Monthly Archives: May 2016

Happy Customer, Happy Life

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Just as every married man can attest to the fact that “a happy wife makes a happy life,” anyone interacting with customers will agree that a happy customer makes a happy life as well.

So, why would a sales team not use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system when it’s been shown to improve customer happiness? The truth is that very few opt out of a CRM system, since there are just too many good, sound reasons to incorporate the tool and in essence create a win-win situation for the sales team AND customer alike.

According to SMstudy, a CRM system is used to track the various stages in the sales process. It also assists in managing a company’s interactions with a customer, thus allowing a company to manage information about customers and customer touch-points in order to maximize customer loyalty.

Based on the information available in most CRM systems, a company is able to provide a high degree of personalized service to the customer in the form of customized products, services and promotions. Personalized services are also key to maintaining and building customer loyalty.

A typical CRM System has four processes:

  1. Knowledge Discovery– This is the process of analyzing customer information through contact with a company’s products or services. CRM systems enable the company to analyze the data and draw meaningful insights.
  2. Planning– In this process, the output from the knowledge discovery phase is used to develop strategies for personalized marketing and promotional activities.
  3. Customer Interaction– This is the process where the actual implementation of the various programs and strategies occurs. These programs and strategies target various customer touch-points and/or company channels.
  4. Analysis and Refinement– In this process, customer feedback and responses from the various programs implemented are analyzed as part of the ongoing communication and review process.

In his article, “The five biggest benefits of CRM systems,” Patricio Robles notes, “In today’s ultra-competitive markets, the companies that manage customer relationships the best are more likely to win than those that don’t.”

Robles goes on to list the top five reasons why a company should incorporate a CRM system. They include:

  1. Efficiency – not only does a CRM system clear up any inefficiencies related to manual customer management, but also “the ability of popular CRM platforms to integrate with other systems, such as marketing automation tools can enable companies to interact with customers in ways that they wouldn’t have the resources to do otherwise.”
  2. Collaboration – Complex customer lifecycles require the ability for many to work together. “The use of cloud-based CRM platforms allows employees in multiple departments to more effectively manage their customer relationships and to see the big picture at any time.”
  3. Data – Access to data, the ability to analyze data and present it clearly are all integral to understanding what’s happening with customers. “Popular CRM platforms typically offer a variety of homegrown and third party tools that enable companies to understand their CRM data and learn things about their customers that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”
  4. Increased accountability – Consider a CRM system as the safety net catching all who may have “fallen through the cracks.” “A well-implemented CRM system helps employees across departments understand their responsibilities to customers throughout the customer lifecycle and when those responsibilities aren’t met, it’s easy to identify what went wrong, where, who fell short and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
  5. Improved customer experience – As we said earlier, this is the ultimate benefit of all. “Customers are more easily and accurately segmented, their needs identified, and because the status of a company’s relationship with them is accurately tracked, companies can interact with them meaningfully at the right times, leading to more sales, faster sales and higher customer retention and satisfaction.”

Happy customers make a happy sales and marketing life.

To read more articles about sales and marketing, visit http://www.smstudy.com

Sources:

“The five biggest benefits of CRM systems,” Patricio Robles, April 10, 2015

https://econsultancy.com/blog/66287-the-five-biggest-benefits-of-crm-systems/

Say Hello to My Little Friend

 

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More and more our smartphones are becoming our most handy go-to resource, or as I like to call it, “my little friend.” Not quite as large, powerful and destructive as the machine gun Al Pacino whips out in the 1983 film Scarface, but ultimately way more helpful and much more deserving of the label “little friend.”

And smartphones ARE so very helpful. Besides allowing us to talk to anyone anywhere (assuming we’re not out of range), they help get us where we need to go, keep us connected to friends, family and all global. Anything we need, chances are there’s something that’s either on your smartphone or can be added to it to make our lives a little easier. In other words, there’s an app for that!

According to Digital Marketing, book three of the SMstudy™ Guide, “optimizing the mobile channel, which includes both the mobile websites and mobile apps, should never be neglected and specific focus should be paid to optimizing this channel to achieve maximum reach, enhance relationships with customers and to support a company’s reputation.”

Considering recent statistics from Google, the SMstudy™ Guide is correct to suggest that mobile should not be ignore or even placed on the back burner… especially if your business is retail. Google global search data from November 2014- October 2015 revealed that shopping-related searches have increased by 120% in the last year. Additionally, from a 2015 study based on 5,398 internet users we learn that 82% of shoppers consult their smartphones on purchases they’re about to make in a store…sometimes while in the checkout line.

