You may have thought this article was about Artificial Intelligence tools.  It isn’t – though we are champions of AI’s use in strategic marketing endeavors. 

Instead, we want to show you how our foundational tools have been instrumental in forecasting significant market shifts in several B2B industries. You can leverage these tools too; they require no mathematical or software skills — just the discipline to use them and a desire to be customer-centric in outmaneuvering competitors. 

The Rise of the Magic Weight Loss Pill: Ozempic

Prediction and Insight

It was bound to happen, the emergence of Ozempic, a revolutionary weight loss drug.  In pushing our bariatric medical device clients to properly use our Competitor Identification tool, they often expressed exasperation with us.

“You need to consider a broader set of technologies and competitors that can transform your industry, not just ‘like’ competitors,” we would admonish.  “Are you telling me someone is going to come up with a magic weight loss pill?” we heard many times over the years. 

Tools Utilized

Our Competitor Identification tool may be our simplest framework, but many underrate it.  Smart executives that should have their eyes on the horizon are surprised constantly by new competitors.  And when you consider that food and clothing companies —and even airlines — are being impacted by Ozempic, you will understand that you need to be broader in your thinking, strategizing and preparing for trends than ever before.

Impact and Lessons

By encouraging clients to think beyond direct competitors and consider how disruptive innovations might satisfy currently unmet needs, our tools provided a framework to foresee and prepare for significant industry shifts. This case emphasizes the importance of both considering customer frustrations with current solutions (our Benefits Ladder tool) and adopting a wide lens in competitive analysis (our Competitor ID tool) to predict potential game-changers entering into the market.

The Pandemic Darling’s Downfall: Peloton

Prediction and Insight

During the pandemic, companies like Peloton experienced a surge in popularity. However, our tools indicated potential cracks in Peloton’s business model. By monitoring pricing strategies, market behaviors, and the re-emergence of traditional gyms, we foresaw a downturn in Peloton’s fortunes.  (Peloton article link

Tools Utilized

Our pricing tools flagged key indicators such as the significant price drop of Peloton bikes even as it seemed that the brand was still delivering large value to a legion of fans. Additionally, our segmentation analysis challenged Peloton’s market positioning with customers who valued the social aspect of gym memberships, and those who need to go somewhere else besides home to work out.  This allowed us to anticipate the competitive pressures that would come from traditional gyms and alternative fitness solutions.

Impact and Lessons

Despite Peloton’s attempts to diversify and partner with brands like Lululemon, their stock price plummeted from $35 to $6. Businesses must continually challenge and validate market positions using tools that monitor the changing needs of emerging customer segments. This isn’t easy to do, but our needs-based segmentation framework, along with our perceived value analysis (PVA) pricing tool have proven to be highly predictive.

Disney+ and the Streaming Wars: A Strategic Shift

Prediction and Insight

Disney’s decision to launch Disney+ and compete directly in the streaming market highlighted another trend that has been taking shape for some time now:  more B2B technical products investing in reaching end users to create “pull-through” demand.   

Yes, Disney is largely a consumer company, but they could have licensed their content to Netflix or some other established streaming platform.  But they decided to go to the difficulty of launching their own direct platform. 

Our respect for Disney, along with our own weekly discussions with companies in industrial B2B businesses was enlightening to us.  It showed that even in complex B2B markets, end-users growing influence was warranting some investment.  Even companies that made complex wound care products that used to be only known by medical professionals where investing in end-user brand identification campaigns. 

Tools Utilized

Our stakeholder analyses with our clients showed that no matter what business we were working in, end-users were steadily gaining influencing power.  We predicted that Disney’s direct-to-consumer strategy was a sign that other businesses were soon going to adopt direct models, creating new competitive dynamics in many industries.

Impact and Lessons

Our own experience in workshops with B2B companies proves to us on a weekly basis that this B2B trend will continue.  In addition, data from Shopify, Cognism and eMarketer suggest that spending by B2Bs on direct-to-end-user advertising is growing.  This case underscores the importance of examining this trend in your industry, and deciding if now is the time for you and your company to invest in end-user awareness (it probably is.) 

The Power of Predictive Tools in Navigating Market Trends

These case studies highlight how foundational predictive tools can be highly accurate in identifying and preparing for market trends. Our analytical tools, such as trend analysis, stakeholder mapping, and needs-based segmentation, provide a structured approach to analyzing changing dynamics and their potential impacts on various stakeholders.

Apply these foundational tools and ask three critical questions of the output —“What’s happening? So what? Now what?”  The answers will help you predict the future, anticipate new customer needs, navigate uncertainties and stay ahead of your competition.

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