Marketing Intelligence: An immunity tonic for startups

By Udit Joshi|26th Sep 2020
Drawing the right kind of insights from marketing intelligence helps businesses understand what makes their customers tick and tailor their products and services accordingly.
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Already a part of the memes on webinars and online classes? In the last five months, we have witnessed digital becoming more relevant to our lives and even entering newer markets. There has been massive adoption of the smartphone and internet across the widest demographic of digital natives as well as baby boomers.


A recent report by HealthTech startup, Practo, revealed that five crore Indians accessed online healthcare during March to May, a 500 percent growth in online healthcare consultations.


The report also revealed that 80 percent of the total users were first-time telemedicine users. As many as 44 percent of users were from non-metro cities.




A massive boost for digital literacy

Even though the pandemic has brought us to an economic downturn, it has presented immense opportunities. The smart startups have definitely turned the challenges into opportunities. The sectors leading the relay are Edtech, Healthcare, FoodTech, Ecommerce, SaaS, Remote Working, OTT and Gaming.


Another big fact to digest is that while many startups strive and struggle to break-even, there are many who do not see the light of the day. The bad business times due to Covid-19 may take a heavy toll on them. In order to stay relevant, innovate and maintain financial health, one needs to incorporate competitive intelligence into your business strategy.


As an immunity booster, ‘Marketing intelligence’ as a subject may not be of priority for a rapidly growing startup. It is, however, the most essential tonic for a startup to disrupt, dominate, or even lead a market.


Marketing intelligence enables the founders to collect, assess and strategise using millions of signals being generated by businesses and consumers every day across the web.

When business opportunities arrive serendipitously

Marketing intelligence algorithms collect data of users across websites and social media platforms over different usage sessions. Such storehouse of data helps companies to predict the potential buyers of their product even before approaching them. One might be just amazed and pursue a new business model from the insights we bring out from the data crunching.


  • Eye for newer emerging markets for expansion and test the performance of the products or services beforehand. With a successful expansion in all cities of India, Zomato was assured that the convenience of ordering food is also a shared problem in 24 international markets beyond India.
  • Strategic decisions such as competitors’ messaging, positioning, brand elements, pricing and packaging changes can indicate broader shifts in a competitor’s strategy. These are subtle yet extremely effective ways to gauge the market’s direction. Paytm which started as a payments platform, has today evolved into a massive financial ecosystem.
  • One can simply run an analysis on which roles are the competitors hiring to get an insight on consumer demands, the course of the industry and executive team movements.

For tech CEOs

Close to a third of Indian startup founders are engineers. Deepinder Goyal, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the Bansal duo have been role models for all of us. Owing to their empirical and statistically-driven mindset, the tech prodigies understand numbers better.


At Paytm’s Noida office there are screens that rattle off numbers reflecting sales, revenues, userbase, tractions, GMV and others. Besides motivation, they help measure the impact of the new product launch. How did it perform within the market? What is the feedback and brand perception, share of voice, brand recall, among consumers and the industry? This data crunching could help generate predictive intelligence for the CEOs.

Balance budgets for marketing and product development

Larger organisations have a seasoned strategy team to handle their marketing analyses. They do have the budgets to even run a primary market research to test the waters but a small startup most likely will not have these resources, especially in the early stages. It gives startups an edge to invest at the right places at the right time, thereby managing constant R&D for growth.


  • Programatic Advertising with the help of Artificial Intelligence can be used to run automated, personalised campaigns for all the customer segments simultaneously.
  • For lean teams, Google’s automated bidding gets marketers to tailor their ad bids. These capabilities prioritise brand and business agendas by automatically managing the budgets with desired results.

Getting foolproof

Marketing intelligence helps companies analyse customer data to make predictions about buying behaviour. Marketers can take inspiration for differentiated campaigns and take advantage of insights into marketing strategies and tactics.


  • With data at the core of the customer experience, businesses can study and draw insights on the impact on various metrics in real-time.
  • Marketers can constantly review the latest conversion campaigns and promotions running in the market, even if they are in testing stage.


In the lockdown-infused period, a Noida-based stock broking startup was able to increase its active userbase by social listening to conversations on keywords, ‘investments, saving, disposable income and alternative source of income’. The majority chunk of influx has been from the tier II and III parts of India.

For the times… they have changed

40 million Indians use laptops and desktops, but a whopping 400 million use only smartphones. A digital revolution has occurred in our country due to no-contact norms. Ecommerce has had the highest growth owing to essential commodities delivered to the consumers.


As a first, this growth has been massive in the non-metro cities. The move taken by our government towards Atmanirbhar Bharat/Self-reliant India reflects the confidence that the market, investors as well as the government is trying to push to the entrepreneurs.


SaaS companies have to revamp to become mobile-first and stay relevant to the times. It is all the more important for startups to consider bringing out services and products aligned to the high digital momentum. The critical emphasis on implementing marketing intelligence will give a boost to the startups to stay way ahead of their competition and consumers so as to become the flag-bearer of innovation.


The entrepreneurs have already won half the battle, as with marketing intelligence abilities, they can now think slow and act ‘super’ fast.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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