Some of our projects focused on niches (prison telecon) and others were more broad (automotive aftermarket, Hispanic banking behavior). No two Sharp Market Intelligence projects are alike, but many have the all the elements of a good detective novel. Our goal is to deliver current evidence and avoid surprises, providing accurate and sufficient input for growth decisions.
Situation: A client’s new division was preparing a marketing plan which targeted three industries they believed would be most interested in their services. They wanted verification before investing in a full-blown marketing campaign.
Findings: While the first two industries were strong candidates for the future, the third industry offered an opportunity for immediate sales. However, the client had underestimated the size of the total market. Not only was the prospect pool larger, but many of these businesses would need continuing services, and could prove quite important in PR value. This finding helped the client to realize that they would have to hire and train far more staff and, with the demands of this industry, they might not have the resources to service the other two industries.
Action: After additional study and confirmation, our client rewrote their marketing plan to reflect our findings. The client saved money and time, and was able to preempt the competition.
Situation: Successful Mexican company planning to expand business by expanding to US. Stated two differentiators/competitive advantages.
Findings: Numerous conversations with distributors, competitors, and customers revealed that neither differentiator would accomplish what company expected, and assumptions were erroneous. They didn’t understand their new market and expected past successes to yield similar success.
Action: We detailed several options for entering the market, with greater likelihood of success, although the initiatives would be smaller and take longer to accomplish.
Situation: A food manufacturer needed to spark the creative process to develop a breakthrough flavor for a specific product category.
Findings: By consulting with food editors, critics, writers, restaurants, world-renowned chefs, food clubs, flavor developers, as well as industry publications and associations, we identified changing food preferences, including taste shifts that occur during either recessions and expansive economic times. We offered numerous examples of how tastes and products could be used in non-traditional ways once the product was established to further expand its usage.
Action: By the time new flavors were created, a recession had begun. Armed with information from our report on consumers’ volatile changes in taste during these periods, the client chose a more appropriate direction. They enjoyed rousing success with a new product with unusual flavors and multiple applications.
Situation: A financial services company had entered a seemingly “hot” arena, but was unable to make headway in attracting customers and reducing costs. They needed to bridge their information gap in order to improve their strategic planning.
Findings: This new business segment attracted competition from six different industries. A further complication was the several competitors within each of those industries, plus numerous alliances among various industries. Additionally, the client base was vastly different from those usually serviced by the company, with a vastly different culture that would be difficult to penetrate.
Action: Thanks to our extensive fact-finding and in depth interviews, our client recognized that profitability in this new market was a long shot. They chose to cut their losses early.
Situation: The client wanted to improve their corporate communications to keep their name in front of the public; to showcase their good deeds; and to keep customers in the loop by advising them of services of which they may be unaware.
Findings: We investigated four possible communication methods, including matrices on advantages and disadvantages, experiences of other companies, trends, potential complications, and complexities associated with each approach.
Action: Client was able to eliminate two of the four areas, and focus on the remaining two to achieve their objectives.
Situation: An open-minded and forward-thinking Japanese car company was looking to diversify their capabilities and wanted information and direction about technologies that customers were most likely to use ten years from now. They assumed it would be easier to adapt non-industry products to their automobile business rather than looking for technologies that specifically related to their industry.
Findings: We consulted with innovative labs, corporations known for big-picture thinking, authors, futurists, alternative thinkers, reporters, technology gurus, and others to find a common thread. We organized the resulting intelligence by how the developments were likely to play out.
Action: Once the client’s ambitious diversification plans were validated by market intelligence, the company became aggressive in expanding beyond their industry by pursuing the technologies we singled out for their growth and profit potential in the next decade.
Situation: The client selected three possible targets for acquisition and needed financial, operational, marketing and other information to narrow the field.
Findings: We found the specific data they requested, along with a SWOT analysis. We also provided information on the reputations of the companies to be acquired, and gauged their willingness to sell.
Action: Client decided that two of the companies were strong candidates, although both had unexpected weaknesses. They committed to further investigation of the two firms and considered expanding the original list of candidates.
Situation: A company planned to distribute a self-help video but wondered why no similar products were using the marketing method they had selected.
Findings: Their assumptions about the distribution channel were wrong—on several levels. We outlined how their assumptions were faulty; why their competitors had not chosen their marketing method; examples of comparable methods that had proven successful, and other examples that they could modify.
Action: They decided to form an alliance with a company that had demonstrated success in their target market.
Situation: The client knew they needed to leverage their costly R&D investment by finding alternative uses for their technology and products. Employees had offered ideas for commercial applications for existing products, but the client couldn’t determine the potential.
Findings: In our first phase of research, we investigated three products and provided a profile of each of the industries served by these products, including sales, profits, growth trends, competitors, distribution, customer base, etc.
Action: The client decided that going it alone into the unfamiliar territory of the commercial arena was too risky. However, purchasing or aligning with a marketing firm would let them cash in on the enormous potential of their technologies.
Situation: A non-profit organization was planning a new alliance and wanted to be as certain that their new partner was everything they claimed to be.
Findings: Our due diligence included reviewing public records (online and manual) about the company and their major executives. We directed our client’s attention to specific entries that warranted further discussion with their potential partner.
Action: Our thorough investigation revealed no untoward information, thereby enabling the client to proceed with confidence.
Situation: Our biomedical client was preparing a strategic plan and needed to compare their market position to that of their competitors.
Findings: We investigated the top eight competitors, and took a comprehensive approach by also targeting suppliers and customers for our research efforts. In addition to the specific data that the client requested, we captured and organized other valuable information into reports on how each of the companies and their customers perceived themselves and each other. Our client was shocked to find—industry perspective notwithstanding—customers viewed the product as a commodity and had little interest in what the client thought was important.
Action: The client became more objective about their strengths and weaknesses and realized their perspective was too insular. As a result, they undertook even greater research and successfully changed their strategy to reflect the realities of the market.
Investigations in more than 200 industries
We have completed investigations in more than 200 industries. Most are B2B, with the remaining B2C and nonprofit segments. Our expertise in knowing how and where to uncover the objective and current information you seek, which is not always uncovered by industry experts. This includes external factors impacting your business such as other industries, unexpected customers who don’t fit the target profile and unknown or unconsidered outside influences.
Adult and executive education
Alternative materials for faucets
Christian music and subscription clubs
Future of golf industry
Glues and adhesives
Health benefits management
Home testing medical kits
Improving the shopping experience
Law enforcement equipment and clothing
Logos in non-English languages
Luxury and exotic travel
Marketing to women
New media training
Physical and occupational therapy
Regional specialty foods
Reusables (bottles and containers)
Rotomolded water tanks
Semiconductor wafer handling equipment
Video coaching services
Web-based vehicle history reports
Weight management programs