Predicting business trends can be a frustrating experience, particularly in product-based industries. Unlike relatively stable fields like customer service, where there will always be a need, it’s sometimes tough to tell what consumers might want.
But trying to foresee future opportunities is a crucial part of making a successful product. No matter how challenging or intimidating the idea might be, it’s important for any business planner to look ahead. With the world changing so quickly, it’s simply a must.
To help guide you on that potentially rocky road, we’ve laid out some potential trends in product-based business for 2017.
Obviously, creating a new and exciting product is a form of innovation. But what we’re referring to here isn’t being innovative in terms of the product. It’s in how you attract your customers.
In an increasingly fast-paced world with all sorts of media competing for people’s attention, it’s crucial to find new, unique ways to bring a customer’s attention to your product.
It’s a cliché, but thinking outside the box when it comes to marketing and advertising could be the only thing that gets your product noticed. Getting people’s attention is becoming increasingly challenging, and that’s where much of the focus of 2017 might lie.
Once the consumer is aware of your product, and even after they’ve purchased it, there’s still a need to keep developing it. Standing still in the marketplace is a mistake.
What can you do to add new features to your product? How can you build on the foundation you’ve created? In a sense, you’re never really finished with what you’ve created. There’s always room for further development.
Last December, Forbes magazine business writer Ian Altman wrote that crowdfunding is slowly gaining on venture capital as a way for business to raise money to develop and manufacture products.
That might seem surprising, but Altman says that businesses like the GE affiliate First Build are using crowdfunding not just to raise money, but to gauge consumer interest in their new products.
After all, there’s no better way to measure the potential market for a product than by keeping track of what ideas people put their money into.
Keep a narrow focus
How many times have you clicked “Delete” on that email from a business informing you of a new product or sale? Did it seem like a message tailored to you, or to a mass consumer base?
Focusing products and marketing on an ever-narrower customer base might be a key trend in 2017. By making something that appeals to a smaller group in a more essential way, a product-based business can better ensure an attentive, receptive audience for what they’re selling.
It might seem counterintuitive to aim for a smaller group of consumers, but remember: The larger the customer base, the more generic you might have to make your message.
And those are the messages that most often get ignored.
Sales and support
As old-fashioned as it might seem in an age of email blasts and viral marketing, an experienced, well-run sales team is still one of the best ways to market a new product. This is especially true when it comes to businesses selling products to other businesses.
And if you’re going to have a sales team, the support staff that gives them the information they need is going to be essential. Don’t underestimate how important these employees can be.
As attractive as the world of online advertising or less personal contact can be, your real ace-in-the-hole might be one salesperson looking someone in the eye and making that connection.
Remember, regardless of current or future trends, your product needs the right development and manufacturing to make its mark. Pivot has decades of experience ushering new ideas, innovations and inventions into the marketplace. Learn more about us here.