How is marketing intelligence useful in marketing research?


How is marketing intelligence useful in marketing research?

If you are a business owner or even remotely interested in the market, you might have heard the terms market research and market intelligence. And, often, people mistake the two as the same thing. However, they are far from being similar. For starters, marketing research is a sub-category of marketing intelligence. 

While marketing research is a primary focus for larger, established firms, market intelligence is equally important for start-ups, small businesses, and organizations servicing specific industries.

And, marketing intelligence is highly useful in increasing your business revenue. In this blog, you will find out how marketing intelligence, when clubbed with market research, helps you stand out.

Marketing intelligence vs Marketing Research

Before we deep dive into the interdependent nature of the two, let’s understand the basic difference between marketing intelligence and marketing research.

Market intelligence provides a detailed report on the changing market as a whole. On the other hand, market research derives company-specific knowledge pertaining to the company’s target audience, consumer behavior, and the success or failure of a company-specific strategy.

Market intelligence is market-specific. Its goal lies in analyzing changing market trends around the world, competitors’ strategies, customer behavior, and future prospects in the industry. It is a constant process because the market is ever-changing; it wouldn’t stop functioning if your business decides to take a vacation. Hence, constantly gathering market info is necessary.

On the contrary, market research is consumer-centric; it analyses the company-specific strategies, a customer’s response to the said strategy, consumer behavior, their response, etc. Market research is beneficial in determining whether a new product or service will be profitable in the long run or not. It relies on the consumer’s response to identify pitfalls and rectify them.

How are marketing intelligence and marketing research interrelated?

Marketing research and intelligence work together to optimize your product or service for the marketplace.

Let’s say you’ve got a new product idea, and want to make sure it will be successful on the market. You could start by conducting market research to gather information about who your target audience is, what they need from your product and how much they are willing to pay.

Once you have this kind of information in hand, you can use marketing intelligence tools like predictive analytics software to analyze all that data. For example, by using a statistical model that tells us “85% of my target audience will buy this if I price it at 4500 INR” or “The best way to get more traffic is by improving my SEO ranking on Google Search results page.”

Competitive intelligence and its impact on market research 

As the name suggests, competitive intelligence involves collecting and analyzing a company’s competitor’s data over various parameters.

Out of all the types of marketing intelligence, this has been known to generate the most traction. By gathering numerous data from credited and uncredited sources, you can keep track of your competitor’s next move and also plan ahead to build effective strategies to mitigate risks before they get out of hand. This also helps you dive deeper into consumer behavior.

How does Marketing Intelligence help in Marketing Research?

So far, you would’ve probably understood that both need to work in synergy to outshine your competitors. Now let’s focus on how market intelligence is helpful in market research.

It Aids in competitor analysis which encourages you to make informed decisions for your product or service.

It Helps you understand the company’s potential to grow in the face of fluctuating market trends.

It Helps you strategize better.

It Helps your company makes decisions by guiding it through the market’s noise.

It Offers a consistent flow of data on the target market, the competitive landscape, consumer trends, and particular buyer profiles.

It Enhances the position of your business by assisting with the correct project investments and loss prevention.

Because of this infallible marketing tool, even traditional marketers are switching to new strategies. Additionally, the rise of AI-enabled marketing analytics tools has ensured faster growth in less time. Thus, in order to grow your business, it is only relevant that you employ ideal marketing tactics.


Both marketing intelligence & marketing research is invaluable to a business and its optimization strategies. It can help you understand your customers better, discover new opportunities and make more informed decisions. Market intelligence data gives you a better understanding of the marketplace as well as how your company stacks up against competitors. 

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How Mystery Shopping can benefit your company?


How Mystery Shopping can benefit your company?

What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is an immensely popular assessment tool used to perform consumer research. It helps in understanding the business of a particular product or service.

Earlier, mystery shopping was done to understand employee efficiency and integrity. But, in recent times, many companies are adopting it to understand their rival companies, gain business insights, understand their customer, and evaluate their staff. It also helps brands identify faulty internal protocols and how to rectify them. Mystery shopping has turned out to be an excellent market research tool to grow and understand a business.

How Mystery Shopping is done?

