I am traveling with my artist husband, Rodgers this week so I am writing from Rockport which is a charming art town by the Gulf in South Texas. Since we live in the mountains of Colorado, the ocean beckoned us in between Rodgers’ art shows in Houston. How can you go wrong hanging out in the friendly state of Texas?! Last weekend was Houston’s Bayou City Art Festival. This weekend is the Woodlands Waterway Art Festival about 40 miles North of Houston.
I was going to take the rest of this week off from blogging, but I have been inspired by my customer, who works in the industrial space manufacturing products and their main factory and R&D facility are US based. If that isn’t unusual enough, they have hired me to help improve their competitive intelligence process, and improve their sales intelligence by getting Sales to capture competitor data, market intelligence, new technology (CTI) and ideas for product and service development. This is not a Fortune 500 company, but they are the market leader in their space, and after talking to their leadership and hearing their drive, I am not surprised!
Folks, they aren’t missing a beat in this depression or whatever you want to call these rocky economic times. They are introducing new products, in fact a new technology that will be disruptive in their industry since it can be installed without shutting down the customer’s machinery! They are adding new services to their product line, which are services the customer used to do themselves. However, with all the outsourcing that goes on today, many customers had outsourced these services to contractors, who are not as skilled in providing these services as my customer would be.
The message here is do an opportunity analysis. These are tough times for sure. Study what your customers are going through and how they’re being impacted. This might be the perfect time to introduce a disruptive technology, especially if it saves the customer money or is easier to install and maintain than the “old” technology. It could be that there are more services you can offer your customers today since they’ve reduced their staff in areas where you are very qualified to step in.
Here’s an example in my trade, competitive intelligence. I notice many companies are downsizing their research and library functions. This is an opportunity for competitive intelligence professionals to add competitor, market trends and technology monitoring to your marketing mix. It’s a complementary skill to what we already do, and I see the demand rising.
So what are you going to offer your customers that they will value in these tough times?