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In creating and growing markets, leaders deeply understand their customers' needs-both practical and emotional. They comb through demographic data. Many have full-time economists tracking and predicting the next upturn or downturn. They are always on the alert for the next disruption in their industry.
In addition to absorbing quantitative and analytical information, leading companies really try to get into the head of their customer-what is referred to as the market psyche. An example of market psyche is the uncertainty of the economy impacting people's attitudes towards luxury items, discount stores, and other buying patterns. Understanding the psyche of the market is just as important as all of the statistics in predicting, capturing, and growing market share. Increasingly, marketers are turning to blogs, social networks, and online forums to read the pulse of the market.
The best companies put all of these together to create their own independent assumptions about their markets: what factors are affecting the overall market and their share; what will drive sales; what items will be hot sellers, which will be dogs, and why. These market assumptions form the foundation of the firm's strategies for predicting and driving growth for the future.
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