Although IT is one of the industries that handled the COVID-19 crisis better, it didn’t emerge unscathed at the end of the year. In terms of revenue, it generated around $4.8 trillion, less than the forecasted $5.2 trillion and, like many other sectors, it had to deal with cutbacks and navigate a series of challenges, such as shifting consumer demands and higher competition.
For 2021, the IT sector is expected to grow by a 4.2% rate and exceed $5 trillion, making it one of the few sectors with an optimistic outlook. However, that doesn’t mean that for IT companies, it will just be smooth sailing from here. If you want to stay profitable and smoothly transition your business into the new era of digital transformation, you need to know the market very well and make informed decisions.
And this is where market research comes in, and knowing how to approach market research is key in unlocking its benefits. When done right, market research can propel your business:
- It gives you a clear overview of your reputation and tells you where you are compared to your competitors
- It identifies potential bottlenecks in your business and helps you address them before they become major problems
- It helps you identify opportunities for growth and find new clients
- It teaches you how to communicate with clients for the best results
- It helps you understand your audience’s attitude towards digital products, and tells you how to shape their experience in the best way possible.
Anticipating customer needs is more important than ever.
According to a recent report, over 80% of businesses will put their IT teams in charge of delivering connected customer experiences. In order to do that, the IT team needs to know their customers and anticipate their needs.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and changing work habits, that may be harder to do than before. The biggest challenge lies in the fact that you may not know from which sector each purchase is coming from. Before the pandemic, the biggest part of technology spending came from the corporate and Government sectors, and only a small percentage came from households (small businesses were included here).
But now, with more and more companies switching indefinitely to remote work, it will be harder to determine which purchases come from households and which from corporate clients. In this context, it’s more important than ever to really know the customer and anticipate their needs.
It’s also important to know where clients are coming from. For example, in countries such as the US, which have a robust infrastructure and already had high levels of tech adoption pre-pandemic, are more likely to need software and cloud solutions. Meanwhile, clients from countries with a lower degree of tech adoption might prefer traditional hardware solutions instead.
It’s also important to point out that client expectations have changed dramatically after the COVID-19 crisis – including in the B2B sector. As they’re struggling with budget cuts and extra pressure, clients demand added value from their partners, as well as extra transparency. Things are also changing in the B2B marketing department, where businesses are waiting for more personalisation, similar to the way things are being done in the B2C sector.
According to a recent report, most B2B customers feel that the marketing messages they receive aren’t designed for the customer. In fact, 53% of respondents said that they were frustrated by the number of irrelevant marketing messages they received, and 35% felt that the B2B marketing messages they received were too impersonal and didn’t cater to their needs.
Use market research to make safe investment decisions.
Apart from the continued effects of the COVID-19 crisis, unexpected shock is the biggest factor that could impact growth for IT companies in 2021. Although anticipating this kind of shock may seem impossible, you can actually estimate what challenges await you down the line, at least to a certain degree.
By working with a team of professionals such as Savanta Research, you can find out what challenges your business could face, and more importantly, what you can do to overcome them. For example, you can get detailed market insights to find out who you can keep your existing customer base satisfied, and how you can successfully reach new customer segments.
For 2021, most IT companies are expected to bet on the increasing popularity of digital transformation, and the strategy isn’t wrong. According to Salesforce data, IT projects are expected to grow by 40%. However, you need to find out what strategy works specifically for your business and where you should invest for long term results.
Through market reach, you can find out where the safest investments lie: improving internal operations, selling new products, investing more in marketing, hiring new talent, and so on.
Understand the context around the data
In 2021, data is everywhere, and in incredible amounts. As an IT company, you have more data at your disposal than ever before but, to use all this data to your advantage, you also need to understand the context around it. For instance, you may be tempted to take that free report that Google produced for you – but does it paint a full picture of who your clients are and what they expect from you? Probably not.
For best results, you should work with a team of professional data analysts who can understand the data in the context in which it is presented to you, and give detailed insights that you can use in day-to-day operations. What’s more, by working closely with an analyst, you can discuss important aspects, such as their methodology and the ways in which you can implement the findings of market research.