Wow. That really can’t be ignored.

With this data in mind, mobile marketers are on an innovative kick and keen to connect with consumers during what is now being called micro-moments, or moments according to Google when “consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.”

One such identified micro-moment occurs while customers are actually in a physical store. In response to the mind-blowing fact noted above (82% of shoppers say they consult their smartphones purchases they’re about to make in a store), our “little friends” can now tell us a bit more information about a product we’re considering buying.  Sephora, the beauty product retailer actively encourages customers to scan products into the Sephora app, where they will receive additional product information and ratings.

Other retailers are beefing up their geographic “searchabilty” based on recent data showing that “Near Me” searches have grown substantially year-over-year and that 18 percent of local searches end in a purchase.

Responding to our ever-growing desire for mobile-centric “helpers” marketers are recognizing that the shopping experience begins way before a customer walks in the front door. Providing information during the micro-moments when consumers are seeking relevant, helpful and oftentimes local information, is key to keeping customers around.

Optimism regarding this new data is wonderful if it leads to new and creative ways to help consumers navigate the retail experience. But beware, at some point too many “pushes” from retailers ceases to be helpful and can potentially become a nuisance. But for now it’s all well and good as long as our “little friends” know how to stay helpful and not turn into little frenemies that end up blowing up in our faces. Remember poor Antonio Montana and his little friend?

To read more interesting articles, visit http://www.SMstudy.com

Sources:

SMstudy™ Guide, Book 3, Digital Marketing. Available at http://www.scrumstudy.com/overview-of-sbok.asp

“Five Ways Consumers Connect to Stores With Mobile Shopping,” Matt Lawson. February 2016. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/5-ways-consumers-connect-stores-mobile-shopping.html?utm_medium=email-d&utm_source=2016-03-think-letter&utm_campaign=20160328-think-letter-weekly-insight-OT-CP-EL&utm_content=Local-Retail-img&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRous6rJZKXonjHpfsX67e4pW6%2BylMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4JSspkI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFTrDBMaN2wrgLXhY%3D

“Consumers in the Micro-Moment” study, March 2015.

Going all the way with Content

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Sales and marketing go hand in hand. The marketing team creates the content, and the sales team follows up with the consumers of the content to create potential leads. Right?

But there might be an easier way.

Marketers are continually improving their skills, so, for the most part, they read and study a lot of content. A company’s sales team will notice when a person has delved into their company’s content and naturally, the sales team cold calls them. However, what if the marketer is simply doing some research or looking to better their own marketing capabilities and are NOT a potential consumer of the product, JUST the content?

This can be relatively annoying for both sales and marketing professionals. How does a sales team recognize who is an actual lead and who is just another professional?

Generate a profile for a targeted lead. “Know that not everyone who downloads your content will be your ideal customer. For those who leave their details you need some way of carefully segmenting this list based on a profile of your dream customer. Get your sales team to approach these people respectfully. Don’t bombard them with product or service offers – you have to earn the right to sell. Prove you have their best interests at heart. Build relationships. Court them with more valuable content until they are ready to buy,” says Sharon Tanton, marketing and business developer at Valuable Content.

Another option is to focus on creating valuable content. Tanton notes, “a company would be far better off producing a well-rounded product and then creating some fantastic content that tells the story of how their product works and what value the product brings to its users. If the product is great, I believe I would hear about it on my social networks. We all love to share good stuff. Great content spreads and takes root on the web, and I’ve found it at the right time – e.g. the time when I was looking for information about a specific product.”

In Tanton’s suggested process, sales teams could target leads that come to them due to their company’s successful content that has already stirred up the consumer’s interest rather than cold calling and hoping for a lead. It is a waste of time and it generally irritates consumers and can even cause a drop in sales.

By creating a Content and Distribution Plan for social media marketing a company can ensure that their content is relevant, timely and well written and that it reaches the target audience using the optimal means as determined by the social media marketing team.

Content creation should ideally start by defining a quantity goal and a publishing schedule with proper deadlines. Once the publishing schedule is finalized, attention should be paid to the quality of each piece of content being distributed.

As stated in a previous article by SMstudy, “In addition to good quality content, an effective social media effort must have a good distribution strategy. In other words, it needs to be shared. And that shouldn’t be a problem if the content is engaging. People naturally share information for many reasons; they could simply like the content or perhaps find it interesting. But whatever the reason, a company must ensure that their content provides their consumers with something that encourages shares or else it will be lost in the sea of content.”

