In the age of digital dominance, trends, prices, services, and even entire businesses repeatedly change, grow, or fall of the radar entirely. It can be stressful to stay ahead of what consumers want when it feels as though you just nailed the current trend.
I offer you a little secret about the 21st-century consumer that is both encouraging and frustrating… What they may want now, isn’t necessarily going to be what they want a few months down the road. Truly, every individual is following a similar pattern of purchasing, and while a business attempting to stay relevant could suffer from this, there are ways to ensure that you are ready for the next big thing before it comes.
Every consumer’s purchase is either one of demand or desire. As a business, your goal is to be sure that you are fulfilling purchaser demand, yet adding just enough flare that your product or service is the one they desire.
So how do you find what your specific audience is looking for?
Promote Customer Engagement
There need to be multiple avenues through which your client is able to access some form of communication with you or your business. This communication comes in many forms such as an email, office phone, message box, chat feature, etc. What is important to note, is that customer engagement leads to customer feedback. To be a successful, relevant company, you need to be constantly asking your purchasers if they are happy with the product or service they received, why, and what would make it better? The simplest answer to staying current with the latest consumer behaviors is really just to ask them. Furthermore, provide them with resources such as surveys or a paid focus group session in which you can gather dense information about how your business is perceived by your audience and uncover what you can do to further optimize that perception.
Do Your Research
While your consumer is your greatest asset, the second best resource for finding current trends in your industry is to really do your research. For example, for marketers, one of the first things they look at is your businesses’ digital landscapes. Mobile friendliness has never been more important than now as most consumers make purchases off of their mobile and digital devices. If your website looks great on a desktop but is hard to navigate on a mobile screen, your business is already losing money. Without doing the research to know that, you are missing out on the opportunity to further develop your brand as modern and credible.
Analyze the Competition
Thirdly, a great way to know what you should be doing is to look at what the competition is doing. While this wasn’t advised in grade school, in the business world, competitive analysis is considered strategic and wise. If you love the website or marketing of another business in your industry, take some pointers and morph them into your own style and voice. This is NOT cheating! You are allowed to learn from others and by doing some intel, you can easily compare your strengths and weaknesses. Especially do this if a competitor has the money to hire and maintain the data and the people that modernize their business, that way you get to watch what they are doing without having to pay the big bucks.
Get on Social Media
Finally, the last and more well-known tactic is social media. What is great about the 21st-Century consumer, is that they may be indecisive, but they are not shy. You can pretty easily know what they want and when they want it if you check the news, talk shows, publications, Twitter, Facebook, and various platforms in which the latest and greatest products or technologies are promoted and discussed. Look for platforms that cater to your industry-specific audience and then simply listen to what it is they are saying, or if you have a question, put it out there and get the valuable feedback you want, often without having to pay for it.
Don’t let your brand get bogged down with the stress of keeping up, rather, keep an open eye and watch for anything that could spark a transition in the market. As long as you stay aware, you will stay current. Who knows, your business could be setting the next trend!