Using Market Intelligence as your Strategic Weapon


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Continued intelligence on your industry is crucial to maintaining your start-up’s competitive edge. Using market intelligence as your strategic weapon means knowing which key information sources to tap into and, more crucially, how to evaluate and use the market intelligence that you find to your company’s best advantage. This presentation will explore not only the types of information sources you should be aware of, but also tips for using the information in order to keep your company one step ahead of your competitors.

Part of the MaRS Best Practices Series - with speaker Usha Srinivasan, Director of Market Intelligence at MaRS.

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Using Market Intelligence as your Strategic Weapon

  1. 1. Price point Brand differences - recognition - Compare prices Which brand & between model? products Product Customer voice differentiators - - Ask your Warranty & Free friends & family refills, Services Product design Value chain - differences - What is Visit a couple of appealing and is different stores there variety? or online
  2. 2. Entrepreneur who Trying to be “Jack of is from academia All Trades” vs. private sector Looking for financiers Emotional before thinking attachment affects through their business “time to market” model Not open to Too open to anyone’s advice everyone’s advice
  3. 3. Competitors – Customers – local & global local & global EcoWater, Cuno Their needs are Brita, GE/Zenon different & water Alticor (Amway) quality is different Culligan, Woojin Coway Distribution Highly channel is competitive extremely pricing & complex – business models Online, through distributors, water - Rental & direct depots sales or MLM
  4. 4. Where am I going to sell (geography)? How What am I going to sell is the size of my (business and market? pricing models)? Who Which am I competing Successful Launch industry am I with (technology/ selling into? company)?
  5. 5. Questions to ask: -Is my technology really disruptive? -Who is my direct competitor at my price point? -Does my competitor have a diversified portfolio? How to find the answers: 1.  Consider patent or prior art searches – Public databases like USPTO or WIPO, or paid databases like Delphion or Total Patents 2.  Understand your position in the “value chain” 3.  Conduct a SWOT analysis To determine your competitive edge 4.  Compare product/technology capability/claims: use product brochures from trade shows or product claims from websites
  6. 6. Favourable Unfavourable Strengths Weaknesses I Capabilities? Gaps in capabilities? n Competitive advantage? Lack of competitive t USP’s? Price, value, strengths? e quality? Experience, knowledge, data? Financials? Cashflow, r start-up cash drain? n Resources, assets and people? Location and Accreditations? a geographical? Processes and systems l etc.? Opportunities E Threats Competitors x vulnerabilities? Industry Legislative effects? t or lifestyle trends? Global Environmental effects? e influences? Competitor intentions? Vital contracts and r Niche target markets? partners? Loss of key n Partnerships, agencies, staff? Sustainable a distribution? Tactics – financial backing? l major contacts?
  7. 7. -What is my potential market vs addressable market? (i.e. What is realistic vs. what you wish it to be) -What is my market share among competitors? -What is my market share in Canada/Ontario? 1.  Consult market reports from multiple vendors 2.  Be clear about the “definition” used 3.  Sizing the market in publicly traded vs. privately held companies: a. Bottom up method – aggregate revenues of all players –Tier 1, 2 or 3 – You are likely in Tier 3 b. Look at annual reports, tax filings, press releases, etc. for private held companies 4.  Market sizing at regional levels is more logical – NA, EU, Asia, Middle East 5.  Ultimately make realistic assumptions!!
  8. 8. -Should I be selling my products outside of North America? -What are the cultural & gender preferences or differences in that market? -What are the regulations? -What partnerships do I need? 1.  Consult reports on customer preference and behavioral changes – Frost & Sullivan, Datamonitor, Forrester, Industry Associations 3.  Use social media to your advantage – E.g.. P&G’s teenage feedback on feminine hygiene products through social media sites 3.  Consider focus groups or expert advisory panel discussions before developing a product – e.g. Refined data solutions 4.  Tap into Canadian Trade Commissioners office (DFAIT) in other countries
  9. 9. -Who has the most innovative business model out there? i.e. Can I apply those best practices? -What is my pricing structure? -What is my revenue model? -Should I white label or license? 1.  Use focus groups to determine price points 2.  Give consideration to geographic location before pricing your product 3.  Consider “white labeling” to tap into a manufacturers with name recognition in your market 4.  Consider licensing if multiple manufacturers and geographies are involved
  10. 10. Should I be selling this to the DOD instead of healthcare? Are barriers to entry low in certain verticals? Less regulations, price agnostic ? Could that be my first entry point before I tackle another vertical? Should I target government or the private sector? 1.  Understand the vertical markets of your competitors and target least competitive verticals 2.  Are there any investments happening in a particular sector, government agency or country that could be an advantage? a. After 9/11 and recent incidences in NY – increase in security technologies b. Cleantech - Ontario’s Green Energy Act and FIT program in bringing in investor into the province; China investing $5 B in cleantech in next 3 years
  11. 11. Is there really a market need here? Whether the answer is a “Go” or “No go” understanding your market / customer / industry dynamics will be key.
  12. 12. Tips to be on top of things : 1.  Attend industry events/trade shows 2.  Subscribe to relevant industry journals/ newsletters 3.  Track industry analysts – through research publications, blogs etc. 3. Explore “Vendor Briefings” a. They are usually free of cost b. Your company may be profiled in their research c. Be top of mind with analysts by sending them pertinent news
  13. 13. Provide M Advisory/ R Mentoring services P Ontario Market/ Entrepreneurs Competitive S Intelligence ICT e Life Sciences r Cleantech v Educational Physical Sciences & i content Social Purpose c e s Seed Money
  14. 14.   Who is eligible? Start ups that are < $1 Million in revenues &/or < $2 Million in investments (total raised)   What are some exceptions?   There may be Biotech company with >$ 2 M in investments but have no revenues   A professor or student entrepreneur who has not set up a company but has an innovative technology or product to commercialize (may or may not be patented)   Who is absolutely not eligible?   Anyone with >$ 2 M in revenues or > $ 3 Million in investment (total raised)   Any VC’s or investors   Advisors or EIR’s personal interest projects
  15. 15.   In the past one year MI team received 981 requests from 796 companies/ entrepreneurs and provided a total of approximately 4,584 research reports to the entrepreneurs.   Industry breakup of the requests received is as shown in the chart. Life Science and ICT requests are at 33 % and 48.5.0 % respectively followed by Cleantech & Physical sciences at 16 %, SIG clients at 2.4%.
  16. 16. Ontario Commercialization Network Uptake Analysis
  17. 17. 1. Access to reports from 20 databases 2. Access to industry analysts through inquiry time Industry specific vendors Multiple Industry coverage vendors IDC Forrester Frost & Sullivan Gartner BCC Research Lux Research Total Patents Cleantech Group Datamonitor Thomson Pharma Aggregator of other Venture Source MedTrack vendor resources Innography Business Insights Recap Dialog Pro Market Research Factiva Key: Red – ICT Green – Cleantech & Nanotech Blue – Life Sciences
  18. 18. Life Sciences George Botos – BEng, MSc, PMP, MBA (candidate) – pharma, healthcare June Avila – BSc, MISt Information Communication Technology (ICT) Tim Tang – MBET, BASc - digital media, software, mobile apps, wireless Helen Kula – HBA, MISt Cleantech and Physical Sciences Usha Srinivasan PhD – water, waste and remediation Jesika Briones- Industrial engineering, McMaster XCEE MSc graduate MaRS Innovation and Tech Transfer offices Sherry Mao – BEng, MISt
  19. 19. Usha Srinivasan PhD Director of Market Intelligence Market Readiness Program MaRS Discovery District T 416-673-8144 E W pg 27