5 Ways to Track Market Trends to Prepare for Earth-Shattering Events
Updated: Aug 18
Right now, everyone wishes they had a crystal ball to figure out what will happen next in the business world. (I do know a few people who have one, so contact me if you are interested.) Whether you have a job or not, understanding the trends that drive markets are critical to being in the right spot when change happens.
1) Read a Newspaper
I am always amazed at how few people regularly read a paper today. If you look at the habits of most successful businesspeople, you will find they start their day with coffee and several newspapers. Maybe it’s because I come from a newspaper publishing family, but I always subscribe to at least one local paper. Most newspapers continue to have a reporter designated to cover business news. In Denver we have The Denver Post and the Denver Business Journal and BusinessDen.com to cover business news. The Sunday Post regularly has stories from its sister paper the Washington Post and there are trend pieces on different industries each week.
2) Markets Impact Markets
As a freelance professional stylist, I carefully watch what is happening with the major department stores such as Nordstrom, as that will impact other companies such as Macy’s and Bloomingdales. Also, Covid-19 is greatly affecting malls, so I am watching the trends in that area. I also read about what is happening with different designers and the impact on their business. Covid-19 hit New York City, the center of fashion in the U.S., so hard. I read about supporting marketing such as the wedding industry, which leads to what is happening in hospitality. I also watch how technology is affecting the fashion market, which is why I reviewed and wrote about Stitch Fix. Markets impact other markets. You have to know which area is expiring and which is growing so you know what skills you need and where the work potentially is moving. Changing locations can be necessary for success in your chosen industry. San Francisco is playing a larger role in fashion and I currently closely follow Real Real, which is based there.
3) Use Online Media Cautiously
Many people rely too heavily on Google Alerts. While I have those set up, their information comes from secondary sources. No company sends a press release to Google. These alerts may send you to the original press release, but there is no research behind that. Business reporters are the ones putting together a story, and I get their insight and contacts when I read a story in a newspaper or magazine. Often, I will follow particular reporters on Twitter to see what interests them.
4) Stock Markets are the Sheep
When I was handling marketing for my second or third VC firm, I learned a valuable lesson -- people in the finance industry are typically sheep. They watch what the market leaders are investing in and look for similar types of companies. That’s why you see a new market sector get hot, because a bunch of VC money is going into several companies.
I always try to follow the top two companies and I determine that based on sales (if I can get that information), investments, investors, the management team and any data from the analyst firms such as Gartner. If a company has a top VC firm such as Kleiner Perkins investing in them, then they are certain to have some type of exit.
Once companies are public, you need to watch the information being released by their investor relations people or agencies. Their job is to drive up the stock price. If it’s going up, why? Same if it’s falling. Also, you can learn about the styles of different CEOs to understand how a company will move. One CEO that’s run several tech companies has the same MO. He always makes cuts to make his number, which usually means laying off people. I like CEOs that want to grow market share. A bit riskier, but it can be a huge gain. How are they growing their market and where? That gives you good insight about the industry trends.
5) Curiosity is Essential
Being a market trend watcher simply means being curious. Spend time every week researching a topic. You can learn a lot in an hour or two. And it’s a far better use of time than playing a video game. If you have any tips on the fashion industry, particularly related to technology, send them my way.