What's going on in the world of venture capital?

My new favourite daily newsletter is by CB Insights (https://www.cbinsights.com/). We are living in an era of disruption with massive change occurring in sectors such as health, finance, retail and manufacturing to name a few. CB Insights have their finger firmly on the pulse, with on-point analysis, so that you can keep up. Some info is behind a paywall, but the daily newsletter is free and written in a very entertaining way. Subscribe now!

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Positioning New Zealand

The New Zealand Story (https://www.nzstory.govt.nz/pages/about) was created with extensive input from over 200 leaders from the primary sector, manufacturing, Māori, export industry, education and wider government services to promote New Zealand. Lots of good on-the-ground research here. One report about exporting to Japan reminds Kiwi's to highlight how we excel by being creative and ingenious in primary markets rather than telling them how good we are at supplying agricultural products.

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Being clever

While I prefer the fee-based analyst databases for their search capability, Smarter Analyst (https://www.smarteranalyst.com/) is a great free substitute. The analyst commentaries focus on listed U.S. companies, so the value of this resource is limited somewhat. The plus is that you can see what is happening in this market and how it could translate to where you are. These analysts often have the contacts and intimate knowledge of a market, which means you get the context to fast-forward your understanding of what's going on.

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Leave it to the smartest analyst in the world!

The old adage that if you build it, they will come is an adage that as marketer researchers we simply don’t use. Identifying a buyers' need or pain point first is crucial and then build your product or service around that by understanding what is happening in the marketplace. One of the best tools I’ve found to identify rising trends and consumer digital behaviours is the Think with Google collections of studies, analysis and reports. For example, this month I found data from Google as to what Gen Xers are watching on YouTube (turns out it is nostalgia related videos and commercials); and, the declining trends in skincare (skin bleaching, seaweed lotion and coconut oil body wraps) are all losing popularity!

Case studies, organisational charts, and free market research!

Check out our latest issue of Insights, where you will find out how to get hold of case studies that just might help give you some insight on how to solve a problem, using the benefit of others experience. No need to reinvent the wheel - ha ha!

We also feature a great resource which graphically plots where an executive fits in an organisation. That's always interesting to see who their equals are and who they report to, as you can sometimes get a feel about where the company is positioning itself. Don't forget to also see the link to where you can get some great, free market research. 

How to set up a virtual meet-up for professional groups

As co-chair of the AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) Local Groups team, I recently had an article published in the Association's magazine about how to set up virtual networking groups. It's a great way for solopreneurs to discuss and motivate others, who get what they do, and face the same ups and downs in their businesses. If you'd like to explore how you can set up a virtual group, here's the PDF of my article.

Food grown in New Zealand is the best!

New Zealand is well known for the quality of it's food. It is fresh and consumers enjoy the security that food safety regulations and local provenance gives them. They often know what region the food comes from, and this brings a high level of trust and expectation to support the purchase of products.

A recent survey showed that around 70% have a clear preference to buy food such as vegetables, meat, fruit and milk which are produced in New Zealand. Around 14% of Kiwis buy New Zealand food products because they are proud of what their compatriots have gown, but 59% strongly or somewhat agree that they buy local brands because they want to support NZ business. Sounds like identifying NZ made products is an important branding tool that food producers need to include on their packaging to attract consumers.  

Made in...NZ? Preferences for Local and Global Brands

Focusing on price limits product choice in the long run

In 2015, New Zealand consumers were introduced to 13,984 new branded products. Nielsen found that only 64 (0.4%) had sales over $NZ1 million, with only 7 products being truly innovative new offerings. The rest were just line extensions. Manufacturers seem to be sticking to rather boring ways of growing their market share and in turn, reinforcing price sensitivity. However, smart, nimble small innovators have a chance to grab a slice of the market if they can look at changing demographics and target those with growing populations. Think Chinese, South Korean, Indian and Pacific Island peoples, as well as the growth in millennials and the over-50s.

Successfully using competitive intelligence

A recent article in Harvard Business Review found that 45% of competitive intelligence (CI) findings weren't used when management was making decisions about strategy. However, those companies who used the power of CI for their decision-making had four common factors:

  • The CI analyst was assigned a "sign-off" authority over major decisions.
  • Management was open to perspectives that were different from the internal consensus.
  • The analyst's report called for proactive action more than reaction.
  • The analyst was involved in product launches.

The CI analyst having sign-off for major decisions was the most important factor to getting CI used out of the four reasons above. This would indicate that the CI analyst must sit with the decision-makers and be comfortable debating and influencing others about the CI collected. They can't just drop off the slide deck and leave, but must actively champion the value and opportunity that CI brings, and make it a core component of decisions. They've also got to have "skin in the game", by having their name and research seen to be supporting decisions in a very public way that is accountable. That also helps keep the CI honest and reliable. What's not to like about that!

Avocados and other stuff

Millie is a new market research tool which gives a lot for free. It brings together market research, news, and reports in one place, with the added bonus of a robust search platform which enables you to filter out the info you don't want. When I tested 'Millie' on a search for avocados and the recent price hike, it directed me to a variety of national and international websites explaining the reasons behind the rising cost of this fruit, as well as analysts reports on large scale growers of avocados, and links to further earlier news reports. The result screen is a bit overwhelming to look at to start with, but once you get to grips with it, the information has been nicely curated, and offers text analytics too. One restriction for me was that it only covers eight sectors at the moment, but they are big ones such as food and beverage, health care, energy etc. Millie is a work-in-progress, so this may change, but even as it stands now, it is a pretty good resource for the desk researcher.