Research trends impacting your business and the target market’s

Use both primary and secondary resources to uncover market trends impacting the business environment for your business and your target customer. Don’t be afraid to conduct a customer survey to test your findings. By understanding the various trends, you’ll gain insights into competitors and the key success factors affecting their business and yours. You’ll also improve your chances of anticipating changing customer perceptions, needs, and interests that enable your business to thrive.

Types of resources you can use

Primary resources:
Information collected directly from the source
Secondary resources:
Information obtained or collected via a third party
Examples:

  • Conduct an customer survey
  • Analyze foot traffic in retail location or online traffic for web based businesses
  • Read peoples’ faces for product/service preferences
  • Read online comments and reviews
Examples:

  • Competitor website
  • Collateral
  • News articles
  • Annual reports
  • Government publications on a region’s demographics
  • Trade magazines/newsletters covering market trends plus ‘movers’ and ‘shakers’ and analyst reports

Environmental factors to consider

Factors to consider range from being economic, technological, and industry related to social, political, religious and historical in nature.  By understanding these factors and their trends, you can gain insights into competitors and the key success factors affecting your business.  You’ll also gain a better chance of anticipating changing customer perceptions, needs, and interests that enable your business to thrive.

Economy

  • Employment factors
    • Skill level of the labor force
    • Unemployment rate
    • Salary range
  • Regulatory environment
    • Legal issues and trends
    • Financial lending/borrowing capabilities
    • Merger and acquisition growth rate
    • State, federal and local taxes
  • Local infrastructure
    • Higher education facilities for R&D or future trained workforce
    • Housing market
    • Hospitals/Medical support
    • Transportation support and investments
    • Crime
    • Technology and communications infrastructure
    • Natural resources and energy
    • Growth in household income

Why it matters...

Economic factors impact your ability to grow revenue. Employment factors, regulatory environment, and the local infrastructure impacts your ability to operate efficiently.

Role of Technology

  • E-commerce
  • Security
  • Cloud computing/SAAS
  • Storage
  • Social media
  • Broadband
  • Mobile technology
  • Green technology

Why it matters...

Technology drives efficiency for you and competitors. It may also dictate how customers find out about offerings.

Industry Specific or Competitor Trends

  • Industry size – revenue, number of products/services sold, and growth rate of each
  • Regulatory environment
  • Improvement in process, equipment, technology or communications
  • Scarcity of resources or other inputs required for production or delivery
  • Prevalent marketing strategies/trends
  • Management style/operations
  • Seasonal or cyclical production or sales trends
  • Predominant sales and information channels for product and service delivery

Why it matters...

Understanding competitors and key industry influencers will help you determine where to sell, when to sell, how to sell, and with whom you sell to maximize your return on investment (ROI).

Social, Political, Religious and Historical Trends

  • Liberal versus conservative outlooks, values and behaviors
    • Risk takers versus late adopters
    • Saver versus ‘big spender’ versus value driven
    • Personal liberty versus larger social good
    • Information seekers or not
    • Online technology savvy or not
    • Social networks – online or offline
    • Group versus individual relationship building
  • Action oriented versus passive agreement to circumstances
  • Key decision influencers – business leaders, politicians, religious leaders, sports team coaches, etc.
  • Environment friendly
  • Entertainment options, preferences and trends
  • Sports – teams and support
  • Prevalent religions and holidays

Why it matters...

Your customer's perspective drives their purchasing behavior. Look for a sense of urgency or reason to act. Their motivation might be based on a variety of factors...some you can control, others you can't.