Successful businesses are those that have mastered the art of getting the right message in front of the right customers at the right time. Their marketers know their audience and the market demographics as intimately as the back of their own hands.
But markets are like the deep blue—they are not static. Markets can change at any given moment, and they don’t need your permission to do so. If you are not aware of this fact and take your eye off the ball, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of being stuck playing catch up.
You can avoid this frustrating scenario altogether by looking out for these 3 key signs that indicate a market change may be taking place.
Product Innovation Is No Longer a Key Driver
When you first started out, maybe your business and marketing thrived on the fact that nobody offered what you offer or maybe not in quite the same way. You had huge success up to this point building your business entirely on innovation. However, things no longer seem the same, the market no longer responds to your product like it used to. Product innovation should always be a key value driver for your business.
Should you realize, that in order to stay afloat, you are beginning to rely more and more on competitive pricing, brand reputation, or your ability to “out market” the competition, that would be a sign that your market is changing and you need to adapt. Fast.
Pay Attention to What Your Competitors Are Doing
The competition is not always the worst enemy of your business. Sometimes, they can provide valuable insight, if you take the time to observe. Look at some of the leaders in your industry, especially larger competitors. What are they doing? Are they growing or are they cutting down in size? Are they adopting practices that nobody else is doing because they can observe something happening down the road which nobody else does? In this regard, your larger competitors can be your greatest source of insight, capable of helping your stay ahead of market trends that lie just around the corner.
Listen to the Customers
Marketing is actually a two-way conversation between you and your customers. Any changes in the market are actually changes in what your customers are saying and requiring of you. Your ability to listen and respond appropriately determines how well you adapt or not. Sometimes, getting the insight you need requires you cutting out the middle man and getting information from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
Talk directly to your audience and ask them what their future plans and visions for the industry are. Send out surveys and questionnaires and ask the questions that need to be asked in order to get the answers and insights you need to stay 5 to 10 ahead and keep living in the future. Treat this exercise with the respect it deserves; it could make the difference should the market suddenly change at the drop of the hat. After all, the people you serve are the very reason why your business exists.