It is often done through a mystery shopper, who is a person hired by third-party mystery shopping companies. These secret shoppers or auditors are trained to go undercover to pose as customers and assess the brand on various aspects such as customer experience, employee service, how long it takes in the billing line, the variety of products/services, etc. Later, they are given a questionnaire or a survey to record their findings. The information thus extracted helps in analyzing the brand’s marketing strategies.

How does mystery shopping help businesses?

Employee feedback: It helps you determine your staff’s performance, who all adhered to the instructions? What strategies are they using to deal with customers? Whether they are hardworking or irresponsible. This helps in identifying the problems and improving customer experience.

Improving efficiency: Some brands inform their staff about mystery shoppers but do not disclose who that person is. As a result, employees tend to treat every customer nicely and help them with queries. With this, you can determine which employee is loyal and goes beyond expectations and who is slacking.

Assessment of procedures: It aids in gaining helpful insight into the internal procedures and identifying the underlying discrepancies. This way loopholes can be easily curbed and new SOPs can be designed for a seamless customer experience.

Competitor evaluation: For a successful business, it is necessary to always stay vigilant about your competitors’ strategies. New brands can benefit tremendously by mystery shopping in established brands to understand where they are lacking and improve the same in their own products/services.

Customer feedback: It is regular people; hence it helps understand the brand’s service from a customer’s perspective. Their feedback can be beneficial in improving the shopping experience for all customers.

Testing a new product/strategy: Based on the mystery shopper’s response, brands can determine which market strategy is working and which isn’t. This comes in handy while introducing new schemes and offers. Their feedback determines any improvement if needed.

Compliance across all stores: If a brand has multiple stores across various regions; mystery shopping helps determine which store’s staff is adhering to the protocol. This improves brand consistency. Mystery shopping helps to identify inconsistencies and take action.

Helps in customer retention: One might think that in order to increase sales they need new customers. When in fact, they should be focussing on building customer retention. All the little changes made after gaining insight add to raising the standards of the service provided. This in turn would make customers choose your brand over any other competition.

Best Mystery Shopping companies in India:

1. HS Brands Asia

2. Bare International

3. Floor Walk

4. Redquanta

5. Lecapri

6. Helion Research

7. Channel play

8. Albatross Global Solutions


Mystery shopping provides amazing actionable insights for all types of businesses. The response received can help in improving customer relations, acting on compliance strategies, getting feedback on staff integrity, implementing effective business strategies, and customer retention. If used wisely, mystery shopping can dramatically boost your sal

Customer Experience Management and Why is it important?

Customer Experience Management and Why is it important?

Have you ever walked into a store and been impressed with the prompt service from the staff when they assisted you to get the product of your choice? And you get everything billed without hassle? Or at times when you were treated rudely, your queries were neglected and the billing line made you wait for hours?

That’s what customer experience (CX) is called. In layperson terms, customer experience is a person’s overall interaction with the brand’s product and/or services, encompassing various factors. It helps in building an emotional connection with the brand; in turn, encouraging customer retention and brand loyalty.

Often, most brands focus on getting a newer audience but fail to focus on a key aspect of their revenue generation – brand loyalty. Forming a strong customer base becomes a crucial aspect of customer experience management.

What is Customer Experience Management (CXM)?

CXM is often confused with CRM or Customer Relationship Management. The former is customer-oriented while the latter is sale-oriented. Both help in understanding the market for a brand’s business.

CXM oversees all the processes that take care of any interaction points between a customer and the brand’s product. It focuses on a product right from its purchase to its sale.

In experience management, the customer is the centre of attraction. The key focus lies on how they perceive the brand and how any fallacies in the entire framework can be rectified and avoided in the near future. Hence, management begins even before the customer has interacted with the product and/or service.

Benefits of Customer Experience Management:

Customer retention employing better strategies that satisfy the customer needs leads to generating a loyal customer base. This not only helps in customer retention but also raises profits. Studies suggest it is more economical to keep a customer than acquire a new one.

Lower marketing costs a loyal customer becomes the poster child of the brand. They tend to endorse the brand by sharing their positive experience with their peers resulting in a free word-of-mouth promotion. This drives sales and better conversions without spending much on marketing costs.

