Want to grow your business? How about adding new products and services before the competition? Want to increase market share outside of your current business silo? Sure you do...but how?
Follow consumer trends.
Back in the day, even a decade ago, following trends in consumer behavior took an amazing amount of ground work. Not to say it's simple today but access to data, reliable data, is much easier. Let me give you a couple of examples we talked about during Insight on Business with Michael Libbie.
One of the consumer trends we follow centers on agriculture...more specific...the public perception of how we grow/raise what is fed to the world. (We're in Iowa...it's a big deal!) It looks like Unilever is also paying attention to the animal rights movement and the "cage free egg" debate. They've just announced starting NOW you can buy Hellman's Light Mayo that is made with "cage free eggs". What does that mean for Hellman's? They have moved from simply selling a commodity (mayonnaise) to "cause marketing". And, they will be able to charge a price unquestioned by people moved by the animal rights cause.
Following consumer trends isn't difficult. You don't need a staff of dozens to know that "organic", "natural", "micro-business", "private brands", "value" and a "localizing of business" are all consumer trends that are HUGE. How do we know? That's the stuff we do for our clients and what you should be doing for your business. (Lecture over...)
Well, not quite. Think for a moment: "Why would 20,000+ people converge on Downtown Des Moines, Iowa each Saturday morning for five hours buying food that is 15 to 20 percent more expensive than they can get at any number of supermarkets and Big Box Stores in the city?" Get my point?
OK, one more.
Staying on the culture and trend of "natural/organic" food. For decades, and still in some circles, traditionalists will tell you, "Organic food is a waste of money." "There is no health benefit to buying and eating natural foods." Organic food is an old hippie movement and it's just smoke and mirrors." Blah, blah...blah.
Who cares what is being said...the pure fact is..."natural/organic" food is a multi-billion dollar industry. You have a problem with jumping in and making money? If so...stay out, leave them alone there is still a large market aimed at folks who don't care what they eat. But, before I leave this area something to chew on:
Not to rub it in...but, we love it when we are spot on. In spite of the recession, in spite of reduced purchasing power... Whole Foods posted an 8.7 percent increase in same store sales in their second fiscal quarter. And, a 9.5 percent increase so far in the current quarter. Nope, we don't make this stuff up. Here is the story from our friends at Reuters.
So what if your product or service doesn't revolve around food? There is still a valuable message here: Consumers want and are demanding a more wholesome approach to daily living. What product or service can you deliver to this hungry crowd? Come on...think.