Focusing efforts on creating valuable content will then bridge the gap for the sales team, eventually eliminating the need for cold calls. Sales and marketing goes hand but marketing by necessity goes first, so create content to produce the sales, rather than attempt sales from the produced content.

[Stephanie Vezilj, SMstudy staff writer, contributed to this article]

For more interesting articles visit http://www.SMstudy.com

Begin at the Beginning: A Well-founded Marketing Strategy

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A well-planned, comprehensive marketing strategy for a product or brand is essential to its success. The marketing strategy determines the specific resource allocation and activities involved with all other aspects of marketing. The effects of a well-positioned marketing strategy reverberate throughout the entire spectrum of marketing options and therefore should not be treated lightly or given short shrift.

The SMstudy® Guide notes, “marketing strategy defines a product or brand’s unique value proposition, target markets, and the specific strategies to be used to connect with defined audiences. It also specifies the pricing and distribution strategies for a product or brand and outlines the specific metrics, objectives and budgets for all its marketing activities.”

So, what are the basics of creating a comprehensive marketing strategy?

In essence, there are four main areas of research and analysis that should be addressed during the creation of any marketing strategy. They include:

  1. An analysis of market opportunity– this includes a look at both the internal capabilities of a company as well as external factors that may impact a business.
  2. Defining the competition, targeting and position– exploring the current competition, understanding industry trends and creating future competitive scenarios helps in selecting target market segments.
  3. Determining pricing and distribution strategies– assessing the value of the product based on its features, analyzing the features and price of competitive products and understanding the mindset of the consumer lays the groundwork for a successful distribution strategy, one that ensures that products and services are delivered and sold in the most efficient manner.
  4. Determining metrics, objectives, marketing aspects and budget allocation– this includes the selection of metrics such as customer reach, brand perception, product availability and sales and profitability as well as details setting targets and allocating budgets.

The chosen marketing strategy has far-reaching impact on all other aspects of marketing. In addition, other aspects of marketing work synergistically with the marketing strategy. Consider the following:

Digital Marketing

Marketing strategy elements such as product features, target segments, and distribution strategy are key determining factors for a robust digital marketing campaign. Product category and product features determine how suitable a product is to be marketed online. Some products or services are more conducive to online marketing than others. Given that digital marketing activities can be integral to a number of other elements of the marketing strategy, the impact of the marketing strategy may be far greater on digital marketing activities depending on the specific product-market combination.

Marketing Research

Marketing research provides valuable insights on the performance of a marketing strategy and is helpful when companies need to take steps to resolve issues. Many of the research activities carried out for one process in marketing strategy may also be used by other marketing aspects. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind all the processes of marketing strategy while designing a research project to ensure that additional relevant information is also collected if the incremental cost of collecting that information is acceptable.

Corporate Sales

Product features and target markets determine how suitable a product is to be sold through business-to-business channels, and how budget and resources are allocated accordingly for corporate sales efforts. Marketing strategy also provides the corporate sales team with market intelligence related to competitors and industry trends, which helps the company to position itself strategically for each business opportunity.

Branding and Advertising

Branding and advertising build awareness of a product with customers and then ideally transitions them to loyal customers. This evolution of trust is made possible by understanding customers’ needs and ensuring that the company’s marketing activities are oriented towards meeting those needs in the best way possible. Customer profiling is a part of the marketing strategy.

Retail Marketing

Target market segments and product features determine how suitable a product is to be sold through retail channels, thereby determining the budget and resources to be allocated to retail sales. Within retail sales, a company needs to further decide whether to sell directly to the end customer or to use intermediaries such as wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. With the global rise in e-commerce, this decision is generally a complex one and needs to be made in alignment with the marketing strategy where target segments and a distribution strategy have been clearly defined.

For more details on the processes of marketing strategy, visit http://www.smstudy.com

It is All About the Influence

 

Infodec-Communications-Social-Media-770x420_cA common misconception is that if you have many followers on a social media platform then you are followed by many. But that isn’t necessarily true.

You could have 20,000 followers, and yes, that looks impressive, but does that mean that 20,000 people are actually engaged in your content? This can be false advertising for a company’s consumers, but it is also misleading in regards to a company’s analytics. How can you really gauge your company’s engagement when likes are able to be purchased?

It isn’t about the amount of people that follow your brand’s page or view a piece of content marketing, so why do some many companies feel they must rake in the followers and likes? How do you fix this issue?

