“So now, if we decide to invest our time and money in an improved intelligence program, how can we be sure it yields benefits in excess of what the costs are?”
“Right”, the MI director thinks. “The return on investment question. How can I demonstrate the impact that I expect MI to have? How do I convince my bosses that I can help generate that impact? Do I know what it takes in the first place?”
Market Intelligence (MI) professionals have been struggling to answer questions related to the expected value and impact of the MI investment for just about as long as the profession has existed. The struggle is inherently there: MI is just one function out of many that have an impact on the company’s performance. It cannot be meaningfully isolated to accommodate for traditional return on investment (ROI) calculations.
And yet, questions about the expected, tangible benefits of MI almost always come up when a company is considering investments in market information. An investment by definition means that the future returns are expected to exceed the cost up front. Hence even if calculating the ROI on MI in exact terms for a specific company would be impossible, the question remains: on what grounds should we put some of our time and money into an improved MI capability?
This chapter approaches the value and impact of MI from three perspectives: