4 Companies That Can Help Your Business Evolve With Consumer Trends
Consumer shopping and buying patterns never remain stagnant. As a business, you need to keep up with shifts in the marketplace. Otherwise, you can quickly start to lag behind and lose sales to your competitors.
Nowhere was the changeability of consumer behaviors more clear than during and after the pandemic. Consumers pivoted quickly to more digital lifestyles, and as noted by Deloitte, many of those choices have stuck post-pandemic. They worked from home. They had merchandise and groceries delivered rather than going to stores. They streamed more content through their devices. Companies that stayed attuned to these trends won market share. Companies that tried to do the same-old thing lost momentum--and revenue.
The difficulty, though, is figuring out how exactly to keep an eye on what's happening in the consumer realm. It's not enough to just recognize that consumer habits are taking a 180-degree turn. Businesses have to be able to react and evolve to those turns. That's not always easy to do, especially for startups and smaller enterprises with limited staff resources.
This is where investing in strategic partnerships can help. Partnering with the right entities can help any business (including yours) ride the wave of consumer trends. There are four types of providers that can give your organization the edge you want.
1. Fast-moving Marketing Firms
Ideally, the way to ensure a firm will be an asset to you is to look for one that keeps evolving. After all, if a marketing firm isn't willing to shift its own paradigms, it certainly won't be able to help you shift yours.
Of course, you need to be sure you're getting the best marketing firm you can afford. Ask about case studies, portfolio pieces, and other collateral from at least two or three potential partners. Check out their contracts, too. The last thing you want is to get locked in with a marketing firm that doesn't guarantee what you need, such as consistency or speed. Those attributes are necessary for you to be able to make quick, accurate decisions based on your target customer base.
Certainly, it can be challenging to find a marketing partner that stands out and offers fresh perspectives and options. Rest assured that the right firm is out there.
For instance, say you want flexibility with your contractual arrangement. That's relatively unusual because most marketing firms aim for long-term relationships. However, Hawke Media is one of the few that bucks the system. Hawke Media offers unique month-to-month, "outsourced CMO" contracts. Their a la carte style contract tailored to clients' needs is a differentiator in the traditional marketing agency realm. It's also a prime example of how varied marketing firms can be.
2. Constantly Updated XaaS Providers
Chances are strong that you work with plenty of XaaS providers. The most notable are likely all the SaaS companies that enable you to tap into advanced tech. But is the tech you're getting as top-line as you need? Not necessarily.
Some SaaS providers rarely make changes in their software. This can leave you working with last year's models. Ultimately, your people miss out on having access to the latest developments or tools. So be sure to vet all SaaS providers. Seek out ones known as leaders and innovators in their industries. (That's why they're leaders, after all.)
A great example of an XaaS company that keeps bumping up the bar is Salesforce. It's hard to deny that Salesforce has been a driving force in the field of CRM and other databases. Even though it has competition, it's remained aggressively innovative. This gives the company plenty of clout which could be beneficial if you're not sure about the chops of your current database.
3. Automated Social Media Tech Platforms
Nowhere is consumer trending behaviors more evident than on social media. Frequently, you can spot a trend right away on social... but only if you're looking for it. And that's the concern. With a limited number of staff, you can't pay someone to scour Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok all day. Fortunately, you don't have to.
Many companies now offer a bevy of social media tools that automate the trend-seeking process. These tools can essentially be your company's eyes and ears on social. For example, you can set a social media tool like Sprout Social to pay attention to keyword-specific hashtags. When those hashtags are used, your team gets an alert. Social media tools can also help you deploy messaging at appropriate times.
One note of caution: Not all social media management platform providers work with all social media sites. Make sure you choose a continuously improving partner that specializes in the sites relevant to your brand.
4. Broad-Functioning Data Management Resource Partners
Data is your friend when it comes to keeping up with the consumers you serve. However, you can't do anything with your data if you don't have a place to keep it or a way to examine it. This is where data management becomes critical.
How can you go about managing the incoming data and making certain it can be used to inform your marketing and sales moves? First, have a single, centralized location for all your data to go. Next, find out how to use your data to spot trends as early as you can. The quicker you notice a consumer trend, the quicker you can react. Finally, be sure that your data is constantly updated and scrubbed.
Many data management resource partners specialize in working within specific industries like healthcare or e-commerce. An example of this would be Harmony Health IT, that helps manage healthcare data. So don't hesitate to find out what your competition is using, particularly your strongest competitors. If another business in your sector always seems to get the jump on you trend-wise, find out the data management tools that the business uses.
Being last in line isn't a viable option for your company if you plan to grow and scale. You need to work with partners that will offer accurate consumer insight solutions.