Understanding the market has always been important, but it is indispensable today. Market research was very different ten years ago. Today, real-time consumer intelligence is a must. Let’s explore why that is.
Years ago, it was enough to gain insight into the market once in a while because the insights gained would be valid for some time. We didn’t see such drastic shifts in perception, as people were not exposed to as much of the world, nor with such immediacy. So, it made sense that surveys and focus groups were the way to go when capturing those insights.
However, in today’s world, changes in consumers’ beliefs and preferences happen rapidly, further affected by COVID-related changes. And by the time the survey is conducted or your focus group wraps up and the analysis is completed, the market has already shifted – and along with it, your consumers’ perspectives.
And then we also see a shift in consumers’ buying habits. Ten years ago, a customer might have checked one or two brands before making a purchase. Now, it takes them only a few minutes to compare 30 different brands, read their reviews, absorb their social media messaging, and learn how they stack up against the competition.
Consumers today go into shopping with deep market understanding. Brands that aren’t matching this with their own consumer and market understanding face unnecessary peril! Particularly as consumers buy with their hearts more often than not these days, with 71% of consumers preferring to purchase from brands aligned with their values. So, staying ahead of whatever shiny object has captured their attention is crucial.
Staying Ahead of Consumers & Competitors
For brands to succeed, they need to be at least a few steps ahead of these savvy consumers. Gaining insight into the market once in a while is not enough. Companies need a way to continuously keep their finger on the pulse of the market. They need a readily available source for an unbiased 360-degree view of all data sources from all the systems and networks – and a way to separate the signal from the noise.
Unfortunately, even those organizations that recognize the importance of market understanding struggle to build it. That’s partially due to disjointed workflows and the abundance of data that is spread throughout an overwhelming number of siloed systems.
Another problem is that some stakeholders in organizations don’t always have a clear idea what they need market understanding for beyond solving a specific issue. They view it as helpful when answering why there is unexpected customer churn or sorting out a specific question such as “what’s up with everyone buying masks and toilet paper suddenly?” – but they haven’t yet recognized its proactive and predictive capabilities.
In fact, continuous market understanding, when used proactively, is what’s separating market leaders from those lagging behind. For example, Target has a “style” Instagram where consumers share loves and desires, and you can be sure they capture that data to inform messaging and new product offerings. Genuis:
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Consumer understanding can also help you prevent minor issues from spinning into major crises, identify trends before they truly emerge, keep a pulse on the health of your competitors, and efficiently guide your organization’s decision-making process.
Market Understanding for Monitoring Brand Health
When it comes to your own company, a thorough brand analysis reveals a lot. It will let you know:
- What people think about your brand
- Which areas of the world do your consumers live/shop
- Other demographic and psychographic intel around interests and professions of your audiences
- Which of those discovered above are satisfied or dissatisfied with your products and services, and why.
And it also helps you improve customer service, as you can design scripts that address specific, known concerns. It’s personalization at scale! This is incredibly important to brand health as an astounding 96% of customers will leave you for bad customer service, and 72% of them will do so after just one bad experience.
Besides consistently monitoring brand health, market understanding involves performing a regular in-depth industry analysis as it applies to your competitors. Keeping a pulse on the finger of the competition enables you to identify their strengths and weaknesses and will inform and inspire your next product innovation or campaign strategy.
Studies show that brands that consistently update their competitive intelligence and share it on a daily or weekly basis are 2X more likely to see that understanding impact their revenue. And it just make sense, as it puts one in the habit of capturing this important intel consistently. We know that regularly performing consumer analysis using a powerful and reliable consumer analytics platform will enable you to uncover emerging trends before they become apparent to everyone. And there’s lots to be said for leading a trend – and for being late to one!
How to Build Better Market Understanding Today
When building initial market understanding, first organizations need to have clearly defined goals. It’s ok to start small and build bigger. Your analytics platform should allow for both ad hoc analyses (e.g. to solve a specific issue) and deep-dive proactive and strategic endeavors.
While this ad hoc approach is a fantastic way to start gaining insight into the market, it is reactive rather than proactive and therefore misses vast opportunities that come with complete market understanding.
And once everyone in your organization is on board and you’ve set up the system to continuously monitor brand perception and competitive intelligence, and have developed a good understanding of the metrics, you can start using your market understanding strategically to drive product innovation and plan the entire marketing strategy as opposed to checking in on the effectiveness of a single campaign.
Reach out for a demo and we’re happy to help you develop a strategy for continuously monitoring your market, making you the hub of actionable intel in your organization!