The claims of the pending demise of the analyst business have oft been repeated over the years but a simple trip to Research and Markets website shows otherwise. Yet,why so many Chicken Littles? Is it because of all of the free information out there? Is it because with social media the market doesn’t need market research reports or analyst services? Or is it because the emergence of China and India as report producers means US and European firms cannot compete? Or is it that as China and India continue to develop their economies the opportunities for selling reports and other services will only continue to diminish? Or is it rather a case that the providers are out of touch with the way the world exists with respect to content creation delivery? Or are all of these claims of pending doom born out of ongoing frustration by the buyers over what is and isn’t available?
So Some Good News:
My belief is that the business isn’t going to go away. Yes, firms will decay and die and new ones will emerge and technologies and markets will continue to follow their own life cycles but the need to provide quality insights remains. I think it best to ignore the notion that the world has evolved past the point of needing analysts and report/content providers. If anything the noise has become even more amplified as we contend with an advancing social world and the emergence of big data. And in the age of content marketing, companies are burying us with glorified advertorial that unsuspecting, uninformed or naïve people accept as accurate when it isn’t.
But ignore the warning signs at your peril….
The markets that you serve have different needs. And they are being bombarded with more and more content noise. Your challenge is in how you bring not only what you can uniquely provide to the right audience but fill the gaps in a credible fashion.
What part of the business is your firm in? Are you the throwback report producing firm that sells content by the pound? A glorified internet scraper that rewrites, rehashes and recycles? Are you one of the influencers straddling the line between the producer/providers and the consumer/producers? Are you a counter? A commentator? Prognosticator? Fortune teller? Some or all of the above? Maybe something I missed?
And perhaps it is time for you to consider how you evolve your business. Should you produce more of what you do well at? Do you try to do it a bit differently to appeal to other buyers? Do you acquire other businesses or perhaps strategically partner? And then, can you convince the buyers that your evolution is worth paying for?
Smart firms evolve and remain viable and vibrant. Those that don’t fail at some point, perhaps managing to eke out a meager existence before the end comes. If you can point to 4-5 significant efforts that you have undertaken to refine, redefine, disrupt or reinvent your business within the past 18 months then you are doing something right. Maybe the outcome hasn’t produced the results, yet, but you are at least engaged. If you are still doing it the way you have always done it in one form or another then here’s hoping you didn’t renew your lease for another 5 year commitment.
But, something for firms to keep in mind:
- Do you have a content strategy for your marketing efforts?
- Have you introduced new content products? Maybe new formats at least?
- Have you taken steps (or at least contemplated how) to refine your engagements with the market?
- Are you investing in or finding ways to bring Millennials into key roles in your content production and dissemination processes?
- Are you challenging yourself by asking your customers where you aren’t getting it done?
- And do you have a strategy to cope with firms operating in low cost production zones that sell products for the same (or even higher) prices as you but for 1/4th the cost?