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How to Stay Ahead of the Curve: Keeping Up with Industry Trends

Coral Drake | February 10, 2024 |

Industry Insights and Trends
How to Stay Ahead of the Curve: Keeping Up with Industry Trends

Keeping up with industry trends is critical to maintaining your grasp on the market and developing strategic innovation that places your products or services as the next big thing. Here’s what you need to gather the industry insights to keep you ahead of the curve.

How to Keep Up with Industry Trends

Engage customers

Regularly soliciting feedback from customers with surveys, reviews, and direct feedback mechanisms is one way to conduct the kind of market analysis that sets you up for success in recognizing not just trends, but the trends that matter most to your customers. customer engagement may be the single most important element to spotting the next big trend that will impact your business. 

Post-purchase, ask questions delving into their preferences, pain points, and expectations. A simple survey question could be, “What feature would you like to see in our next product update?” or “What factors influenced your decision to choose our product/service?”

Scrape the feedback you receive for industry insights. If you’re spotting trends in the feedback, you’ll want to pay close attention. 

Use the insights you gather to develop new products, add features to existing products, or alter marketing strategies to align with the emerging trends you’ve identified. 

This process of engaging and developing should be continuous. Don’t forget to communicate to your customers about how you’ve heard and applied their feedback. People love to feel appreciated, and like to know they have a voice in the brands they support. 

Do Your Reading

Staying up-to-date on information about industry trends is crucial, and there are numerous outlets for information affecting trends in your industry. 

Online communities on platforms like Reddit, Discord, and Telegram offer real-time insights and feedback about specific niches and industries. These platforms serve as hubs for grassroots trends, allowing you to get on the bandwagon before it goes mainstream. 

In addition to sites focused on social sharing, keep abreast of publications and journals written by industry experts. Expert analysis and updates on market shifts and innovations shouldn’t be depended on by themselves, but if you see support in your other research for what the experts are saying, you may want to pay attention. 

Want to understand your customers' needs? Consume what they consume. When you know what’s influencing your customers and prospective customers, you’ll be able to better forecast what will influence your industry. 

Be Active in Your Professional Community

It’s natural to be hesitant to collaborate with competitors, but leveraging networking and events within your industry is key to discovering industry trends. The trick is to find peers in your industry that you don’t compete with directly so you can learn from one another. 

Industry-specific groups on social or forum platforms offer candid feedback in real-time. Trade association events are a great way to glean insights into what’s next. They give you access to a range of people and organizations within and around your industry. 

These conversations can offer industry insights before they’re widely available through market research and form the foundation for relationships that can inform strategic innovation for years to come. 

Conduct Market Analysis

Proper market research is foundational for trendspotting. Analyzing customer behavior data, monitoring industry reports, and examining internal sales data are all useful tools for discovering important industry insights. But remember, data is useless without proper analysis. 

Staying ahead of the curve demands being open to new technologies and innovations. However, it doesn’t have to mean paying a lot. Free tools like Google Analytics make market research more accessible, allowing businesses to track customer interactions and preferences and adjust their strategies accordingly without wading through as much raw data.

Google Trends is designed to keep you abreast of industry trends by tracking interest in specific topics over time, enabling you to understand seasonal patterns and identify emerging consumer interests. Analyzing these trends enables data-driven decisions and confident predictions of market movements.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the dynamics of interest and currency rates, especially in emerging markets. These indicators provide insights into the overall health and direction of a market. If the market shows your industry is about to take a nosedive, you can make informed investment and expansion decisions, even if your customers seem thrilled and business is doing great. 

Conduct Internal Analysis

Understanding the evolution and trajectory of your industry starts with analyzing past industry trends. Your business's historical data is full of patterns of success and failure that provide insights into consumer behavior and preferences and can inspire strategic innovation

Monitoring various key performance indicators (KPIs) enables you to recognize core market movers (MMs) that demand your attention—whether it’s to lean in or pull out of a campaign. 

Stay Ahead of the Curve 

Staying ahead of emerging industry trends demands consistent customer engagement, diligent reading, active participation in your professional community, thorough market analysis, and in-depth internal analysis. Fortunately, you have many avenues to stay on top of what’s coming next.