How to stay relevant in an ever-evolving market

01 Feb 2024
  • Business growth
  • Business management
  • Business strategy
  • Leadership
  • Relevance

Achieving growth isn’t easy for most companies. You need to know far more than just the technical nuts and bolts of print management to give your business the greatest chance of success. In a highly competitive industry such as this: How do you find customers? How do you keep them? How do you make your company stand out from the rest? And how do you ensure that it continues to grow?

It begins with understanding the marketplace and your customers. This will enable you to know where the market is heading, find new opportunities and mitigate risks. It will also help you to identify your target market, understand your customers’ wants and needs, which will give you a competitive advantage.

As Terry Pratchett, the UK’s best-selling author of the 1990s said, ‘If you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you are going.’

Understand the print market

Industry trends are constantly evolving based on the demands of the market. Staying on top of current trends – by constantly looking at patterns and changes in the market – will ensure that your operation never falls behind. The information that you gain will help you to make informed decisions, utilise resources wisely, predict what customers want, develop better products, adjust your strategies accordingly and improve your overall performance.

Performance is a main priority for every enterprise. Analysing trends in the print market will provide insights that can help identify the areas in which you are performing well and where you are not. This facilitates strategic action to launch new products or improve the quality of ones that you currently provide.

You can also appeal to the latest marketing trends, including those in graphic design, if you want to stay relevant. Your own marketing materials and the designs your team create for customers can differentiate your print shop. Fresh and contemporary designs send a clear message that you are at the forefront of changes in marketing and communications.

Understand market challenges

On the flip side, it is also essential to know what challenges are being experienced in the marketplace and should be part of your positioning process. These are the problems that impact your customers and by identifying these specific hurdles you can better understand your customers and their needs. This allows you to provide the best possible solution or identify solutions that you haven’t considered providing – but ought to.

Solving these problems can vary from one operation to another, but the way that you engage with customers – by demonstrating that you understand their challenges; that you are a knowledgeable expert in the field; and that you are able to provide them with the solutions that they seek – will build credibility, trust and rapport, which will deepen their relationships with you.

It takes time and effort to identify the needs of your customers. Being innovative in providing solutions that are relevant and resonate with your audience are the ones that will keep any business ahead of the game.

Key steps to take:

1. Define your objectives

Start by clearly defining what you want to achieve and which areas you need to research, such as industry trends, new technologies, customer preferences, what similar print operations are doing (locally and abroad) etc. This will keep the investigation focused and connected to your business goals.

2. Collect information

Gather information from various platforms such as business magazines and newspapers, market reports, industry news, competitor analysis, customer surveys and website statistics. Also ask your sales team for input, including customer information (potential and/or existing) such as customer feedback, sales numbers, popular products, who they consider to be ideal customers to target etc. Ensure that the information collected is accurate and represents the market you are targeting.

3. Organise and analyse information

Once you have collected the necessary information, clean it up by removing duplicate or irrelevant information and organise it for analysis. Look for patterns, connections and anything unusual that can provide insights into better understanding the market and how customers behave.

4. Identify trends that matter

Once the data that you collected has been analysed, find the trends that matter to your business. These could be changes in what customers like, new technologies, sustainability issues or how similar businesses are innovating and diversifying etc. Categorise the trends based on importance and prioritise them.

5. Understand and predict

Think about what the implications of these trends will mean for your business. How will they affect your products/services and your position in the market? Utilising these trends to predict what may happen in the future will help you make decisions that are beneficial for your business.

6. Study the competition

Look at what your competitors are doing and how it compares to the trends that you have identified. Identify their strengths, their shortcomings and whether there are any opportunities for you. This will help you find gaps in the market that you can take advantage of, while formulating ideas of how you can differentiate yourself.

7. Adapt and take action

Based on what you have learnt from the above, you are equipped to adjust your business strategies and plan for the future. This can include improving your product offering, finding ways to provide an enhanced customer experience, amending your marketing strategies or looking for new customers. It’s an imperative that your plans align with your business goals.

Analysing industry trends is a powerful tool for businesses that want to grow and succeed in an ever-evolving market. With the aid of data and insights, they can make better decisions, stay ahead of competitors and meet their customers’ needs. Trends keep changing, so it is important to keep analysing and be prepared to adjust strategies whenever necessary.

 ‘Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.’ – Nido Qubein