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, “Instead of talking about how many people see your content, we need to be focusing on how much value that piece of content actually brings your audience.” In social media channels, high-quality content is of the utmost importance. Companies worldwide invest large quantities of money to create quality content, but in many cases, that content is not distributed properly.

Audiences neither find it nor share it. A good Content Creation and Distribution Plan for social media marketing will ensure that a company’s content is relevant, timely and well written and that it reaches the target audience using the optimal means as determined by the social media marketing team.

One of the major debates regarding content creation is between content quality and quantity—how much content is enough and how good does it need to be?

Content creation should ideally start by defining a quantity goal and a publishing schedule with proper deadlines. Once the publishing schedule is finalized, focus should be on quality for each piece of content being distributed.

In addition to good quality content, an effective social media effort must have a good distribution strategy. In other words, it needs to be shared. And that shouldn’t be a problem if the content is engaging. People naturally share information for many reasons; they could simply like the content or perhaps find it interesting. But whatever the reason, a company must ensure that their content provides their consumers with something that encourages shares or else it will be lost in the sea of content.

Vaynerchuk states, “Bottom line: I don’t care how many people see something, “I care about how many people see something.” Quality over quantity. Depth over width. Reach does not equal value and follower count doesn’t mean people are listening.”

So, it’s time to stop fretting over followers and put that time and energy into creating content that will engage; one must remember that it all begins with Content Creation and Distribution Strategy.

To read more articles about sales and marketing, visit http://www.smstudy.com

Sources:

Gary Vaynerchuk, “Numbers Don’t Matter, Influence Does,” May 16, 2016. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/numbers-dont-matter-influence-does-gary-vaynerchuk?trk=hp-feed-article-title-channel-add

Out with the old, in with the new

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20 years ago people had to be convinced to use the Internet. How often did we hear the question, “What would I use it for anyway?” It’s comical to think that people needed to be convinced to use the Internet considering nowadays people can’t survive without it.

The first smartphone was released in 1992 by IBM. It was considered a smartphone because of its virtual assistant capabilities, but the smartphone of today is light years more advanced. The timeline is a little blurry, but many would say that the first actual smartphone was the Sidekick, released in the early 2000s. Smartphones in existence prior to the Sidekick were for corporate professionals, but the Sidekick advertised to a younger market. Teenagers no longer had to wait until they got home from school to sign on to AIM to speak to their friends, the capability was right in their pockets!

In the last 15 years the smartphone technology has increased rapidly. According to Monica Anderson at the Pew Research Center 68 percent of adults in the United States use a smartphone. 88 percent of 18-29 year olds own a smartphone while only 78 percent of the same age group own laptops or desktop computers. As the use of smartphones increases there is less of a need for a laptop or desktop computer. And why would you need one, when a smartphone is just a smaller computer?

Mobile technology has been advancing at a very fast pace. The average American uses a smartphone to view product reviews, make price comparisons, and find information about products while they are shopping in-store. With consumers increasingly using technology on the go, a company’s Digital Marketing Strategy must be designed to take full advantage of this consumer trend, especially in consideration of a recent study released by the Daily Mail stateing that smartphone users check their phone 85 times per day on average.

Google coined the term Micromoments for all the times smartphone owners use their device. This could be to a simple check of a notification that popped up from a news organization or using the phone to check reviews before purchasing a product. Companies must capitalize on these moments if they are looking for consumers. The trick is to ensure customers and potential customers have access and are able to land on a company’s mobile version of their website when they are using their mobile devices. So, businesses must ensure that they have a mobile-friendly website.

The following factors will ensure a company’s website has the right design for their consumers:

Usability and Design – Organizations with established large scale websites have recognized the growing need for compatible tablet and mobile-accessible content and have implemented updates to their websites to reduce and streamline content and website size in order to be more suitable for mobile-accessible devices. Nevertheless, this approach is sufficient only for sites that provide static, one-way dissemination of information. As more customers demand interaction via mobile devices and tablets, the usability of these updated sites could diminish.

Performance – The advent of these devices has also provided companies with an opportunity to gather more personal data from their users, and in turn, push relevant, context-driven content. Such mobile-optimized content must load quickly on mobile devices to ensure that the performance expectations of consumers are met.

The rapid rise in smartphones, tablets, and Internet-enabled wearable devices has led to a shift in web design approaches, with web development for these devices becoming a much higher priority than it has been in the past. The advancement of technology only brings more opportunities for businesses and consumers, so join in!

