The market landscape has changed in the wake of COVID-19, and you may need to reformulate your business strategies sooner rather than later, but how do you know where to place your bets in such an uncertain environment?
“Predicting industry trends is always a difficult task, but it’s one of the most important things you can do in these turbulent times,” said Robert Granader, Founder and CEO of MarketResearch.com, in a recent webinar hosted by the 2021 Leading Entrepreneurs of the World Conference.
Prepare for What’s Next in Your Market
When you need to determine which way the commercial winds are blowing, it's important to look forward and look back.
“To use a quote from Mark Twain, ‘History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes,'” Granader said.
Many industry trends we've seen during COVID—such as the rising pet population, the surge in home improvement, and the popularity of home gardening—are already "baked in" and will continue to drive the trajectory of certain product segments and markets over the next 18 months.
Granader believes the COVID crisis is very different from the recessions following September 11th and the 2008 global financial crisis. “After those events, people felt poorer and were bracing for a bad economy,” he explained. “But at the end of the COVID crisis, we’re expecting a robust economy. There’s stimulus money, a soaring stock market, and so much optimism.”
Entrepreneurs and executives shouldn’t just focus on avoiding the next crisis, they need to catch the next wave, the next big opportunity, and get inside the mind of the consumer, according to Granader.
Rely on Trustworthy Market Insights
Getting an outside perspective can help you have a more accurate viewpoint of your company and industry.
“Your customers may not want to tell you the truth,” Granader advised. “People are going to tell you what you want to hear. An outside organization can get better data. Market research can open your eyes to the products and trends beyond your own company, the disruptive technologies you may not see, and show you how you stack up to competitors.”
But market research isn’t just about the numbers. “It’s also a story, a narrative — understanding why consumers feel a certain way about a company or industry,” Granader stated. “It matters who writes the stories. The numbers may be right, but the story may be off. For example, it’s very hard to understand U.S. grocery store sales if you’ve never been in one, but some market research publishers operate that way.”
Research might look equally credible on a Google results page, but you have to dig deeper. “Go behind the research. Know who is producing it and what’s their methodology. That’s part of what MarketResearch.com does for clients,” Granader said.
As you recalibrate your business strategies after COVID, don’t get caught in the echo chamber. Don’t get caught flat footed. “Trust is the coin of the realm,” Granader emphasized. “Find trustworthy narratives and numbers to guide your decisions.”