“Look, we’d like to conduct another research study,” says Dan, who is VP Strategy & Marketing of a technology company operating in the automotive sector.
“Whoa! Just a minute!” I interrupt, “first you have to tell me what became of the research we conducted for you three months ago.”
Here’s a little background
We’re talking about a company that is a market leader in its field. It has a global reach and holds a 70%-80% (!) share in the global market.
Despite the company’s leading position in the market, the company’s management finds itself in something of a ‘catch-22’ situation:
On the one hand, the technology developed by the company is proven and has been ubiquitous in the market for decades. However, it’s a technology that is becoming outdated, and new disruptive technologies are appearing. This is why the company had called on me – to examine the new technologies and evaluate their pros and cons. The research we conducted on their behalf was meant to help them understand the competitive environment, to really get to the heart of it, and to examine it in detail for collaboration and/or acquisition potential.
On the other hand, the company has a vast customer base so that the challenge facing the company was not one of new technology alone: It would require great wisdom for the company to deploy new solutions without losing its client base.
It was to this end that Dan, on behalf of the executive, called and asked me to study the players with competing technologies and to fully analyze the competitive environment.
We hit the road in the summer
The first stage was one of planning and focus: in conversations with company management, they shared with me the information they had about the market under discussion.
In the second stage, I kicked off in-depth market research. In this case, the management asked us to identify the names of the players and the technologies these competitors owned. We were asked to drill down and analyze the technological and marketing developments for each of ten competitors over the last three years.
In the concluding discussion with management about the research findings, we discussed the innovative solutions we had identified, looked at the players we had marked as most significant, and who the key people were at each one.
One of the companies we highlighted as a company with an interesting technology, is headquartered in Australia. Here too, we indicated the best person to contact to consider collaboration or acquisition.
Three months had since gone by. Now, when Dan called me about undertaking further research, I wondered whether there had been any new developments from the previous study we’d conducted. Dan gave me an update: “After you presented your research findings, and at your recommendation, we contacted the Australian company you indicated, and we got a very encouraging response – they are interested in seriously examining collaboration opportunities with us.”
What wonderful progress!