Sources:

Victoria Woolleston, “How Often do You Check your Phone?” October 26, 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3294994/How-check-phone-Average-user-picks-device-85-times-DAY-twice-realise.html

Brad McCarty, “The History of Smartphones,” http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2011/12/06/the-history-of-the-smartphone/#gref

Jason Duaine Hahn, “The History of the Sidekick: The Coolest Smartphone of All Time,” September 11, 2015. http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/09/history-of-the-sidekick

Monica Anderson, “Technology Device Ownership,” October 29, 2016. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/29/technology-device-ownership-2015/

 

Like, Love, Heart, Share, Retweet: The Power is Real

mobile-phoneIt’s my morning routine: I sit, smartphone in hand, twitter app open and dig into the chatter. Quickly scrolling through breaking news, taking in headlines and laughing at Michael Moore’s latest quip, I pause on a presidential candidate’s tweet; a candidate I support. As I read the tweet and agree with its message, nodding my head in a “you said it, brother!” manner, I’m also debating whether to heart or even possibly retweet. I can see that it’s been hearted and retweeted thousands of times already and a part of me truly wonders what is lost to my 45 followers (most of whom are trying to sell me something) if I don’t share?

Will they miss out on some vital information?

Will they be annoyed?

Will they disagree?

And then, I have the aha moment.

The truthiest truth is this: I should “heart,” “like,” “share” and “retweet” content I believe in. Not for my followers, since they’ll most likely receive the same information from various other sources, but because we now have the power and the platform to really say what we think, feel, believe. And that is real power. And who am I to turn away such a gift?

All this power is made even more potent because everyone is listening!

For example, marketers and companies want to test the waters with a brand or product, continually finding new ways to slice and dice the data to arrive at the best metrics for planning and executing marketing and sales adventures.

Or political parties taking the temperature of the society on the importance of an issue or testing the potential of a particular smear campaign (I’ve seen it, it’s ugly).

Or news media outlets continually gathering sentiment, feedback and sometimes actionable intel (in the case of citizen journalism) on stories, topics, issues and events.

These golden nuggets of information or social insights reveal so much about who we are and what we care about that no marketer, politician or gatekeeper can resist.

After my early morning aha moment, my eyes are opened to the dangers inherent in such a powerful tool and what could happen if the tables were turned on us lovers of online democracy. Citing various examples of self-censorship, an article on The Intercept addresses a recent study on the chilling effect created by widespread surveillance. And that, of course, includes social media channels where users know they are being read, monitored.

According to author Glenn Greenwald, “The fear that causes self-censorship is well beyond the realm of theory. Ample evidence demonstrates that it’s real— and rational. A study from PEN America writers found that 1 in 6 writers had curbed their content out of fear of surveillance and showed that writers are “not only overwhelmingly worried about government surveillance, but are engaging in self-censorship as a result.”

And this is no stand-alone, one-off study. Data abounds (and compounds) indicating that we, the watched, are watching what we say.

This makes me fret— a sweaty-palmed, hand-wringing sort of fret.

If we begin to see ourselves as oppressed by the experience of sharing on social media, we’ve collectively gone through the looking glass. We’ve embraced an alternate reality where we are not free to contribute to the construction of a society or the promotion of an idea (or even product). We’ve turned away from the greatest contribution and benefit Twitter and other social media platforms provide…the opportunity to engage in the global marketplace of ideas, to hear and be heard, to make a difference.

So, setting fear aside, I embrace the power of my opinions and retweet that tweet. To do my part, to provoke, to question, and in this instance, to add my one voice to the many.

Even if it means being the 3,478th person to retweet a tweet, it matters.

For more on sales and marketing, visit smstudy.com

Sources:

New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship, Glenn Greenwald, April 26, 2016https://theintercept.com/2016/04/28/new-study-shows-mass-surveillance-breeds-meekness-fear-and-self-censorship/

In a League of Their Own: The Snapchat Story

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When creating an online presence, one of a marketing team’s initial steps is to explore the various digital marketing channels available that will maximize the reach of their products or services. Given the nature of the online world, which is constantly evolving, new channels are developing with greater frequency, and audiences are continuously exploring new sources of online content. Knowing this, marketers must continually assess digital marketing channels for their effectiveness.

To identify the most effective marketing channels for an organization’s products or services, marketers spend a considerable amount of time identifying and understanding the dynamics of all available digital marketing channels and evaluating these channels relative to their company’s overall organizational goals and objectives.

When first moving into the digital marketing realm, it is common for a company to veer towards Facebook and Twitter, considering their global reach. And if so many companies before them have done the same, why not follow the crowd, right? Wrong!

