Many of the Pithy Sayings I listed in an earlier post mentioned the critical needs to both understand the target market and then to find a customer. So how do you go about doing this?
I have found that two of the best ways to research these topics are Trade Shows and Public Company data.
As far as Trade Shows go, here are a few pointers:
- If you want to find out the key players in a market, just walk around.
- If you want to learn more about a product, just ask any of the sales people staffing the booths. Sales people are always happy to talk to everyone (often without qualifying them as a prospect or competitor first).
- If you want training or more detailed information on a particular subject, there are often seminars or training sessions provided.
- If you are not able to attend in person, you can still review the exhibitor list from the show website afterwards.
- You can sometimes even find copies of the presentations from the training sessions or copies of submitted research papers at the same place.
On the subject of Public Company data, what makes them so great for research?
It is because they have to publically keep their investors up to date on their activities. They do this by creating investor presentations, press releases, and various filing documents that provide a good picture of their markets, competitive landscape, and key customers.
In addition to all the market related data, they also have to report financial information, which includes revenues, margins, cost models, and more. These can be used to validate business case assumptions for profitability and ROI.
The best part is that many of these documents are available for free on the company website and can be used for market intelligence.