Simple Tools To Monitor Market Trends

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Last week, I wrote a post called “The Right Idea, the Right Time.” The basic premise of the post was that it only takes “the right idea at the right time” to propel your business to the next level. One suggestion that I shared to help find the “right idea” is to monitor market trends that identify the need for a new product or service among a particular target audience. I promised that I would follow up with several basic vehicles that you can use to monitor market trends, so here goes:

Google Alerts: Google offers FREE Web searches on a variety of topics through a service called “Google Alerts.” Select a list of key words or drill down to a specific topic and the search results, pulled from Google’s powerful search engine, are delivered right to your inbox. Monitor your competitors, clients, or news that impacts your industry. I encourage businesses of all sizes and concentrations to use this service. You can sign-up at http://www.google.com/alerts.

Blogs: I subscribe to a number of blogs to stay on top of trends and to generate ideas for upcoming projects. Signing up for a blog is easy to do. John Easton recently introduced me to a service called viigo, which allows me to access blog and news content directly from my trusty BlackBerry. I also suggest completing a Web search to find the blogs that report on what’s important to you. This might even inspire you to start a blog of your own. Two places to begin your search are the popular websites digg.com and technorati.com.

E-zines: I subscribe to several e-zines, which basically is an electronic version of a newsletter or magazine delivered to my inbox. E-zines vary by topic and frequency. One of my favorites is “Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week” by Joan Stewart. Subscribers receive weekly tips and tools for generating free publicity. A web search will help you identify an e-zine that’s of interest to you.

Newspapers: Contrary to popular belief, newspapers are still a great source to identify market trends. Read articles in the newspaper sections that impact your business (i.e. lifestyle, sports, money) to see what the experts are reporting. Most newspapers are now available online, making this process faster and easier.

Word of Mouth: Talking with people is still an excellent way to find out what the “word on the street” is. Strike up a conversation in the gym or visit a business function. Online forums like Yahoo! Answers also is a fun way to spark conversation and identify trends among large groups of people.

These are just a few of the tools that I use to monitor market trends. There are many, many more vehicles in this arena, ranging from free surveys (basic surveys are available for free at SurveyMonkey.com and Zoomerang.com) to costlier tools such as focus groups and research reports.

Now, I want to hear from you – what tools do you use to monitor market trends?

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About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; media planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and article, website, advertising, editorial, and sponsorship writing.

Related Topics:

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  4. Avoiding the Broke Zone
  5. For hundreds of ways to get customers to call you (subscribe to our newsletter) (browse archive)

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