When looking at the market on a more global scale and not only at the level of individual products, it is possible to draw conclusions about developments in society. Different lifestyles can, for example, be derived from the increased demand for a specific product.
The search function of online stores reveals, for example what customers are looking for - or even, what they cannot find. This is helpful to specifically address the buyer and offer new services which the consumer calls for ‑ whether online, or in the shop.
The important thing here, which in most cases also presents the greatest challenge, is the neutral perspective on the target group and the selective definition of the target groups. Changed consumer habits, saturation phenomena within competition or even a strong fragmentation of the market exacerbate this.
Moreover, the communication behaviour of young target groups is changing fast, making it more difficult to reach them. Whereas in the past, consumers could be divided in certain backgrounds or milieus and strictly segregated consumer types or personas, nowadays there are only highly individualised consumer habits.
Digital analytical tools help in these cases to better foresee movements so as not to be trapped and chase after fast-paced and possibly already outdated trends. Frequently, customer loyalty programmes are very adequate measuring tools.
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But the analytical-retrospective observation of the market alone can also be tricky. Such a perspective cannot portrait fundamental changes from new technologies or new players which modify the competition with their strategy. Instead, the analysis of the (current and past) market is just one of the many tools for business-minded future action. However, it should not be the sole tool as otherwise one runs the risk of merely responding to the market instead of taking a lead.
Next to analytical tools, businesses require most and for all courage to look ahead - into the unknown. They need visions and goals which they are willing to shape.
Henry Ford had a very clear opinion about this and once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
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