Trends are everywhere and constantly changing. They’re incredibly valuable tools for community managers and marketers because they allow you to follow new opportunities, consistently change and improve your processes, and maintain your brand as something fresh and exciting.

But with these trends always evolving, how can you keep on top of them and continue to build your strategy around them?

What is market trend analysis?

Simply put, market trends analysis is the process of researching and assessing past and current shifts within the industry. This is in an attempt to spot patterns and notice any potential opportunities for future changes to your business strategy and growth for your organization.

There are a plethora of different reasons why researching and keeping up to date with market trends is important.

Helps you to make unbiased decisions

Researching market trends gives you greater foresight on what the consumer wants, and helps you to make more informed decisions around your solution based on what is currently popular and in demand within the market.

Widens your innovation and creativity

Consistently keeping on top of trends makes improving your product more efficient, and offers a wider variety of directions to take it. Plus, you’ll be able to identify how marketing strategy is changing, giving you more ideas for how to market your product and stand out to your potential customer.

Staying ahead of the curve

If you’re in a market that’s fast-moving and constantly changing, you must be able to anticipate your competitors’ next move and try to stay ahead of the crowd. By keeping up to date with the latest trends, it’ll be a lot easier for you to predict things that’ll likely happen in the future based on emerging patterns.

Product and company growth

It’s never a good idea to remain stagnant in a constantly changing market environment. You want to be continually finding new ways to improve your product and move in more fun and exciting directions. Growth within a company is one of the most important outcomes for continued success.

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So we know market trends are important to ensure you’re keeping ahead of the competition, but how do you identify them?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between market trends and what influences them. After all, you’ll need to be able to identify which trends are here to stay, ones that may build momentum over time that you can build off of, and which ones you should ignore.

Macro trends: Macro trends are major shifts in consumer behaviorthat direct the competitive landscape and typically stay for longer than five to ten years. For example, in IT, cloud computing and the adoption of social media are considered macro trends.
Microtrends: Microtrends are one-off, short-lived trends in specific markets or sectors. Despite the name, a micro-trend does typically still stick around for a while - around one to five years. For example, certain apps could be considered microtrends if they get popular very quickly, but then drop off after a few years as another app becomes available.
Megatrends: These trends are huge, long-lasting, and take years to develop. They’re typically things that are very much here to stay and will affect the majority of people. For example, urbanization would be considered a megatrend.
Fads: Fads are extremely important to look out for because they gain popularity quickly, but lose momentum just as fast. Fashion trends tend to be fads, because of the ever-changing nature of the industry.

After this step, it’s important to carry out market research to discover the different trends that are occurring within your industry…

Carry out online research

Social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram will give you a close look at what’s trending amongst your target audiences. From these interactions, you’ll be able to see what’s popular, how people are reacting, how other brands are reaching their audiences, and so on. This type of research is going to help you make informed decisions based on what your customers want.

Also, conducting research on other online sites, like blogs, and forums will help you to receive similar information from your target audience and offer insights into different companies as well.

Do your competitive intelligence

Watching your competitors and observing how they’re moving within the market will help you see what patterns are occurring, and how you need to act to ensure you’re moving along with them.

Carrying out competitive intelligence is going to help you identify what trends they’re going with, and how they’re performing. This then gives you a better indication of what’s most popular, and how you should be implementing new changes into your strategy.

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Talk to industry experts

Experts aren’t experts for nothing! Opening a dialogue with people who’ve established themselves as experienced and credible professionals within your industry will help you to identify certain ideas and knowledge that you perhaps hadn’t considered.

Go to in-person events

In-person events such as conferences and summits will allow you to talk to others within your sector to get a sense of how they work within their own companies, and perhaps pick up some tips and tricks on how to improve your own strategies.

Events such as these are bound to carry a lot of information around industry news and other important material that you can use to your advantage.

Check out our in-person and online events to see what’s coming up in your area.

Carry out customer interviews

Customers are incredibly valuable sources of information. After all, you’ll be able to speak with a wide variety of different people about what they’re looking for or what they perhaps are drawn to within the current market. This way, you’ll notice patterns and trends within these answers, and it will give you a solid understanding of what is going to drive them to purchase from you.

A strategy is built and developed from researching, gathering, and identifying pieces of information and data that will then help you to decide the best route to achieve your objectives.

So, the steps to building a business strategy around market trends aren’t going to stray too far from how you would develop any other strategy. But let’s lay it all out anyway, so that you have a clear idea of what you’ll be working towards.

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Research your industry and the state it’s currently in

Identify which trends are currently popular within your industry, what products are already on the market, how popular these are, and how your product can fill a gap they’ve left. Without this information, you’re not going to know how to effectively market your product so that it stands out from the crowd.

Identify your target customer

Finding your target audience is going to help you understand more about how your product or service is going to meet their needs, what trends they’re currently focused on, how they react to certain types of marketing strategies; how they like to be communicated with, and so on.

Understanding these elements and how to cater to your customer’s specific needs is crucial to bringing in engagement, a positive brand reputation, a wide customer base, and increased overall sales.

Understand your competition

This perhaps fits in with the first step of understanding your industry, but carrying out competitive intelligence is imperative to a company’s success.

Understanding your competition, how they’re currently marketing their products, what features they have, and what trends they’re working within, are all going to boost your knowledge on what works and what doesn’t with your target market. From there you can better rake in more customers and sales, and effectively win your market.

Implement changes and analyze the data

After you’ve discovered what you need to change/improve/refine with your business strategy, you then need to implement these changes. Don’t forget to set objectives for what you’re trying to achieve with these changes, and continue to use metrics to measure the outcome so you can see whether the change has been a success or not.

Communicate your data/intelligence

When communicating your findings to your teams, think about the following:

  • Define your stakeholders.
  • Identify the most important aspects of the intelligence you’ve gathered.
  • Decide how you’ll use the information/data you’ve gathered moving forward.
  • Outline what you’ve learned from your findings.

Working with your stakeholders on the outcome of this process will help make the adoption of the strategy go a lot smoother.

Giving everyone in your team the knowledge of its success, and how to implement it into their own strategy will enable your organization to collectively work towards overall success, reach your objectives of more sales, and ultimately increase revenue.

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In it, you get expert advice, definitions, how-tos, and case studies. Use the playbook to improve the way your community-led and customer marketing teams collaborate for growth.