How Finding Patterns in Market Trends Pays Off
Every industry evolves. Even companies selling a product that’s been around for ages will see the industry around them change in surprising ways. Society has been dependent on oil to power transportation, heat our homes and power our daily lives for decades. But even oil companies have had to embrace and adapt to the demand for clean energy sources. Most have begun to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other renewable energies.
For any business in the tech space, changes are even more frequent. Your competitors are launching product updates with increasing frequency, and new companies come onto the market at an overwhelming pace. New marketing channels and tactics gain popularity seemingly by the minute, and you only have so many resources to spend on tracking and adapting to it all.
Knowing everything happening in your industry at every moment would be great. But unless your industry is tiny, it’s not practical. What makes more sense is to stay on top of the big updates, then look for what patterns arise from all the rest.
How Finding Patterns in Market Trends Pays Off
To understand where you fit into the market at any given moment, you need to have a finger on the direction it’s going. And understanding where you fit is key to crafting the most effective messaging and campaigns.
You gain customer insights in real time.
The internet is great for producing a lot of information about what your customers and target audience is thinking, feeling, and talking about. But the sheer quantity of information makes it impractical to dig into all of it. Instead, if you scale back and look at patterns, you can gain a lot of useful insights without having to read a million different social posts or reviews. Patterns will reveal when there’s an uptick in use of a particular keyword, a question they’re asking, or a complaint they’re sharing. All of that can help you better match your marketing to what your audience cares about.
You benefit from competitors’ experiments and testing.
No competitor in their right mind is going to hand over their internal data on what strategies are working for them. But every business that tries out different tactics, channels, and approaches is going to invest more in the ones that work best. By looking at patterns in what your competitors are doing and investing the most in, you can make some educated guesses about which tactics and channels are paying off the most in your industry. If you notice a lot of competitors upping their investment in TikTok, it’s probably worth exploring if shifting some of your marketing budget there makes sense. If several competitors branch into a new product category and most of them flop, then you know not to bother with it.
Your sales team will know what they’re up against.
When a promising prospect meets with a member of your sales team, they’re almost always considering your product alongside other options. The salesperson doesn’t just have to pitch them on what’s so great about your product, they have to address how it compares and what makes it unique in the overall market. Understanding the larger market your product’s a part of is an important part of going into each sales meeting prepared, and knowing the main trends and patterns in the industry will help them achieve more persuasive arguments.
Your product team can build off of feature and product ideas introduced by competitors.
Spotting patterns in the new products and features your competitors are releasing—and especially which ones do well—can help inspire your product team. If multiple competing products start to provide a feature your audience clearly likes, then maybe you can find a way to offer something similar but better.
Social media companies are famous for doing this (probably too much). When Snapchat got popular, Instagram created Stories to compete. This isn’t about straight up copying ideas, so much as it’s about following the trends to understand what your audience likes and wants in order to better incorporate that into your own product.
You’ll see ways to differentiate.
Sometimes identifying patterns will point you toward trends you want to emulate. But sometimes it can help you find areas to stand out. If the market trend is to move all customer service online, maybe continuing to offer phone service as well is a way to appeal to the part of your audience that prefers a quick answer by phone over a prolonged back and forth over email.
4 Steps to Spotting Industry Patterns Faster
If you wait long enough, you can probably learn about your fair share of industry patterns from trends articles. But by the time someone’s writing those articles, your business will already be behind. To spot market trends faster—quick enough to act on them early—you need a smarter process.
1. Use technology.
No matter how big your team is, expecting them to pore through all the data out there manually is impractical. Even if your employees are awesome and figure out the most efficient process humanly possible, there’s still just too much data in a given industry for humans to sift through alone.
If you want to stay on top of the patterns in your industry in a timely way, technology is your friend. AI technology is uniquely suited to aiding in monitoring multiple channels, collecting loads of data, pulling out the information, and continually learning what’s most useful. Once the tech does its job, then people can step in and figure out how to use the knowledge it presents.
2. Figure out who and what to monitor.
The value of any technology product you invest in is dependent on how you use it. If you want a product to effectively monitor market patterns, you have to tell it what to look for. That means creating a list of who your competitors are and what channels, feeds, and keywords you want to track. A good competitive intelligence product will take it from there.
3. Set up alerts.
Your team is probably small and plenty busy already. While making a habit out of monitoring what your software finds on a regular basis is smart, you’ll also want to set up alerts for any type of information or updates you want to hear about faster.
4. Use data visualization.
In order to see patterns, you need a way to effectively see the insights within the data available to you. That requires having the information organized and presented in a way that makes it easier to wrap your head around what’s in front of you. Data visualizations can help with that, and good competitive intelligence software will provide the kind of visual organization you need to make sense of the information and find the patterns within it.
Put What You Learn to Use
Every industry pattern you spot presents opportunities for your business. That may be in the form of ideas for ways to improve your product, information you can use in your marketing strategy, or knowledge your sales team can put to use to craft more persuasive pitches. If you’re going to do the work to stay on top of industry trends (and you should), that work will only pay off if you follow it up with action.