Trends are everywhere and constantly changing. They’re incredibly valuable tools for your product marketers because they allow you to follow new opportunities, consistently change and improve your product, and maintain both your product and your brand as something fresh and exciting.
But with these trends always evolving, how can you keep on top of them and continue to build your strategy around them?
In this article, we’ll be covering topics such as:
- What market trends analysis is,
- Why it’s important,
- How to identify market trends, and
- How to build a business strategy around these trends.
What is market trend analysis?
Simply put, market trends analysis is the process of researching and assessing past and current shifts within the industry. This is in an attempt to spot patterns and notice any potential opportunities for future changes to your business strategy and growth for your organization.
Why market trends analysis is important
There are a plethora of different reasons why researching and keeping up to date with market trends is important.
Helps you to make unbiased decisions
Researching market trends gives you greater foresight on what the consumer wants, and helps you to make more informed decisions around your solution based on what is currently popular and in demand within the market.
Widens your innovation and creativity
Consistently keeping on top of trends makes improving your product more efficient, and offers a wider variety of directions to take it. Plus, you’ll be able to identify how marketing strategy is changing, giving you more ideas for how to market your product and stand out to your potential customer.
Staying ahead of the curve
If you’re in a market that’s fast-moving and constantly changing, you must be able to anticipate your competitors’ next move and try to stay ahead of the crowd. By keeping up to date with the latest trends, it’ll be a lot easier for you to predict things that’ll likely happen in the future based on emerging patterns.
Product and company growth
It’s never a good idea to remain stagnant in a constantly changing market environment. You want to be continually finding new ways to improve your product and move in more fun and exciting directions. This will help you to stand out to your customers. Growth within a company is one of the most important outcomes for continued success.
How to identify market trends
So we know market trends are important to ensure you’re keeping ahead of the competition, but how do you identify them?
Understand the difference between market trends
First, it’s important to understand the difference between market trends and what influences them. After all, you’ll need to be able to identify which trends are here to stay, ones that may build momentum over time that you can build off of, and which ones you should ignore.
After this step, it’s important to carry out market research to discover the different trends that are occurring within your industry…
Carry out online research
Social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram will give you a close look at what’s trending amongst your target audiences. From these interactions, you’ll be able to see what’s popular, how customers are reacting, how other brands are reaching their audiences, and so on. This type of research is going to help you make informed decisions based on what your customers want.
Also, conducting research on other online sites, like blogs, and forums will help you to receive similar information from your target audience and offer insights into different companies as well.
Do your competitive intelligence
Watching your competitors and observing how they’re moving within the market will help you see what patterns are occurring, and how you need to act to ensure you’re moving along with them.
Carrying out competitive intelligence is going to help you identify what trends they’re going with, and how they’re performing. This then gives you a better indication of what’s most popular, and how you should be implementing new changes into your strategy.
Talk to industry experts
Experts aren’t experts for nothing! Opening a dialogue with people who’ve established themselves as experienced and credible professionals within your industry will help you to identify certain ideas and knowledge that you perhaps hadn’t considered.
Go to in-person events
In-person events such as conferences and summits will allow you to talk to others within your sector to get a sense of how they work within their own companies, and perhaps pick up some tips and tricks on how to improve your own strategies.
Events such as these are bound to carry a lot of information around industry news and other important material that you can use to your advantage.
Check out our in-person and online events to see what’s coming up in your area.
Carry out customer interviews
Customers are incredibly valuable sources of information. After all, you’ll be able to speak with a wide variety of different people about what they’re looking for or what they perhaps are drawn to within the current market. This way, you’ll notice patterns and trends within these answers, and it will give you a solid understanding of what is going to drive them to purchase from you.
Keep up with trend reports
Reports such as these are crucial in helping you to have a wider understanding of your industry landscape, and help you to determine which direction you want to take your business.
At Competitive Intelligence Alliance, we have a variety of different annual reports that document the current state of certain parts of the product marketing industry. For example,
- The State of Competitive Enablement report,
- The Competitive Intelligence Trends report,
- The Sales Enablement Landscape, and many more.
Of course, not everyone has time to read through detailed reports. However, many (including ours) often have a section at the beginning or end which summarizes the most important insights and data that has been collected from the community.
It’s a great way to keep track of specific information and intelligence that you may need to help grow your solution and your organization.
How to build a business strategy around these trends
A strategy is built and developed from researching, gathering, and identifying pieces of information and data that will then help you to decide the best route to achieve your objectives.
So, the steps to building a business strategy around market trends aren’t going to stray too far from how you would develop any other strategy. But let’s lay it all out anyway, so that you have a clear idea of what you’ll be working towards.
Research your industry and the state it’s currently in
Identify which trends are currently popular within your industry, what products are already on the market, how popular these are, and how your product can fill a gap they’ve left. Without this information, you’re not going to know how to effectively market your product so that it stands out from the crowd.
Determine your purpose/product positioning
The next step is to define what makes your product different from those currently in the market so that you can focus on your messaging, and effectively explain your product’s value to potential customers.
This is a crucial step because it helps you to understand where your product sits within the market, how it’s working with current popular trends, and how you can use your strategy to effectively market it to your audience in relation to these things.
Remember that you’re always searching for ways to fill a need for your customers that isn’t already being met.
Identify your target customer
Finding your target audience is going to help you understand more about how your product or service is going to meet their needs, what trends they’re currently focused on, how they react to certain types of marketing strategies; how they like to be communicated with, and so on.
Understanding these elements and how to cater to your customer’s specific needs is crucial to bringing in engagement, a positive brand reputation, a wide customer base, and increased overall sales.
Understand your competition
This perhaps fits in with the first step of understanding your industry, but carrying out competitive intelligence is imperative to a company’s success.
Understanding your competition, how they’re currently marketing their products, what features they have, and what trends they’re working within, are all going to boost your knowledge on what works and what doesn’t with your target market. From there you can better rake in more customers and sales, and effectively win your market.
Implement changes and analyze the data
After you’ve discovered what you need to change/improve/refine with your business strategy, you then need to implement these changes. Don’t forget to set objectives for what you’re trying to achieve with these changes, and continue to use metrics to measure the outcome so you can see whether the change has been a success or not.
Communicate your data/intelligence
When communicating your findings to your teams, think about the following:
- Define your stakeholders.
- Identify the most important aspects of the intelligence you’ve gathered.
- Decide how you’ll use the information/data you’ve gathered moving forward.
- Outline what you’ve learned from your findings.
Working with your stakeholders on the outcome of this process will help make the adoption of the strategy go a lot smoother. Giving everyone in your team the knowledge of its success, and how to implement it into their own strategy will enable your organization to collectively work towards overall success, reach your objectives of more sales, and ultimately increase revenue.
If you’d like to have a closer look at how to build specific product marketing strategies, here are some articles to help you:
Want to learn more?
Market research is an invaluable part of not just product marketing and competitive intelligence, but the overall organizational function. It helps us to understand what prompts the customer to purchase products within the market and, ultimately, identify how we can position our products in such a way that they stand out from the crowd.
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