Knowing what customers are really like starts with the recognition that reviewing the results from customer interviews, surveys and focus groups is at best like looking in a rear view mirror. Today’s customers change too rapidly to rely solely on what data reported. Instead it is important to anticipate where your customers are going.