WRG Author: blogadmin

Author: blogadmin

Market Intelligence at Market Speed

We need to “comprehend, shape, adapt to, and in turn be shaped by an unfolding, evolving reality that is uncertain, ever-changing and unpredictable.”
John Boyd, creator of the “OODA Loop.”

Have you ever had the experience of seeing a market research report and saying, WOW! that is interesting – I only wish I had known that six months ago when we made that decision to develop our product line.

In this time of revolutionary changes in market after market, business intelligence needs to change. They need to speed up. Adaptive business intelligence systems need to be built and need to be turned on constantly. It is not good enough to take the pulse of your customers every year or even every six months. Doing it now and doing it constantly is the only way to stay ahead of competitors.

If you wonder how to do this, there are ways and new approaches and new tools that can inform your decision teams constantly of recent market movements and competitive changes. We can suggest a few. Adopting this new type of intelligence system will separate out those who can adapt to change from those who are mired in old paradigms, where research is more of a self assuring prop than a dynamic part of the process.

If you think of market research as stuffy, eye glazing, hard to use and even harder to understand, put-it-on-the-shelf kind of stuff, you are surely not using it. And if you are not using it, you are not able to bring relevant and current market data into your everyday product marketing decisions.

For more on speedier data-driven decisions see our blogs on:
1. The Market Intelligence OODA Loop: A Dynamic Business Model
2. DDD vs. HIPPOs


The Market Intelligence OODA Loop: A Dynamic Business Model

Our whole approach — market research at market speed — centers on putting our clients in front of the data they need for everyday decisions and actions. Speeding up the cycle of information means executing at a faster pace than competitors and paying even more attention to proven research processes. The data must be accurate in the first place.

This idea is summed up in a concept known as the OODA Loop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_Loop), a concept developed for winning wars on the battlefield. It was a factor in winning the first Gulf War in the Middle East. It has also been used in business management courses to influence strategy in winning the skirmishes in market places. Such a model has to be used with caution, but the main ideas are simple and relevant.

The OODA Loop is shorthand for a series of short steps that many businesses and competitive teams do naturally, but don’t have a name for it.

Observation (Means observing unfolding events, gathering research and intelligence, which includes actively collecting intelligence about the battlefield/market where the action is taking place, the so called frontlines, or in business, the place where the customer decides on which product or service to buy, the moment of customer action.)

Orientation (Means sythesizing and analyzing and empathizing with the overall traditions, backgrounds, settings, previous experiences, successes, rejections, and observations into a whole picture of the environment in which the action is taking place.)

Decision (Means arriving at plan of action based on all known intelligence, observation and orientation.)

Action (Means executing the plan of action and feeding back positive and negative results into O-O steps above)

Those who execute the OODA Loop faster and more efficiently than their competitors are more responsive to current market needs and market forces, and will win the battle for the hearts and minds of their audiences.

Without the OODA Loop…

“we will find it impossible to comprehend, shape, adapt to, and in turn be shaped by an unfolding, evolving reality that is uncertain, everchanging and unpredictable.”
John Boyd, author of the OODA Loop.

Pilots in air combat present an extreme case in point of being trained in executing the OODA Loop faster than their counterparts. Here the main importance of the Observation Step of the loop comes into sharp focus: the data fed to the pilot must be accurate, must be easy to assemble and make sense of, and must be current.

Colonel John Boyd, who developed the concept of the OODA Loop, placed the highest importance in the loop on Step 2, Orientation, a place of synthesis and analysis of the total environment. It is what provides the difference between what informs your decisions and what informs that of your competitor.

Not unlike the pilot, the product marketing manager or entrepreneur must have a similar systematic way to arrive at valid market decisions that will outperform her market counterparts. Although the product marketing manager is not in a life threatening position like a pilot, her product line is. Her product line will continue to perform well or will wither away based on the manager’s ability to use and execute in a timely manner her market intelligence loop.

Bottom Line: The OODA Loop is a simple easy-to-remember model of a common sense idea. Accurate, up-to-the-minute, easy-to-access market intelligence should be in the arsenal of all business managers if they are to make customer-sensitive decisions that will ensure the survival and success of their product lines and services. As any combat pilot will tell you, flying by the seat of your pants is not an option.


1. Wikipedia background on the OODA Loop by John Boyd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_Loop)
2. http://www.chetrichards.com/modern_business_strategy/boyd/essence/eowl_frameset.htm
Without the OODA Loop “we will find it impossible to comprehend, shape, adapt to, and in turn be shaped by an unfolding, evolving reality that is uncertain, everchanging and unpredictable.” John Boyd, author of the OODA Loop.



Is your company’s direction based on DDD or HIPPOs? You are likely losing ground if it is not DDD-based.

Translation: MIT’s Sloan School has researched and reported that “data driven decision-making” (DDD) is more effective than “highest paid persons opinions” (HIPPOs). Finally, we have some objective evidence that DDD works, it increases profits, sales, and provides better guidance to investments in new product lines and markets than do HIPPOs, not that we didn’t already know this from much of Deming’s pioneering work years ago and from what market researchers basically do.

Of course, as researchers, we have been saying this for years. Our ExecStats tool makes DDD not only possible, but it makes DDD slick and easy and interactive for executives running the show. Putting current audience data into your front-line thinking on a regular or daily basis DOES indeed make a difference to your bottom line.

It does not mean that you can simply let the data decide — intuition and gut are still factors, but for the most favorable impact, intuition is a factor AFTER you have the data in front of you.

And finally consider the cost of DDD vs HIPPO. DDD is far less expensive. It seems to be a no brainer, yet companies still run with the HIPPOs.

For more depth on this research on DDD’s see the following report, “Data Two, Gut One” in E-Week: