“If I want to release a new product or service, then I need to do some market sensing, but I don’t understand what it means to understand the past, present, and future market needs, opportunities, risks, and demand for an offering.”
Do you remember a truly awful new product hitting the market? I am not talking about something that did not work, more like something that you can’t imagine anyone buying and you strongly question how it made it into stores. Well, it most likely made it so far because, the company that created it didn’t spend enough time or effort on market sensing activities. One such product from my childhood was Orbitz soda. It looked super cool. The drinks were modeled to looked like little orange, red, and white lava lamps. I was so excited when I saw them at the store for the first time, but then I tried it… not good. It tasted like sealed plastic cough syrup. The aesthetics were perfectly on par, but Orbitz soda must have completely skipped the taste test. I, by no means, had good taste at six, but that does not mean I was willing to ever swallow plastic cough syrup again, and it seems neither was any other kid.
Market Sensing is an allusive beast for many big and small corporations. It is even a little bit of a stretch to ever expect to be able to say it out loud and everyone know what you’re talking about. I normally get blank stares, but it is an important topic. Market sensing are activities in analyzing and gathering past, present, and future market intelligence on the needs, opportunities, risks, and demand for a new product. These activities are the Salesperson's Win/Loss Reports, the customer services’ processed Enhancement Requests, the marketing offices’ Marketing analysis, and many more.
Market sensing is about developing a relationship of understanding with the targeted external market. This includes your competitors within the market, the market forces and behavior, and the market’s perception of you. Some might put this concept in a little box and call it market research, but market research is one of three main categories within market sensing; market analysis, competitive analysis, and customer satisfaction. Market Sensing is not just interview questionnaires, or feedback forms, but trend analysis, tracking defects/issues, as well as studying the competition.
You want that kid to not only buy that lava lamp like soda, but forget all others, and come back for another one. A company is doing market sensing when they conduct exclusive events for customers, develop a community for suggestions as well as feedback, and when they prove that they are committed to fulfill the customers’ requirements, but this is difficult to do successfully.
Before you can increase your competitive advantage with market sensing, you need to understand the five important concepts that form the acronym D.A.N.C.E.. pmNERDS has a whole course on Market Sensing, but before anymore can be said, market sensing is not a one-man job, you need many different advocates with different points of view… this is a team sport.
D is for Differentiation: You need to impact customers' margins by making the client or customer look good.
A is for Anticipation: Plan to set the bi-directional expectations for your audience and don’t forget to give them increasingly more reason to continue watching.
N is for Nudging: You should plan the desired reaction of activities and leave them wanting more from you in the future.
C is for Cost-Position: Be aware of your cost, time, and effort in relation to the competition. Understanding your position roughly compared to others before hand is imperative to success.
E is for Echo Chamber: Finally, don’t listen to yourself, success means that the idea you sent out comes back to the you from another source.
Market sensing allows you to increase customer loyalty as well as your competitive offerings by successfully building a process to gather and manage the life-cycle of market evidence. Understanding this capability ensures that you won’t have an issue identifying new market opportunities, because you obtained an understanding of your customer needs, rather than just blindly processing ideas. Remember no one wants to drink plastic cough syrup again, so start deducing the meaning and direction from market contradictions and noise as you process various forms of market evidence.