Snapchat is the place to be. Seriously. And here’s why…

According to Adage, “Snapchat entered into a niche that’s so forward because it’s catered towards a generation even its creators didn’t understand. It’s not that the user interface is complicated, it’s that the user interface doesn’t even exist. It makes assumptions about its users preemptively and doesn’t care if it’s shutting out an entire generation.”

The niche generation Adage refers to is the Millennials. If Millennials are your target market, which by the way, they should be considering a recent piece by Entrepreneur stating that 89 percent of Millennials use social media, then exploring Snapchat should definitely be considered.

In the initial stages of researching digital marketing channels, a company’s marketing team identifies target customers in the digital space to understand their likes, dislikes, perceptions of the company’s brand, its major competitors, their digital needs related to the brand, and how the brand may fulfill these needs. All of this information, along with Documented updates of current trends in digital marketing, should be recorded for future reference. But, how does this data lead to a successful ad campaign directed at a target audience? Exploring the many social media platforms that can engage a target audience is a good start.

Snapchat offers brands the opportunity to create their own account allowing them to be followed by their customers, but the app has also paved the way for Snapchat influencers to have great sway over their followers. Influencers, in general, are people that have extremely large social media followings and are paid by companies to advertise their brand. The use of influencers has proven to be a smart move, since, as noted by Jay Baer, president of Convince & Covert “only 33 percent of people in America actually follow brands”

In the end it’s all about reach. The more people you can reach in your target audience the better, so it is important for a company’s digital marketing team to explore all options. Maybe even if that means stepping out of their comfort zone and focus on a new avenue for social media marketing. Based on the low level of online brand loyalty, companies like Snapchat have thought outside the box to offer innovative ways to reach target audiences without a company having to push to gain followers.

For more interesting articles visit SMstudy.com

Sources:

“To Big Brands, From a Millennial: Snapchat Filters Are Where It’s At,” Jillian Hausmann, March, 28 2016. http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/steps-brands-sponsor-snapchat-filters/303288/

“The Real Generation Gap: How Adults and Teens Use Social Media Differently,” Kathleen Davis, August 26, 2013. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228029

“11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America,” Jay Baer. http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-research/11-shocking-new-social-media-statistics-in-america/

How to Perform Market Trend Analysis?

 

A market trend analysis is an analysis of past and current market behavior and dominant patterns of the market and consumers. An important aspect of conducting a trend analysis for an organization is to obtain insights on the market scenario, consumer preferences, and the macroeconomic environment.

Marketing research methods, such as surveys, interviews, and observations of consumer behavior, help in understanding the trends and behavior in the market.

Trend analysis is a subset of the PESTEL Analysis—an examination of the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal implications of the market as they relate to consumer trends. This analysis provides an all-round perspective of the external factors that impact the business.

While determining future objectives for a product or service, trend analysis is used as a basis on which future market projections are made. Market trend analysis involves analyzing the following areas:

  • Trends in Consumer Needs and Behavior—A business that is able to identify a specific trend in changing consumer needs and behavior may be able to cater to these needs and project higher growth rates.
  • Shifts in Consumer Perception of Value—Trend analysis involves timely analysis of consumer needs and positioning of the product or service in the consumer’s mind. An aspect of a product or service, which would at one point in time have contributed to the consumer’s perception, may later lose value if the competition replicates it. For example, if Shop A in a particular town was the only department store providing free home delivery for customer orders, it may hold a better perception in the consumer’s mind due to this additional service. However, if competitors start providing the same service, the value perception for Shop A would likely decrease.
  • Trends in Industry Cost Drivers—Businesses need to be aware of changes in composition of the cost drivers and also innovations that lead to lower cost alternatives. Companies that are able to find better alternatives, which are more economical or offer additional features, can gain a competitive advantage and achieve higher objectives.
  • Change and Evolution of the Industry—Companies continuously analyze trends in terms of product innovations, competitor product features, and new operation and delivery methods. Such analysis helps the business stay ahead of the curve to understand changing market trends and project objectives accordingly.

Trend analysis is a very common strategic tool for understanding the market maturity (i.e., whether the market is in a growth or decline stage) to gauge future market potential and the overall position of a business in the market.

Since market trend analysis involves understanding past market behavior and expected future market innovations, a major effort in conducting trend analysis is dedicated toward collecting relevant data. The authenticity of this data determines the accuracy of the projections, which subsequently impacts the objectives set for a particular product or service.

To read more articles about sales and marketing, visit http://www.smstudy.com/articlesmarket-trend-analysis