Lack of Reliable Market Intelligence

Even if you conduct formal market research, and even if you have a workable business intelligence system, you should still get actively involved in doing your own grass-roots, hands-on intelligence gathering. You will then be more informed and better prepared to move quickly when presented with an opportunity.

For instance, observe changes in the character of your markets. Define your customers by demographic and behavioral characteristics. Also look for any unmet customer needs that would enable you to respond rapidly in the form of products, services, methods of delivery, credit terms, or technical assistance.

Next, maintain an ongoing dialogue with your customers to find out their most troublesome problems and frustrations. Meet with salespeople. Travel with them. Draw them out on what they see happening in their respective markets. You thereby gain from their insights. Creating such a dialogue makes you and them more focused and able to react.

Also watch for competitors’ substitute products that could replace your products or services. Examine customer usage patterns. Likewise, observe deviations in regional and seasonal buying patterns. Check, too, for changes from past purchase practices that could translate into opportunities.

Further, look for innovations in selling, especially with the pervasive use of the Internet and new applications of communications technologies. Tune in to current trends in promotional allowances, selling tactics, trade discounts, rebates, point-of-purchase opportunities, or seasonal/holiday requirements. Again, stay close to salespeople for such information.

Where appropriate, examine your supply-chain and look for opportunities to customize services consistent with the characteristics of the segment. Pay attention to warehousing (if applicable) and what could make fertile possibilities to innovate, such as electronic ordering and computerized inventory control systems that link to data mining capabilities.

Finally, search for innovations and product-line extensions to maintain an ongoing presence in your existing markets, or else to gain a foothold in an emerging segment. As illustrated by Wipro, harness new technologies that lead to cost-effective and efficient operations. Doing so could make your company more competitive and result in broadening your customer base.

They are swift to follow up a success, and slow to recoil from a reverse ...

they were born into the world to take no rest themselves and to give none

to others. You still delay ... let your procrastination end.

Thucydides

 
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