Market Intelligence & Marketing Glossary


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This glossary for terms related to marketing and market intelligence wants to address most common terms that are explained here to better understand the market intelligence function. Please feel free to add on to this list by using our journal.



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Ad Hoc Query: Any query that cannot be determined prior to the moment the query is issued. A query that consists of dynamically constructed SQL, which is usually constructed by desktop- resident query tools.

Ad Hoc Research: marketing research, which is designed to meet a particular issue usually on behalf of one client or company.

Added Value: enhanced product differentiation, and thereby higher margins, that cannot be achieved on the basic product alone.

Aggregations: Information stored in a data warehouse in a summarized form. Instead of recording the date and time each time a certain product is sold, the data warehouse could store the quantity of the product sold each hour, each day, or each week.

Aggregations are used for two primary reasons:

-  To save storage space. Data warehouses can get large. The use of aggregations greatly reduces the space needed to store data.
- To improve the performance of business intelligence tools. When queries run faster they take up less processing time and the users get their information back more quickly.

Some data warehouses store both the detailed information and aggregated information. This takes even more space, but gives users the possibility of looking at all the details while still having good query performance when looking at summaries.



Some systems use aggregations for historical data. Perhaps detailed data is kept on-line for a year. After that the detailed data is kept in a less accessible, permanent storage format, and only the aggregated, summary data is kept on-line.

Aggregations are often created as the sum of the individual records. You can also have aggregations for count, distinct count, maximum value, and minimum value.

Alert: A message that is sent automatically by a computer system when a certain situation occurs.

One of the greatest benefits of data warehousing is the ability to set alerts.

A store manager can be automatically informed when a certain product’s sales fall below or rise above a specified range.
A factory manager can be automatically informed when the failure rate of a product exceeds a specified level.

A sales manager can be automatically informed when a member of his staff achieves a personal high level of sales for a time period.

Alerts allow a company to receive critical business information in the quickest possible time.

Analysis: the summarizing of data in a way that is intended to make them more readily comprehensible.

Analyst: Someone who creates views for analytic interpretation of data, performs calculations and distributes the resulting information in the form of reports.

Analytic Applications: Packaged software that meets three distinct conditions: process support, separation of function and time-oriented, integrated data Analytic applications expand the reach of business intelligence to an extended user base, packaging these technologies in a business context.

Analytics: The process and techniques for the exploration and analysis of business data to discover and identify new and meaningful information and trends that allow for analysis to take place.

Applied Research: any research which is used to answer a specific question, determine why something failed or succeeded, solve a specific, pragmatic problem, or to gain a better understanding.

Audit: broad numeric information base, containing historic data and produced on a regular basis.

Awareness: a measure of respondents’ knowledge of an object or an idea. There are two main measures of awareness: spontaneous (or unaided) and prompted (or aided) awareness.

Benchmarking: assessing performance, usually of a company, but also of a roduct against acknowledged leaders in different fields of activity (e.g. production / marketing / finance etc.).

Balanced Scorecard: A comprehensive, top-down view of organizational performance with a strong focus on vision and strategy. In 1992 the founding fathers of the Balanced Scorecard, Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton, debuted their methodology in the Harvard Business Review. Then, in 1996, they released The Balanced Scorecard  Translating Strategy into Action, the so-called bible of the Balanced Scorecard.

Business Intelligence (BI): Business intelligence is actually an environment in which business users receive data that is reliable, consistent, understandable, easily manipulated and timely. With this data, business users are able to conduct analyses that yield overall understanding of where the business has been, where it is now and where it will be in the near future. Business intelligence serves two main purposes. It monitors the financial and operational health of the organization (reports, alerts, alarms, analysis tools, key performance indicators and dashboards). It also regulates the operation of the organization providing two- way integration with operational systems and information feedback analysis.

Business Intelligence Tools: Software that enables business users to see and use large amounts of complex data.

The following three types of tools are referred to as Business Intelligence Tools:

1. Multidimensional Analysis Software - Also Known As OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) - Software that gives the user the opportunity to look at the data from a variety of different dimensions.

2. Query Tools - Software that allows the user to ask questions about patterns or details in the data.

3. Data Mining Tools - Software that automatically searches for significant patterns or correlations in the data.


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Also see the most comprehensive business intelligence glossary by Vernon Prior. Market & competitive intelligence thesaurus and glossary. Terms and terminology used in business intelligence.