Whether you are online or brick and mortar, you always want to have your finger on the pulse of the industry. What are the fastest selling products? Where is the money being made? What are the new technologies and trends? Those firms, blogs and small companies that stay fluid and keep the lastest growing trend in their industry at the forefront, will see continued growth as they grow with the industry. Those that stay stagnant and stuck in their old ways…falter and eventually die out.
So you are writing a blog or starting a small business and you want to know what is happening in your industry. Typically the first place every entrepreneur or casual researcher looks is market trending analysis to see what is hot and new! What is the retail market buying and where are they buying it?
I have worked in a lot of industries. One thing that seems to hold true (service, retail, manufacturing, online). Market trending research data is unreliable at best. The data is collected through a number of sources, but in the end…statistics are just that…statistics. In all of the industries that I have had a direct involvement with…we always base market trends on several major factors that can determine where the industry is headed from a growth perspective. You can not rely on typical data streams to tell you what you need to stay on top of…
So what do I follow?
The most important…follow the money. Money is the key driver for start up costs, advertising and overall investment into a product line. Manufacturers, especially now, are watching their bottom lines very closely and there is not one penny left unturned. Each dollar that is invested in new product, advertising or releasing new technologies is carefully planned to create the greatest amount of return. Even a small blog startup requires hosting, time and maybe even a new design. All of these costs are weighed against the potential overall return.
Startup costs for new product releases is one of the strongest indicators or market trending. The higher this dollar amount becomes, the less likely a manufacturer is willing to enter…simple barriers of entry analysis. In your industry, you need to find the specific niche that has the highest cost of entry into releasing new technologies, product or ideas. These firms are going to give you an unbelievable amount of insight into where the market for your industry is heading.
How does this relate to market trending? High cost of entry manufacturers, coders, retail chains, customer experience management, etc. are only going to invest in technologies and products that they are sure will create a large return on their initial investment. In today’s mountain market, companies can not afford to get it wrong the first time around, so the larger the cost of entry…the more hesitant the investors will be to sink money into the idea. Low cost of entry entrepreneurs (like bloggers) will be the first to jump on board. It literally costs almost nothing to throw up a blog these days and established already established bloggers can test the waters with ease.
Watching advertising dollars is another key aspect to watching the market trends, but you have to watch out for some gray area. Typically, manufacturer push their highest competing product in the fastest growing market, or one they need to sell higher quantities on to create a larger return. As you scan through websites, magazines or anything else related to your niche, what do you see advertised the most? Advertising can also be a tricky beast because you might also see huge ads for products a company wants to sell…but isn’t. Try to look at the overall picture and forecast future trends by watching the shifts in advertising.
Starting to make sense? Well now that it does…take it with a grain of salt. Market trending is never perfect and there is one aspect that will completely blow it out of the water…every time. Location/audience is the largest factor in determining what will sell in your area or what your readers will find interesting. Always test and retest the waters when trying to stay ahead of the curve. You are not going to sell as many winter jackets in Florida as you would in Canada? You are not going to connect with your 20 – 30 audience age bracket by talking about social security.
As you draft your next post, look for you newest product launch or try to figure out which products you should be carrying, take all of these factors into consideration…and most importantly…watch your bottom dollar.
Photo by rednuht