Helps understand competitor’s mindset customer feedback is immensely valuable. When sharing their experience, a customer tends to compare it with the contemporary brands that target the same clientele, which makes it easier to understand the areas of improvement in the brand and devise new strategies.

Better management- applying effective strategies avoids any last-minute setbacks and provides a seamless customer experience. This not only benefits the customer but the employees as well. Because, in the end, a good work environment is bound to encourage enthusiasm among the staff.

Improved standards better management aids in raising the brand’s standards and provides it an edge over its competitors. If a company understands their consumer needs, they generate more revenue at less cost.

How to make it better?

The brand’s primary goal should be to build customer retention. Below are a few strategies to do so:

Ideate a framework: along with the brand’s vision, it is crucial to understand the customer’s vision. What do they expect from the brand? How would they interact with the brand’s services? This helps in increasing customer loyalty.

Tap into customer’s emotions: it is imperative to deep dive into the customer’s psyche. What are their sentiments regarding the brand? How do they feel about the brand’s products/services? Building an emotional connection helps establish a long-term relationship with the customer.

Personalize the brand: personality evokes emotions. It makes the product feel less like a commodity and avoids alienation from the brand.

Reward their loyalty: offering referrals and bonuses help make customers feel special, in turn earning their trust. Interacting with them through various channels makes them feel valued. Loyal customers purchase repeatedly and spend more time with the brand, which encourages higher sales.

Take the feedback seriously: any input, be it positive or negative, inspires the brand to improve its product/services to meet the customer’s expectations and fulfil their needs with changing times.

It is crucial to track your customer needs at each step to drive more sales. Your goal as a brand is to get into every nook and cranny of the customer’s mind and come up with effective strategies to avoid any discrepancies and work on consistent improvement. CXM offers unique insights into increasing sales and strengthening the brand.



The Forgotten Side of Mystery Shopping

One area of the business world which stands dynamic and most aggressive in terms of advancements and innovation is Marketing, and it’s a no-brainer to realise how heavy companies are investing into marketing and trying to reach customers organically!

The term “Organic” is currently all the rage, from social media followers to companies tempting consumers to try their brands. Companies need customers who will be devoted long-term customers.

In contrast to social media posts and videos, which make it simple to target an audience, there are very few ways to draw customers to a business when we talk about generating some footfalls. One such tactic that will help businesses grow and better understand their clients but is slightly unfamiliar to the Indian market is Mystery shopping!

The whole idea of this blog is to let you know how the Indian market is unaware about the concept of Mystery shopping, yet & why its implementation is crucial for better marketing & establishing competitive benchmarking.

The term Mystery & shopping itself is evident enough to understand what this concept means, it basically involves shopping in disguise, known as Mystery shoppers. These mystery shoppers are hired by an organisation and are asked to experience their services just like normal customers.

Getting paid to shop, to eat, to review their performance? Mystery shopper
Does savour these perks.

But the question still remains relevant, in what ways does mystery shopping help?

1. Helps to improve customer retention-
Understanding how customers feel about your brand and your services, improving on the flaws is what stands as a big advantage to the business. It will help to analyse the activities better and get an overview of the operations.

2.Helps to keep a check on Staff and their activities-
Every business has their set of standard operating procedures and business systems which needs to be followed and with the help of mystery shoppers one can keep a check on the employees and their activities while at work.

Employees who perform well can be rewarded & the ones who are not,suitable action can be taken w.r.t to their negligence.

3. Provides an edge over Competitive Benchmarking-
Hiring Mystery shoppers for your brand? Legends.
Hiring mystery shoppers to keep an eye on your Competitor? Ultra Legends.

Exactly what stands out as the biggest advantage of this technique, sending mystery shoppers to your competitor brands in the industry will help to better understand what makes their brand stand out and how different it is from ours.

It will also help to gain insights about the industry and its trends. Mystery shopping has its own set of perks and this one is our personal favourite for obvious reasons!

4. Understand the scope for improvement
This trick will definitely help to get a detailed understanding of how the business is functioning and help to get a better SWOT analysis of the organisation.

5.Helps generate employment-
Mystery shoppers can be freelancers or an employee of a mystery shopping company too, but what matters is it helps to employ people and creates job opportunities in the market.

