Identifying new marketing opportunities and trends isn’t always straightforward, especially if you want to become a leader in your industry, and not spend your time playing catch-up with your competition.

However, there are some ways to identify new opportunities without breaking the bank with innovation or creating something brand new. Below, we explore seven ways to identify marketing opportunities for businesses:

1. Revisit your buyer persona

Established businesses will already have a clear buyer persona they have in mind when thinking about their sales, marketing and communications strategies.

Why not check in with your buyer persona, and think about how they spend their day. Are they scrolling through Reddit, looking at YouTube or posting on LinkedIn? Are they networking, visiting events or busy travelling overseas? By thinking about how your buyer persona spends each day, their working hours and their leisure time, you may be able to identify additional channels (both traditional and digital) or missed opportunities for your marketing.

2. Keep an eye on the competition

One of the best ways of gauging what your competitors are up to is by performing industry benchmarking. By looking at standard practice in your industry as well as the behaviour of the big players in your market, this will help to highlight missed marketing opportunities.

Another method is to create a SWOT analysis. A good SWOT analysis allows you to break down the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your competitors. You can use a SWOT matrix to look at the business as a whole, or monitor individual aspects such as products, brand or marketing. Not only does this give you a clear overview of their activity, but it also will allow you identify industry trends, and to spot opportunities where gaps can be seized by your business.

3. Speak to your current customers

One of the easiest ways to engage your current customers while gathering insights is to ask for feedback from them. The feedback process doesn’t have to be time-consuming, and you can even create an incentive to encourage them to participate via remote interview, questionnaire or online survey. Here are some topics that you might ask about to help you identify additional marketing opportunities:

  • Favourite social media channels and usage
  • Preferred methods of contact (such as email, text, WhatsApp)
  • Frequency of networking and event attendance
  • Industry magazines/publications
  • Stand-out marketing campaigns they’ve seen recently

4. Gather feedback from your ex-customers

Speaking to customers who have left can be painful, but you can use their insights to try to reduce churn rates and dissatisfaction going forward.

By creating an exit-survey or interviewing ex-prospects, you can start to identify the areas where you fall short across your business, as well as finding out how they found you initially will help you to understand the strengths and weakness of your current marketing strategy; allowing you to spot trends and make changes as necessary.

5. Look for indirect opportunities

Consider teaming up with businesses that offer complementary services to your own product or service offering. Often, businesses work in partnership with other brands to create cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Beyond this, having another business sell and market your products to their current customer base can be a really effective method of boosting your marketing, customer base and sales – after all, referrals are a very powerful (and cost-effective) acquisition strategy.

Another option is to consider your own business model and product offering, can you expand this yourself? You will want to ensure that any expansion is still relevant to your current core market, but this will give you opportunities to cross-sell, upsell and gather new customers yourselves. New products launches are also a great excuse to revamp and up the ante on your marketing, and to get in touch with previous customers and ex-customers alike.

6. Analyse regions

Don’t forget to look beyond your own region or country when analysing other businesses. Think beyond your front door – foreign markets may have an emerging market similar to yours, or even a more established industry than your own which can give you marketing insights and even an indication of the future way forward for your own business. Again, analysing foreign markets can also give you additional routes for partnership opportunities

7. Learn from other industries

Remember that your audience will be getting advertised to left, right and centre from businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries. Take some time to look outside your sector and immediate competition, and think about some of the successful marketing campaigns from other industries –even the ones that have impressed you personally as a consumer.

To conclude, looking for marketing inspiration can come from your competition, other industries, from other countries and even your own experiences as a consumer. By adopting industry benchmarking and competitor analysis techniques, you can keep an eye on your competitors’ marketing, and find marketing opportunities to seize for your own business.