The Truth Behind the Strategic Gap Analysis

Mike Howatt / Strategic Market Research

Identifying marketplace opportunities and exploitable gaps is the goal and challenge of all companies.

A key question to investigate is whether or not your organizational strategy is in full alignment with customer expectations. Uncovering exploitable gaps in the market is a key component of determining a growth strategy.

Strategic gap analysis can provide you with the necessary information to help you to determine “where you are” and “where you want to be.”

No amount of Big Data can conclusively answer all your questions. You need feedback directly from the consumer/end user.

Today’s most progressive insight mining processes are designed to have prospects and customers evaluate your brand and your competitors’ brand in order to gain a true understanding of their perceptions. Additionally well structured research will seek to uncover unmet needs/wants or gaps that can be addressed with product development, service improvements, etc.

The following are some questions/issues you should explore through Gap Analysis insight mining:

  • How well are prospect/customer needs/wants being met by current offerings?
  • What tactical/functional attributes matter most (price, promotion, performance)?
  • What visceral/emotional attributes drive preference (value, trust, service, innovation)?
  • What are the key consideration set dynamics associated with your brand/company?

Strategic gap analysis won’t clearly identify the market’s true needs unless you know how important each element is – how does it affect brand and product perception, and more importantly, purchase behavior.

An area that you excel in may not be very important to consumers, and conversely, areas you lack may be extremely important to them and their decision hierarchy. Differentiating between key factor/attribute importance and ratings will provide the true gaps you need to exploit in determining your company’s growth strategy.