1) Do Market Research. Sounds silly right. Well, not doing market research is like winking at a girl in the dark. However, not doing enough research is also problematic in today’s changing markets. Especially if you’ve got competition that is changing the landscape every day – like most organizations. Thriving organizations today are doing research everywhere. With customers, on traditional media, on social media, with employees, with top customers and non-customers alike.
2) Optimize for your specific markets. People think they are doing SEO but they are not tracking changes. Meaning, they know they are doing things and they don’t know what is making an impact. The CEO hires the SEO dude and the CEO has no clue. Sometimes it is not better to do something as opposed to nothing. If you are high rent and you are not off shoring some of this work then you are not paying attention to the rest of the world. Contact us if you would like to learn more.
3) Pricing. It is often said that pricing is one of the most difficult parts of your marketing mix. True. However, it is much easier to use test markets or test websites and understand the elasticities of demand and the price you can gain in the market. Just because everybody is slashing prices doesn’t mean you should do it too. People will still pay for quality and value if you do the research and offer what the CUSTOMER VALUES.
4) Innovation. Many of the most dominant players in the world today are not the innovators. Car makers producing hybrids often did not develop the innovative technology. This ties in with the previous value proposition of delivering the best customer value. If you are good in a market channel why not sell other’s products too without the cost of developing products. HP sold iPods. US automakers are selling Japanese hybrid systems. Offer “best in class” innovation that builds your brand. In sporting goods this is well known. You may have loyal customers and these customers become more loyal when you offer best in class technology and “ingredient brands” that match your customer segments.
5) You’ve got to know your segments. By recognizing your customers differences, and delivering to your different customer’s needs, you can raise your overall brand and revenue with your customer base. Let’s use the fitness analogy. You sell treadmills. Treadmills can meet different needs. People looking to improve their heart health, people who are looking to lose weight, and people who are looking to improve strength or stamina. These same people may be reading different things and you may need to reach them with different information channels and messages to maximize sales. Can’t do it without research, especially in a competitive market like treadmills because the customers are changing it up too. You’ve got to analyze your products against PERCEIVED competition.
6) Recognize your customers are going to your competitors. This is one of the biggest blind spots in business. Our egos make us think our customers do not use others. If you think you don’t have customers who are buying from competitors you are probably kidding yourself. Please re-read that. Even NASA has competition to launch space craft, do you really think that you have no competition anywhere in the world?
7) Collaboration. By collaborating with distant competitors or others that you work with you can stretch your dollar. Take a moment to write down some ideas about who might help you to stretch your market research dollar because they would want the information too. If you are a restaurant can the restaurant association pool together and study the topic? Is there a competitor hundreds of miles away from you who might like to go in on a study with you? Are you able to cooperate with a government agency and get help paying for research? In doing this type of digging you will no doubt get smarter about the inquiry you do in the future even if you do not find someone to collaborate with immediately.