6.Helps to improve customer Satisfaction –
The basic aim of the whole mystery shopping process is build better customer relations and create a loyal customer base for the business.

In a world where cut-throat competition exists and businesses are trying to make customers feel special with their services, this technique is most useful for gauging competitors and their business procedures, understanding where our business stands and what strategies can be used to stand out in the market.

Although this idea is slightly unfamiliar in India right now, with the growing number of brands and customer services, implementing mystery shopping as a business strategy will soon become a trend.

So to the entrepreneurs (aspiring entrepreneurs) who want to understand their business better (mysteriously) and become an edge over your competitors, you now know the strategy- and as far as hiring mystery shoppers is concerned, we are here for your rescue!

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What is the difference between market intelligence and business intelligence?


What is the difference between market intelligence and business intelligence?

Now that BI tools are flourishing, and its popularity as a dynamic job profile is on the rise, let me explain how these two areas are different and why they matter!

But let me tell you a tool which connects both these teams, a concept slightly unfamiliar with the Indian public – Mystery Shopping!

By the end of the blog I am sure you will know how mystery shopping aids in business Intelligence and Market Intelligence.

Data is what drives the world today, not just the corporate world, even the smallest of public surveys and choices are used as raw data for research. 

By its very nature, business intelligence is nothing more than an extensive process to assist decision-making and enhance strategy implementation by using data sets in a manner that is designed to analyse where business is today, where it was in the past, and what is required to achieve future goals.

Irrespective of the industry, data analytics and access to instant databases is what matters today. Predicting future trends and formulating strategy accordingly is the goal of BI.

The purpose of BI is to study business activities and identify whether the current system and processes are sufficient to reach organisational goals. The focus here is on internal management and activities and what can be done to improve them. The primary data used in business intelligence is sales data, accounts data, and financial statements. The data is compiled to analyse business activities and assist with further research.

Alternatively, market intelligence can be defined as a process that aids business intelligence by studying and analysing the market in which the business operates in order to formulate better plans and goals.

As a result of market intelligence, BI teams can analyse the business more effectively since the data collected through market research expands the approach.

Market intelligence includes analysing consumer behaviour, market demand, the state of the industry, and how businesses can adapt to changing consumer demands.

To broaden the scope of business decisions, it also entails researching markets geographically and the preferences of customers in various locations.

Market intelligence undoubtedly gives a company a better competitive edge, but it also sheds light on how the general public is responding to market changes and their preferences.

Popular brands today use tools for market intelligence or even hire experts who can steer the business and give a bird’s eye view of the market. Surveys play a significant role in this market research process because they offer raw, first-hand information that improves the measurement of business.

Today, in the midst of shifting business dynamics and quick changes in business activities, we have a better method—commonly known as Mystery Shopping! To comprehend consumer behaviour and spending patterns.

Although mystery shopping may be completely alien to us Indians, it serves as a valuable tool for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your company.

The procedure is straightforward: Unknown individuals are hired as mystery shoppers and asked to visit a specific store and behave as customers. These masked individuals will take advantage of the hospitality of the customers, watch the employees at work, and analyse the store’s operations from the perspective of the customers.


More effective than surveys and audits, these mystery shoppers will be able to identify the business’s strengths and weaknesses.

By now, I hope you have a general understanding of how mystery shopping and market intelligence can be combined to gain a realistic understanding of the operations of the business and the areas where it needs to improve in order to gain market share.

Sincerely, I think mystery shopping is much better and simpler than surveys.

What kind of data is more reliable than first-hand information obtained from fictitious clients? It also aids in conducting a more thorough SWOT analysis of the company.

This data collection tool will provide an honest status of their business to the Market Intelligence and Business Intelligence teams. This can be used as a professional tool to generate employment, monitor business operations, give researchers more information for their work, and find deficiencies in business procedures.

Using information derived from mystery shopping will help you better understand your target audience’s needs, how business can meet those needs, and which business processes need to be implemented in the plan.

It would be appropriate to state at this point in the blog that mystery shopping does help to connect Team Market Intelligence & Team Business Intelligence, and we are here for it!

