Benchmark Research. Ongoing Information to:
– Detect Competitive Threats, Market Shifts and New Opportunities
– Continually Measure Your Progress
How do you get market feedback? How often do analyze trends? Been surprised by a competitive threat or market shift? What is your company’s reputation in the marketplace?
Benchmark Research Finds the Answers
Benchmark research identifies competition and current market trends and updates the trends over time. It shows where you stand in the race to win against competitors while understanding what customers really want. Benchmarking defines:
– Who’s ahead…
– Where you…
– Who you are ahead of…
– And, those lurking in the shadows.
Understanding where you sit with regard to the competition drives growth, marketing and operational goals. It also yields insights into what a company must do in order to successfully compete, and where to prioritize investments in the future.
Benchmark Research: The Usual Suspects.
Most benchmark research is focused on existing markets and competitive profiles. Done regularly over time, it gives you insight on:
– Your position in the market and how your competitors are regarded.
– How effective your brand messages are received and those of your competitors.
– Valuable market knowledge such as market growth, trends, customer needs, new technologies and more.
Uncovering the Blindsiders.
Benchmark research can identify new threats on the horizon that can significantly blindside your business efforts such as:
Industry or Government Changes that Affect You and Your Customers.
Research can uncover future changes in the marketplace.
What affects your customers, affects you. Are your customers expanding or contracting? Why? Are there technologies at play that can impact your market share or those of your customers? For example, if you are selling wiring and connectors, what is the effect of growing wireless networks?
Changes in government policies and laws in areas such international trade restrictions, taxes and tariffs, environmental edicts and more. For example, current trade restrictions between the United States and Russia have created havoc on domestic companies that used to sell to Russian governments and companies.
Hungry Startups that Will Change the Rules.
Companies often fail to see new threats on the horizon that may crush them in just a few years. That’s because they never saw these companies at all. They aren’t on the radar as competitors. And when they do come into view, these “newbies” are usually dismissed as irrelevant or fly-by-nights.
These companies pose a very real threat to almost any established business:
– They are hungry startups that you may not yet know of. These are companies that are working all night, while the rest of us are sleeping.
– They are adept at technology and can generate a state-of-the-art website and social media platform in just a few weeks, with little to no investment.
– Their employees don’t mind working 70 hours a week. And, they are so scrappy that they find ways to get things done in almost no time, and with little money.
– These new companies have their pulse on the millennial generation’s buying power, and they’re capitalizing on it while many established companies are just beginning to realize this important group has value.
Are They a Real Threat?
If you’re interested in gaining an understanding of how this new wave of disruptive innovation might affect your business, study the lists of top startups. If you Google “top startups,” you’ll find pages of companies. No matter what industry you’re in, you will see companies you’ve never heard of that are lying awake at night thinking about how they can steal your customers by using a business model you’ve likely never heard of. These companies are like fresh horses introduced in the last half of the race when all the other thoroughbreds are already tired.
A pattern you will see with these companies is:
– Many tend to sell a less sophisticated product at a lower price. They sell to a younger generation that the more mature companies have completely ignored. Almost always, they are using technology to shift how business is conducted.They’re using marketing automation to inexpensively acquire new customers and build a loyal community.
– They are in touch with customers and prospects regularly, and they are creating fresh new experiences online that provide improved purchase processes.
– They are steadily building loyalty with their own generation. Find one of these companies in your space and look at the number of Facebook fans they have, and how active they are on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Compare it to yours.
You can dismiss that key performance indicator as irrelevant in your industry, for your market and with what you sell. And most companies do because they can’t determine what the value of a Facebook fan is. But when you consider this in terms of awareness and affinity, it starts to matter.
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