If you’re in a certain industry, or looking to get into a new industrial sector, you need to learn all you can about the industry. Questions you might want to ask include who are the key players? Who are the up-and-coming and on the ‘watch this space’ players? Who has been mentioned in the news, or in leading websites? Who has appeared in leading trade newsletters?
What are the industry trends? How fast is the marketplace growing? Who are the leaders? Who are the opinion leaders? What academic research is going on in the field? What patents are being registered?
There are a number of ways to research and answer the above questions:
- Put industry keywords into search engines such as Google and Bing and see which companies come up in the search, learn all you can about them by going onto their websites, read their About Us, News section and research/technical section.
- Put keywords and hashtags into Twitter.
- See which white papers and blogs come up in the search, look at industrial survey results – who are the opinion leaders? Follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn.
- Determine what groups your opinion leaders belong to on LinkedIn and join those Groups.
- Clone your results by finding similar companies using tools such as Linkedin, Twitter and zoominfo.com.
- Find out which companies have been acquired lately by the blue chips in the industry – what have they bought over the last three years and especially in the last six months. Try to figure out why they are buying these companies – what is the bigger picture? Look for patterns
- Search to find out who are the key venture capital firms investing in this sector and which companies they have invested in (do the same for angel and crowd funders).
- What exits have these VCs done in recent months – have the companies they have invested in been acquired? By whom? For how much?
- Check the publications leading academics in the field publish in, review them regularly. Implement intellectual property searches (the British Library IP & Business Centre can help).
- Go to events, exhibitions and conferences – what are the subjects of the talks? Who are the opinion leaders? What do they say about where the industry is going? What is the leading research/innovation going on in the industry? Are there technology disrupters?
All of the above market research will help to position your product or service, as well as uncover opportunities for your company. It may uncover where your R&D department should be investing its time, and the ‘must haves’ versus ‘nice-to-have’ product features.
It will also determine what joint ventures you may want or need to put in place, and what unique selling points need to be emphasised in your marketing literature, and search engine optimisation strategy.
For a confidential discussion on how your business could break into a new industrial sector, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .