How do you spot trends in your industry – using HubSpot or otherwise?
Ethan Brooks, a senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot spoke at INBOUND 2022 about how to identify and spot trends in the market. The same tactics can be applied to your industry as well. But the important thing is to learn how to focus and find the signs that matter.
He called out the difference between what people mistake as trends to the reports of the latest developments in the market and what counts for change that will have profound impact. While they think about dances on Tik Tok, NFTs, crypto tokens and other short-lived blips of hype, the true changes are happening at the foundational level.
Those who had been following newsletters like Hustle from HubSpot got to know of the underlying technologies a year earlier where they were covered in detail.
Over 2022, the Metaverse has risen and faded. While Facebook put in a phenomenal amount of effort and development talent into building the Metaverse, people were not enthused. Perhaps it is not the right time. Or, the confluence of several technologies needs to happen before customers are genuinely interested. Or, it could simply be that this level of immersion in digital environments makes people uncomfortable.
Differentiating between a lasting trend and ‘noise’
The team at HubSpot practices what they call Sceptical Optimism. Looking for ways in which technology can create value but not to get overly excited about it. A skeptical lens is a good way to temper the enthusiasm and prevent everyone from going overboard on what the implications could be.
He emphasizes that liking technology does not mean giving it a free pass. If something is newer, that does not automatically make it better.
He spoke in his introduction about owning a mobile phone that is at least three models behind the today’s cutting edge one, driving a vehicle that is a few years old and staying grounded by keeping in touch with nature.
Lasting value always trumps the next big thing. The audience that tunes in is risking capital on the ideas being put forward. So, it is important to differentiate between passing fads or industries that do not have real business value.
Trends should be differentiated from fads. A trend is how the market evolves and changes. Keeping tabs on that is the key to being relevant
He also emphasized the importance of not making predictions, something that VCs do most of the time. But they are also aware that of all the bets they make, only a tiny fraction will go on to make money. That cannot be a solution for regular business owners.
Data based opportunities that exist right now
There are three things to consider when examining trends
Spotting involves knowing where to look for the trend. Keeping an eye out for what changes are happening in the market in your sector and seeing how it impacts your business. Some of these may be subtle and not obvious until it becomes apparent.
Vetting is the process of using tools and questions to validate demand. Some of the changes could be a one-off and not sustainable in the long run. Trends do not arise overnight, and the impact on customer behavior is even slower.
Ideating on how you can benefit from the trend is the step that must follow. Some of the ideas may fail but by constantly validating the viability of the idea helps to profit from the trend.
Information and innovation do not move evenly through society. They can be compared to rivers that arise at specific points. Now, each company has ways of prospecting for customers that works for them. These methods may not be known to other competitors who consistently come up short.
You can see this in business clusters of restaurants on a main street, for example. Some of them seem to attract a crowd easily, while others struggle. Even in ecommerce, the ways some companies can convert is of a much higher order than those who have low traffic and conversions.
The layers through which trends travel
In any business, there are individual practitioners who focus on what they are doing daily. It could be research on batteries, for example. It occupies their mind and by reading other papers, discussing things with the team, they try out modifications that make a difference to battery life – or faster charging. The trend always follows potential customer benefits because that drives all ideas.
The place to look for trends is not in Top 10 lists. They are in research papers and intense discussions that happen in forums and communities before they are picked up by media
When ideas are successful, niche communities form and they look at ways to implement the ideas that have traction. You will begin to see this being talked about in social media and blogs when people put forward the ideas and there is a healthy exchange of perspectives. Some may strongly counter the idea, while others support it.
Finding these ‘watering holes’ in your industry is one of the best ways to keep abreast of how the field is evolving. By the time it appears in the market as a product or a concept, it has already gone through the early iterations.
That is precisely what The Hustle captures. By mining for the early idea and opinion makers in different industries, they capture the wave that is forming. And the best way to profit from it is to see the wave early on. When you keep an eye on what is changing on the ground, you will get a sense of what the possibilities are.
Even small companies can profit from this because social media and blogs have flattened the playing field.
Speak to us at Blueoshan to put in place an information workflow for people within your company – and how they can benefit from HubSpot’s insights by spending just a few minutes every day and joining the dots.
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Blueoshan is a HubSpot Diamond -Tier Solutions Partner. Delivering worldwide from India.