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Media monitoring tools have become incredibly popular over the past five years, and having become widely available and relatively affordable for businesses, more people than ever have an ear to the internet.

The analytical process is traditionally to look at what’s happened to tailor what you are doing.

But doing analysis into what competitors and markets might do in the future is just as essential. This creates valuable insight into the state of markets and competition and ensure that all opportunities to grow market share are being seized.

So why is the primary focus usually on the ‘what has’ instead of the ‘what might’?


Value from the past: strong signals 

Strong Signals

The strong signals are the ones that are easy to see. For example, marketing analytics tools are usually very quick to show you the largest or greatest results from a search; the most searched terms have the largest representation in a tag cloud.

This is because these signals are traditionally the ones marketers would pay most attention to. If you noticed a certain demographic showing interest in your product, then it pays to act: create specific content, tailor advertising. Views, clicks, demographic, location, comments, shares – all this information will provide benefit in some way.

A great deal of insight can be created from this historical information – that’s why marketing analytics has exploded over the last few years – but it shouldn’t be the sole focus when analysing markets.


Value from the future: weak signals

Weak Signals

What businesses often don’t pay enough attention to are the weak signals – the less obvious changes in the marketplace: information that isn’t a top trend; the less viewed news articles. These could be tactful price changes in a competitor’s product or a recent hire/fire in their executive board.

Often these will fall below the radar and disregarded but tracking and monitoring these weak signals can give businesses the opportunity to change strategy before it’s too late.

Everybody can see the strong signals, but it takes work and research to detect and benefit from the weak signals – that’s why investing in their discovery can give you the edge.


Take action

With the rise of automated software collections and analytics tools, it never been easier to begin an intelligence project. Many companies have a media monitoring software of some kind, but the project is primarily focused on what’s happened opposed to studying what might happen.

The truly innovative strategies will be attentive to both – not one or the other – so start anticipating, not just reacting.