Keeping your company up with the times
No matter which industry you work in, it is essential to understand which direction it is heading. Forecasting trends is essential for anticipating future demands. Trends can be both slow growing or rapid and viral. Either way, it is strategic to understand the trending landscape of your field in order to best position yourself for future consumers and anticipate possible changes. Below are some of the easiest ways to research and stay on top of your industry’s trends.
Utilize mainstream online tools
There are several established online tools that can help you in your trend research. These tools compile information from established databases so you can focus less of your time researching and more of your time analyzing. Google Trends is a great tool that can be used for any industry. This easy-to-use program can measure Google search queries and offer real time analysis on what consumers are searching for.
For example, if your start up is an app that helps you choose your next car, you could use Google Trends to query keywords related to cars. You may find that there is a steady increase in searches of “hybrid models” or “matte finishes”. This can give you insights on the cars you may want to feature on your app since they are becoming more popular among internet users. Or you may also find there has been a recent spike in searches about the “Kiki car challenge”. You could use this information regarding the Kiki challenge to create an ad that really resonates with the online community.
Research online questions, forums, and communities
Online questions, forums, and communities are the grass roots discussions that need to be heard. Unlike online tools that can synthesize large quantities of information, online forums provide the specific details that can give you an advantage over your competitors. This is especially the case if your industry is niche. Depending on how large your industry is, Google Trends may or may not give you useful insights. If not enough searches are regularly made for your keyword, the analysis of those searches would be unreliable.
The weakness with this approach is the amount of reading and quality checking that is required. Instead of the neat statistics and models of online tools, online forums provide paragraphs upon paragraphs of insight. As a result, this approach requires a lot of reading. Further, the quality of online forum posts can vary and often be poor. It is difficult to understand whether a post is a one-off opinion or the general consensus of the masses. There are a lot of judgement calls to be made, and you must be comfortable and informed enough to make them.
Interview the industry’s established professionals
Trends can appear out of the blue, but often, trends are cyclical and mirror what has happened in the past. Therefore, a seasoned expert within a field would be able to predict trends with reasonable accuracy. These professionals also have much more access to information not readily available to the public, allowing them to make the most informed predictions. They’re being paid the big bucks for a reason, and sometimes if online tools or forums aren’t reliable resources, your best bet is to rely on an expert. Of course, there are risks associated with this method as well. You’re putting your faith within the opinion of one or a small group of individuals. It is preferred to use an expert’s opinion alongside another form of research.
All in all, understanding upcoming trends is extremely important and valuable for your organization. There are numerous resources available to you including online analytical tools, opinion forums, and established professionals. With these tools, you are sure to stay ahead of the game and deduce well informed strategies.