Newsfeeds and social media are signalling disruption in every corner of our lives in this decade. Learn how to avoid being reactive to every shift in customer behaviour, and how to anticipate what to do next.
1. Start with what you know.
Every person in your business has had a different experience of your customers than you have. Think how many of your colleagues have come from a company where things are done differently, and customers are treated differently.
Ask them to tell you about it.
Your staff represents an invaluable source of insight. They all buy products in consumer markets every day. They know which websites work the best, and they know what their markets are doing. Your colleagues are expert in one thing above all else – themselves – so ask them about their experiences. If there’s a subject we all like to talk about, it’s ourselves.
Take time to talk to your employees and you’ll be surprised at what you will learn about their view of your market: who is launching a new variant; who is leaving a competitor; who is having trouble with their supply chain; who is likely to merge with somebody else…
Do it regularly, and one-to-one. You don’t have to set up a meeting, but you should commit time to this every week. Doing it less often releases you from the obligation of learning what you need to know. Make it a priority in your schedule.
If you need help to moderate conversations like this, book a call here.
2. Innovations don’t appear from nowhere. You can already see them happening.
Insight nugget: the things that will disrupt you in five years’ time have started to emerge already – and you can see them, if you look.
There isn’t a company in existence who can suddenly produce a ground-breaking product. It doesn’t happen.
When the iPhone was launched in 2008, it didn’t immediately have the consumer-shifting effect we attribute to it. It took three years for the App Store to appear, and developers saw that as an opportunity.
Over time, Android apps appeared and now we have cross-platform apps for Android and Apple iOS. Suppliers like Adobe and Microsoft sell you software on cloud-based platforms so the apps are managed differently through subscription.
This is an example of how a market has evolved quite slowly, offering signals all along its development path. The same is true for your market. If you make components for petrol-engines, get ready for a change: EVs don’t need them. If you think you’re safe because your parts are used in boats, planes or tractors – think again.
So…be pro-active in how you review the macro influences that are forcing change in your market. A little bit of looking over your shoulder to remember how you got where you are is time well spent. Then go and talk to your colleagues – it’s surprising what they know too.
If you need help to formulate a plan or to gather this kind of insight, get in touch.
3. If you need help, get it.
Inviting an external service into your business has the potential to be disruptive and expensive. It can be…but it doesn’t have to be.
Enduring relationships with long-standing clients are great for both parties, because we learn each other’s needs. The beauty of this approach is that efficiency gets built into the process.
What we always do at room44 is to stay naïve about your market. A specialist in your market won’t offer you a different view. What we do is to see your business through a new lens and open up vistas of opportunity.
Get in touch and test us. If we can’t show you an opportunity that hasn’t occurred to you before, we’ll stay friends and walk away. If we can, at zero cost for the first conversation, there’s an opportunity to build a relationship.
As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.