Market research is the act of gathering information related to your customers’ preferences in specific markets. If, for example, you have customers in Portland and also Mexico City, these customers may have different preferences, goals and needs. You may need to adapt your strategies to reach these customers based upon that research.

Often this research is done before a company has its own customer data to draw from. You may be a startup or moving into an unknown market. So you may need to get this information from many less reliable market research methods like surveys and small focus groups. Market research sites also sell access to reports they’ve compiled on the markets in question. You might combine this with your own research.

Finally, market research is typically historical data. It’s not always as current as you’d like it to be because it takes time and effort to compile it through a marketing research process. Marketing research would have each of these three attributes but be focused precisely on how you meet marketing goals based upon these consumer preferences.

Market Intelligence, on the other hand, is real-time, actionable data about your customers, business and competition. It keeps you agile and it helps you anticipate what’s ahead. That way you always know where you’re going and how to get there. No guesswork required.

Industry-leading businesses utilize advanced digital marketing analytics tools to gather and analyze data from multiple vital sources at once.