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Mystery shopping vs Customer Satisfaction


Mystery shopping vs Customer Satisfaction

CSat (Customer Satisfaction) and CX (Customer Experience) go hand-in-hand for a successful business. They are like two eyes for a human and they are equally important for any company’s growth. Customer Satisfaction starts when Customer Experience ends.

Mystery Shopping and Customer Satisfaction surveys are some of the tools used for obtaining accurate data on a company’s operations and its customers’ actual experiences. In the Indian market, especially post-pandemic, we can see a dip in Customer Satisfaction for the Indian products.

Most Indian businesses rely on foreign brands to gain Customer Satisfaction. They are unable to get an appropriate Customer Experience from their business alone. Hence, we can see a big dependency on foreign brands to be successful in the Indian market.

Customer Satisfaction can be measured by conducting surveys through various modes like email, social media, post-purchase screen, phone calls, or in-app surveys. These surveys mostly denote the exact perceptions of the customers from the products; or organizations’ point of view. The surveys are to be kept brief and to the point so that customers don’t need to invest too much time to provide their feedback. Usually, we see that the negative aspects of the feelings or experiences are pointed out by customers in such Customer Satisfaction surveys. Hence, we cannot rely fully on these surveys. So, we also need the help of Mystery Shopping programs to arrive at consolidated data.

Mystery Shopping, as we know, is a program implemented to get the actual employee behavior and business standards in specific measurable areas. These programs not only give customers’ perceptions but also provide an overview of the actual day-to-day functioning of the businesses. By adapting these programs in various stores at different locations, an organization can get a complete picture of their business from all aspects which can be used for strategizing their future marketing plans.

Mystery Shopping programs can be immediately implemented for training the employees, making changes in day-to-day operations, and even getting a good knowledge about their competitors in the market. To be concise, Customer Satisfaction is required to a certain extent to understand the feelings and expectations of customers which Mystery Shopping programs cannot fully provide.

Similarly, Mystery Shopping programs can provide realistic data to show what exactly the company is doing from the operations and customers’ side. This data can be used to further improve the areas which need betterment based on the Customer Satisfaction surveys. So, both Mystery Shopping and Customer Satisfaction go hand in hand to provide an accurate Customer Experience.
What is the main purpose to implement Mystery shopping services? This has to be determined by the brand first before chalking out any plan. For this, understanding the market is important. The brand’s current position in the market, their goals, and their competitors in the market. Once these aspects are determined, a clear goal-oriented Mystery shopping program can be sketched as per the brand’s requirements.

Mystery Shopping and CSat should complement each other for the successful running of a business.

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How to design a mystery shopping program that pays for itself?


How to design a mystery shopping programs that pays for itself?

To achieve success, ‘Plan to Perform’ is very important to design any Programs especially Mystery Shopping Program for an organization. The companies have to plan appropriate and good Mystery Shopping program before they are launched. 

Such successful programs become profitable for themselves for the companies to be in business. Hence, a successful Mystery Shopping program in which the ROI level reaches a high level due to effective strategies or excellent Management tools brings success and profit for any business. 

Let us see how this success and profit can be achieved.


What is the main purpose to implement Mystery shopping services? This has to be determined by the brand first before chalking out any plan. For this, understanding the market is important. The brand’s current position in the market, their goals, and their competitors in the market. Once these aspects are determined, a clear goal-oriented Mystery shopping program can be sketched as per the brand’s requirements.

2.Understanding the customer:

Any Mystery Shopping program’s success is based on the brand’s customer experience. The brand’s customers need to be understood and analyzed properly. The way the brand deals with their customers, what are their current setbacks, and the exact requirements of the customers should be understood. Also, the program should not only increase customer satisfaction but as well as the number of customers for the brand.

3.Define Internal Mystery Shopping tactics:

Any Mystery Shopping program should choose an appropriate internal methodology to implement the program. For example, They can use in-store visits, online shoppers, or even phone calls. The choice should be based on the day-to-day running of the brand’s business. Some brands might have just one store but have a huge virtual business online. Here, using online Mystery Shoppers to check their efficiency is correct than sending in-store Shoppers.
marketing research

4.Create an effective survey tool:

To implement a Mystery Shopping program, we need to create an effective survey tool. We have to sit with the brand to understand how exactly the brand wants the Mystery Shoppers to observe. A proper questionnaire has to be designed with an appropriate number of questions that a Mystery Shopper can practically handle and which would provide all the data that the brand wants. Along with this, a video or audio recording of the audit can be introduced, and also important photos can be taken by the Mystery Shoppers. A well-designed questionnaire with correct scores set for each question would give a good analysis of the customer experience of the brand’s store/business.

