Online Market Intelligence – using online data to explore growth opportunities

Regardless of what you are trying to do, the essence of when you do it is often one of the most critical elements of a successful strategy.

In the stock market world I would refer to the saying “buy low, sell high” and remind you that there are critical points in time that your plan, equipment, and team must be ready to take action in order to “ride the wave.”

To help visualize this statement I’m going to use information from Google to examine how different events played out over the course of each year through 2007 to 2011. This data is going to give me some insight to where I’m going to plan my own interaction using online market intelligence.

Why is this important?

  • There are a lot of waves. You have to choose the right one.
  • You don’t know where each wave is heading. You need direction.
  • Some waves are too big. You’ll be lucky to survive them.
  • Some waves are too small. They won’t get you anywhere.
  • Some waves keep happening. Become an expert at repetitive actions.

 Insight via Online Market Intelligence

Instead of looking at one market niche by itself I am going to walk through several distinct industry segments. The key to researching market segments for future business strategy in highly interconnected with secondary industry and specific industry process points.

By learning to examine a niche and connect it to other secondary factors, a business professional can discover action indicators.

What is an action indicator?

An action indicator is a point in time
that indicates another action has a high correlation of happening.

Common Action Indicators

  • Buying an engagement ring = marriage proposal
  • Buying a new digital camera = upcoming special event
  • Getting a new job = buying a new car  within 3 to 6 months
  • Relocating to a new community = getting a new doctor

Online Market Intelligence Examples

A key to finding action indicators is examing multiple examples and understanding what trends are occuring.

I’ve included four market timelines below to help think about types of action indicators may exist.

Tax Software

 If I was a software company dealing with taxes I’d be a little worried right now. From 2007 to 2011 the numbers show that ‘tax software’ is in a decline.

We can either assume people are buying less tax software or that the market has become saturated and people no longer search for new tax software.

In either case tax software companies need to plan accordingly. Financial and accounting firms also need to look into strategies for reaching an entrenched base of software users.

  • Action Indicators: end of year, software promotion, W-2 mailings, holiday breaks, etc


The NFL is actually doing pretty good moving buzz online. In 2011 the NFL had it’s most popular year online.

It is interesting to note in the NFL how a few date changes in game schedules is so accurately reflected in online traffic. On a year by year basis we could drill down into some of the additional valleys and peaks to see the reasons that some events triggered online abnormalities (competitions, hiring/firings, news scandals, etc.)

  • Action Indicators: roster selections, ticket sales, play-offs, season tickets, holiday games, etc


Racing around the track was going downhill in 2008, 2009, and 2010… but 2011 came back with a vengeance and stoked up some new fans.

In 2007 and 2011 we can see a few peaks in the August and September timeframe that aren’t seen in the other three years. This is an unusual correlation that could be investigated to reveal whether or not these factors are unique to ‘good years’ or if they are direct results specific NASCAR outreach.

    • Action Indicators: team sponsorships, PR announcements, race days, track development, news coverage


American Idol

Having worked on a few pop-culture projects over the years, the stats for American Idol are very interesting.

The biggest area of concern is that American Idol does what many TV shows fall victim to: they hit the end of the season and they drop off the face of the earth. There are millions of dollars being wasted by ending the season and re-starting it each year. A more effective strategy would include a maintenance campaign that keeps the ball moving forward.  

  • Action Indicators: contestant entry, judge announcements, competitor selection, finalist selection, grand winner announcement.

Thanks for Stopping By

 Hopefully this helps you think about your marketplace and your data in a ‘big picture’ way to identify tactical areas of opportunity.

Let me know if you have any questions about gathering information with online market intelligence.