In my 25+ years as a marketing and strategy executive and consultant, I have worked with many companies. Often, I found that companies didn’t know the true size of the market and the respective opportunity for them. One of the objections was that this sort of information wasn’t readily available
Many of these companies relied on historical rumours, myths, and salesforces perpetuating anecdotal evidence.
As a result, the objective facts – particularly common facts, recent facts, and projections into the future – were relatively non-existent.
So, I thought I’d talk briefly about market opportunity, getting the facts, and ways to gather market information before you decide to expand into new markets.
What Do You Need to Know About the Market?
In order to market your service, product, or company, you need to know answers to questions like:
- What is the size of the opportunity?
- Where can we make a profit?
- Where are we likely to be more successful?
- Where is the competition weak and fragmented?
- Where should we focus our efforts?
Now, you might wonder where you can get this competitor information from, but the truth is, in many cases, it can be quite simple. There are plenty of ways to gather market and competitor information.
How? Read on!
The British Library
The British Library has regional offices for access to information on markets, sectors, competitors and market shares, among other things. You can also access information online from their website or visit the British Library in London and get free access to their business section when you sign up and get a card.
Companies House is a free beta website supplied by the Government. It is a repository of information on every company registered in the UK. You can use it to view competitors’ histories, accounts, trends, and more.
Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet helps businesses improve their market performance by providing them with commercial data, analytics, and insights. These can then be used to draft a targeted business plan for new markets.
Bureau van Dijk
Bureau van Dijk is a resource that gathers company data so you can better understand the ecosystem in which you and your competitors operate. You could access this information through Mint, a database for market information, which is now being replaced with Fame.
This resource allows you to look at complete sectors. You can also look at the numbers of companies by size, employees, and compile really objective information about the market and where the opportunities are.
These are all great sources of secondary market information. However, there is another way to get excellent market information, first-hand.
Market Information Through Talking to Customers
Talking to customers and potential customers is one of the best ways of gathering competitor market information from the market. All you have to do is talk to them and tell them you’re doing research.
I have been doing this for over 30 years, and most people are always very open and happy to help. They WANT to be asked about their needs.
You can therefore supplement your secondary information with primary information from potential or lost clients, people you’ve never worked with, and people who have been your customers for a long time. This can give you great insights into where you’re winning business and where you’re losing it.
However, doing such a research requires methodology and planning. Since most companies don’t have the in-house expertise to do this, they might require a marketing consultant or a consulting company.
This is where I can help. If you need help with ways to gather competitor and market information, understanding the market and finding out where to grow your business in the future, feel free to contact me.