How to use data to anticipate trends?

It’s impossible to market today without relying on data. Everything that works today and everything that will work in the future needs them. Finding that “future” is what every brand seeks: to identify success and prepare for it before any competitor. Is it then possible to use the data also to anticipate trends?

Briefly, the answer is “yes”. But to achieve this, it is necessary to be clear that there is no ready-made formula and there is a need to commit a lot of work based on two pillars: public and market data.

First, ask yourself what is a trend for you. You see, if your business has as its target audience a group of people who do not use a certain social network, what is its real impact on your strategy, even if it is booming among other audiences? That’s not to say you shouldn’t pay attention to it, including to expand your reach, but there are other new things coming up all the time that can make a lot more sense to your customers.

It is from them that the first wave of information comes. These can be collected through your website’s Analytics, social media, landing pages, marketing emails and various other touch points. It is not just a matter of knowing the basics, such as the age group and gender of users, for example, but of identifying the predominant behavior. Which pages on the site are accessed the most? How long does the user remain there? Which posts have the highest or lowest viewing? And what kind of content brings engagement? In the case of online stores, which items are usually left in the cart? There is data to discover all this and more.

Then it’s time to look at the other side of the equation: the market. To be aware of what is happening in your area of ​​expertise, it is essential to keep an eye on surveys and reports produced by specialized companies. It is also possible to implement internal market recognition processes, if there is a team for this. In any case, looking outside is more complicated than looking inside, so I believe that the ideal is to have experts in digital strategies.

With market and audience data in hand, it’s time to cross-check the information. Although the external elements are limited, if you can gather enough knowledge of your bases, you can get closer to anticipating trends.

Imagine, for example, discovering that your short videos on Instagram are the most successful. At the same time, it’s important to know that there are constant efforts in the technology market to develop a great new social network. It is likely that a company or developer will also identify the preference for short videos and apply it to a new idea — which will impact its audience, because it has already shown an interest in this content format.

The vision applies to niche trends as well. Think of a paint brand that noticed the high engagement of its audience with digital solutions, such as the possibility of “painting” the walls of a virtual house, for example. In this market, more and more applications are being created to improve the experience of these virtual tests. Why not create an augmented reality app to apply the already popular concept inside consumers’ own homes, with your brand’s exclusive paints, to enhance the user experience? Some companies tried the model and it was successful.

Some new developments shake everyone in unpredictable ways when they emerge, but they can be watched closely when they still have undiscovered potential. A number of factors help shape the impact of something new, including the amount of investment, which usually only happens when there is interest from large companies. But the fact is that large companies are also keeping an eye on this data.

So, even if it’s just to monitor, be sure to try to anticipate trends in your market. The world is going faster and faster. Don’t get left behind.

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André Palis, columnist of TechWorld, I used to work at Google before starting an undertaking. He founded Raccoon in 2013, in São Carlos, an important technology hub in the State of São Paulo, and in 8 years acquired the portfolio of major market players, such as Vivara, Natura, Leroy Merlin and Nubank. In 2013, he noticed a gap in the digital market, resigned from Google and, together with Marco Túlio Kehdi, founded Raccoon, a full service agency that acts as a strategic partner in the entire digital chain. In 2021, Raccoon underwent a merger process and is now part of the global holding company S4 Capital.

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