5.Efficient Mystery Shoppers:

A correct analysis of the brand’s business and creating a good Mystery Shopping program are not sufficient to get perfect results. One very important part is hiring good Mystery Shoppers and providing appropriate training to them to bring in good results. The Mystery Shoppers have to be made to understand what exactly the brand wants them to find out during their audits. For this, a proper briefing needs to be given to the Mystery Shoppers about the brand’s business. Few online Certification tests can be given to them to ensure that they have studied the materials well and would remember the key points while carrying out their audits. It is advisable to send experienced Shoppers for an audit of premium brands so that the results are satisfying.

6.Cost-Effective Programs:

A brand would see how cost-effective the Mystery Shopping programs are apart from their requirements in their business. So, a Mystery Shopping program should be both qualitative and cost-effective. This only would be profitable for both, the brand and the Mystery Shopping company. The demographic locations to be visited by Mystery Shoppers, the Shoppers’ fees, any purchase visits to be made, etc., are to be calculated correctly to ensure that the brand is benefitted from the results. It should not end up being a huge costly Program for the brand.

7.Competitor Analysis:

After planning; executing a good Mystery Shopping program with efficient Mystery Shoppers does not end the whole research program. It is equally important to understand and view the brand’s competitors too. Audits to competitor stores/outlets can be included in the Mystery Shopping Program. This would give the brand a good picture of their competitors in the market which would be useful to design effective marketing strategies to better them.

"A good Mystery Shopping program with effective cost would be a profit by itself for the brand."


Sanjeev Shenoy

Managing Director, HS Brands Asia

Sanjeev Shenoy has 15+ years’ experience in mystery shopping and customer experience and has helped several global brands design and manage programs across Asia. As a post-graduate in Management, he has worked in Marketing & Operations across retail and food and beverage. As a believer in the beginners’ mindset, Sanjeev seeks to bring in innovation in the mystery shopping industry through technology and best practices from other industries.

Sanjeev Shenoy

Managing Director, HS Brands Asia

Sanjeev Shenoy has 15+ years’ experience in mystery shopping and customer experience and has helped several global brands design and manage programs across Asia. As a post-graduate in Management, he has worked in Marketing & Operations across retail and food and beverage. As a believer in the beginners’ mindset, Sanjeev seeks to bring in innovation in the mystery shopping industry through technology and best practices from other industries.

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How to Use Market Intelligence for Your Small Business?

How to improve poor customer experience?

Why is Competitor Benchmarking Necessary?


Why is Competitor Benchmarking Necessary & Mystery Shopping for Benchmarking

We have already been familiarized with the concept of mystery shopping and its significance for Brands and Mystery Shoppers. If you haven’t read the previous article, please visit the following link(link to be inserted of the previous blog) to get acquainted with the upcoming topic. When we talk about Competitor benchmarking, we compare the products and services of one’s own brand vis-à-vis competitors.

Why is Competitor Benchmarking Necessary & Mystery Shopping for Benchmarking

If you are a brand with a chain of stores, you probably will be operating in a very competitive market. To stay ahead in the race of competency, we have to analyse the competitor’s measures along with ours. Keeping in account how your store is performing and whether all the protocols and services listed are rendered or not is necessary. But using Mystery shopping for competitor benchmarking helps you identify their strengths and weaknesses. Getting to the weak point of a competitor and making it your strength can prove to be a boon if implemented properly.

How to achieve Competitor benchmarking?

1.HS Brands with its global reach and expertise for Brand refinement may help you achieve your goals.

2.No matter where your store is located, all throughout Asia, we have locals to handle the endeavour.

3.The mystery shoppers from HS Brands will visit your competitor’s shop and scan every nook and cranny.

4.All the aspects of the business from customer service to product displays will be scrutinized and audited. The final result will be carefully refined and presented at your disposal.