Companies must always be one step ahead to compete successfully in a globalised economy, and savvy companies understand the benefits of monitoring their identified competitors and market evolutions. However, to do this in an effective way, a well-tailored market watch strategy is required.

“A market watch is the collective term for all the tools and strategies that a company sets up to better understand, anticipate, and respond to market events. So, these are essentially steps or approaches you adopt to stay informed on everything that is going on in your business environment, such as changes in business practices, regulation, new competitors, or emerging technologies, for example,” explains Paul-Louis Bene, Market Intelligence Analyst at Luxinnovation.

First things first: Define your needs

Some fundamental principles underpin the logic of implementing a data-driven market watch process. As a first step, you must be able to answer some basic questions that will assist you in defining your requirements. Why am I conducting a survey? Do I have the necessary resources? What will it be used for? What benefits will it provide? Who do I want to gather information on? What am I looking for, and where should I look for it?

Companies that know the answers to these questions will have identified key players to monitor, specific evolutions to track, and potential sources to consult, among other things

“Many companies decide to conduct market research for a variety of reasons. For some, it is a way to assess key trends, identify market gaps, improve internal processes, forecast market developments, or gain market share,” says Market Intelligence Analyst Julie Gaspar.

Master the basics: Keywords and pertinent tools

After determining your needs and priorities, the next step is to collect as much relevant information as possible. One of the first steps in planning your research is to identify the specific themes and keywords that are pertinent to your needs, as well as potential sources to consult.

“Depending on what you’re looking for, you may need to consult social media channels, blogs, reports, press articles, or run specific queries on search engines. You may also decide to set up brainstorming sessions to gather as many precise themes and keywords as possible in line with your search,” adds Mr Bene.

There are various tools available to gather the information you require, such as media monitoring tools, website monitoring tools, social media monitoring tools, content monitoring tools, and price monitoring tools, for example. While some tools must be purchased, others are available for free. An appropriate tool can be chosen based on the type of information you’re looking for.

Using feed aggregators allows you to collect web content from various sources and stay up to date on relevant changes. Remember that to conduct effective search queries, you must first understand how to optimise your results, and inevitably, your time. Boolean operators (words like AND, OR, NOT, or Minus or) are used in search engines to expand or narrow your query to get more precise and useful results.  For example, Luxinnovation AND sustainability.

Process and analyse the data

After you’ve defined your needs and gathered the necessary information, the next step will be to sort through and analyse the data to determine what’s important and what’s not.

“If your needs have been properly defined from the beginning, and your keywords and tools are aligned with your objectives, this step will be much easier to implement,” says Ms Gaspar.

Disseminate the information internally

The final step will be to present your findings to your target audience. It is also essential to specify the frequency with which you want to do this. Newsletters can be an effective way to keep your employees up to date on the information you’re tracking so they can make strategic decisions.

It’s important to remember that the overall steps you’ve taken will determine your results and implementing an effective market watch takes time and patience.

Photo credit: Pexels/Tima Miroshnichenko

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