By Tim Hooper, Head of Sales and Marketing for Xledger in the UK
In the day-to-day course of business, it can be tough to keep up with the digital trends impacting your organisation. Leading companies, however, are the ones whose managers constantly have their ear to the ground. Effective leadership in today’s age involves always looking for the next big thing.
Gaining a competitive edge in your market is as simple as keeping track of the trends and developments that will offer an opportunity or pose a risk. With this in mind, what are the easiest and quickest ways to identify trends that will benefit your business?
Keep track of industry influencers and publications
To gauge current developments and emerging ones, following industry leaders through social media is a good tactic. Journalists give a wider view of the industry. Vertical-specific publications will pick up on trends that are likely to impact the industry. Around the start and end of the year, many will offer predictions on future trends. These are worth a look, as industry editors are truly immersed in in their sector, so their foresight is usually on-point.
Use digital tools
Digital tools will help you uncover changes in consumer behaviour. Social media listening can highlight growing trends being discussed on Instagram or Facebook and you can see consumers’ response to your product or service through social sentiment analysis. Listen to what people are talking about. Be aware of challenges your clients are facing and respond by exploring a potential gap in the market that your business can fill.
Samsung, for instance, uses social media listening to help inform its product development and marketing. On one occasion, it was able to alter a marketing campaign in response to adverts placed by competitor Huawei featuring a slow-motion video feature. Samsung’s revamped campaigned communicated to customers that its phones also had the feature.
Observe your competitors
Through competitor analysis, you can keep on top of what other businesses are doing and any innovations they’re working on. Check their press coverage and any case studies they’ve been featured in. This will give you insight into new developments that they are using.
This involves a two-pronged approach. First, you have your peers, partners and competitors. Go to events where they are speaking or likely to turn up and listen to the trends that they are discussing. If you have a strong relationship with a customer or partner, ask them what they are working on and excited about. Company blogs are another good source of insight.
Second, there are industry bodies and best practices. Some will offer advice on tools to use or how to address new technology. Cloud computing, for instance, has become an industry standard in many sectors and its growth shows no signs of slowing. Industry bodies may also hold briefings or seminars to help you understand digital trends.
Many ways to track trends
With many ways to track digital trends, you’ll need to find a method that fits seamlessly into your working day. It’s much easier to understand changes when you’ve been learning about them for a long time. Therefore, the earlier you discover a trend, the best chance you have of unlocking its potential. With so many developments on the horizon, it’s important to keep up. If you don’t, you’re heading into the future with a significant blind spot.