What if your business strategy was outdated before you even started? Successful businesses must understand current trends and integrate those trends into their marketing and sales strategies. But if a company doesn’t have a good trend monitoring strategy, its information will always be out of date. How, then, can you build a trend monitoring strategy and keep your business on the cutting edge? Keep reading to discover our top tips!
1. Identify Thought Leaders
Any trend monitoring strategy is driven by a simple idea: work smarter, not harder. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can easily monitor trends by identifying thought leaders within your industry.
By definition, thought leaders stay on top of emerging trends and share their insights with the world. By actively following such leaders, you can learn about trends when it is still very fresh.
In time, your own business may pivot to its thought leadership role. Until that time, however, you can rely on today’s thought leaders to help you develop the strategies of tomorrow.
2. Stay On Top of Social Media
You may not be a very big fan of social media when it comes to your personal life. However, when it comes to your business, social media is one of the most important tools you can use!
That’s because social media lets you monitor trends in several interesting ways. Remember when we said you should check out what industrial thought leaders have to say? In some cases, that can be as simple as following them online.
More importantly, you can see what consumers have to say. Like Twitter, social media platforms automatically let you know which topics and hashtags (more on these later) are trending. By staying on top of these trending topics, you’ll better understand what’s currently in style and what is already yesterday’s news.
Social media also gives you the chance to reach out to influencers. Not only can you learn from what they have to say, but partnering with an influencer can give your marketing a powerful boost.
3. Join Relevant Online Communities
Your online adventures in monitoring trends don’t have to stop with social media. The next step is to find online communities with interests that are relevant to those of your business.
You don’t have to identify your business in these communities or your position in a leadership role. If you don’t want to post actively, you can “lurk” without saying anything. The most important thing is to pay attention to what other people are posting.
Think of these online groups as a social media form of crowdsourcing. By monitoring what different industry professionals are concerned about, you can understand widespread issues within that industry. Similarly, by seeing what exciting news everyone posts, you can monitor emerging trends and innovations that may positively impact your own business.
4. Use Google Trends
Social media is a great way to monitor emerging trends. But if you want to monitor such trends on a wider scale, then Google Trends is your best bet.
With Google Trends, you can effortlessly monitor what people say across various websites and social media platforms. This is the best of both worlds, providing you with convenient trend monitoring data without excluding any important sites.
Another great feature of Google Trends is that you can set up alerts for a variety of keywords. This makes it far easier to monitor emerging trends, and you can also get convenient alerts when someone mentions your own business.
The only downside of Google Trends is that you must overcome a learning curve to get the most out of it. Nonetheless, it’s worth your time to master this particular tool.
5. Customer Outreach
When you monitor trends, you don’t always have to look very far. For example, your customers are a great source of valuable information!
You probably already keep up with loyal customers through mailing lists and social media. And you can learn a lot about what’s trending and what customers are interested in by simply asking them open-ended questions and offering surveys and polls.
Ultimately, this strategy is simple. When we want to get an answer from someone, we must first ask them a question. When we want to know what customers want, the simplest way is to ask them directly.
Just be prepared for their answers and their honesty. To make the most of what you learn, your business must be prepared to make some major changes in a short period of time!
6. Monitor Hashtags
Earlier, we discussed the benefits of monitoring social media trends. While there are multiple ways to do this, you should pay special attention to the hashtags users develop.
On the most basic level, hashtags are useful for collecting many user posts under a single umbrella. This can help you do a deep dive into whatever is trending at the moment.
On a more advanced level, hashtags can serve as inspiration for your future digital marketing efforts. By crafting a catchy hashtag, you won’t have to settle for monitoring what is trending. Instead, you can watch your marketing go viral.
7. Scope the Competition
Every trend monitoring strategy is reactive by nature. You must first see what others are doing and then develop your response. But what if you could cut the middlemen out of this process?
Most of our trend monitoring strategies involve casting a wide net and seeing what different groups and businesses are doing and saying. However, if you want to save a lot of time, you can focus on what your competition is currently doing.
You don’t have to adjust your monitoring strategies very much to keep a closer eye on your competition. Additionally, because you share the same industry and the same demographics, you can be sure that their different strategies and innovations will be effective for your business.
Update 2023: Additonal Strategies to Consider
- Analyze Historical Data: In addition to monitoring current trends, it’s crucial to analyze historical data. This can help you identify patterns, seasonality, and long-term trends that may not be immediately apparent. Historical data analysis can provide valuable context for your trend monitoring strategy.
- Data Visualization Tools: Discuss the importance of using data visualization tools to make sense of the trends you’re monitoring. Visualizations like charts, graphs, and heatmaps can help you quickly identify trends and patterns in your data.
- Competitive Benchmarking: Explain the significance of benchmarking your business against competitors. By comparing your performance and strategies to those of your competitors, you can identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.
- Technology and Automation: Explore how technology and automation can streamline your trend monitoring efforts. Mention tools and software that can help automate data collection, analysis, and reporting, making it more efficient for your business.
- Cross-Functional Collaboration: Emphasize the importance of collaboration between different departments within your organization. Trend monitoring should involve not only marketing and sales but also product development, customer service, and other relevant teams to ensure a holistic approach.
- Feedback Loops: Discuss the concept of feedback loops, where you continuously gather feedback from customers, employees, and stakeholders to refine your trend monitoring strategy. Explain how feedback loops can help you adapt to changing trends quickly.
- Scenario Planning: Introduce the idea of scenario planning as part of your trend monitoring strategy. Encourage readers to develop contingency plans for various trend scenarios, allowing them to respond proactively to different outcomes.
- Ethical Considerations: Address ethical considerations in trend monitoring, such as respecting user privacy, data security, and transparency. Ensure that your trend monitoring practices align with ethical standards and regulations.
- Measuring ROI: Explain how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your trend monitoring efforts. Discuss key performance indicators (KPIs) that businesses can track to assess the effectiveness of their trend monitoring strategies.
- Case Studies: Share real-world examples or case studies of businesses that have successfully implemented trend monitoring strategies and the impact it had on their bottom line. Case studies can provide practical insights and inspiration.
- Future Trends in Trend Monitoring: Provide a glimpse into the future of trend monitoring. Discuss emerging technologies, methodologies, or trends in the field of trend monitoring that businesses should be aware of and consider adopting.
- Continuous Improvement: Stress the importance of continuous improvement in trend monitoring. Encourage businesses to regularly review and refine their strategies to stay adaptive and competitive in the long term.
Building a Trend Monitoring Strategy: What Comes Next?
Now you know how to build a solid trend monitoring strategy. But do you know who can help you make the most of it?