By Craig Neugeboren & Scott Papich

Scott and I met on a random ski day up in Eldora through a mutual friend, who is always looking to introduce people with common interests and personalities. He knew about Scott’s business as well as mine, and he’s like, “Hey, you guys should talk because you’re both focused on the outdoor industries.” I actually think he was sitting in between us on a chair lift when that conversation happened.  Boy, I long for those shoulder to shoulder days again . . . 

Hey, Scott, what do you do? Hey, Craig, what do you do? I’m like, “Oh, trademarks and branding.” He’s like, “Oh, I deal with brands too. How do you deal with it?” So, we got chatting.

We ended up meeting again at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show and talked about how we might collaborate. Scott does analytics and market intelligence to help a company identify where they should be focusing their marketing efforts, who their customer base is, and other forward-looking aspects relating to business trajectories. Whereas we are assisting clients in protecting the more concrete parts of a brand, it’s typically during that company’s life cycle when the two of us are usually interfacing with the client.  

We at Neugeboren O’Dowd are always telling our clients that the branding piece of their business is something that they should be thinking about early in their development. Scott’s company, Outside Intelligence, gives intelligence to the company’s roadmap so that they’re not just swatting at flies trying to figure out who their customer base is and where their branding efforts should be focused. 

While Scott is helping build the brand recognition, we at NOD are protecting brand recognition. We do different things, but it’s generally on the same timeline. We are both working with clients at an early stage of brand development to make sure companies are on track when they grow their market share. This positioning makes it easier to refer clients to each other and recommend each other’s businesses. 

When a client asks for someone that can help interpret their analytics and enhance their marketing – we can send them over to Scott when Scott’s clients need to register IP. He refers them to us. There is a little overlap in what we do. How a company uses its trademark is vital to how NOD files the trademark application. For Scott’s team, understanding the target market, the customer base, and the product is essential. With this collaboration, we can be a better service provider to our clients by pointing them in the right direction.

Helpful Data

When helping my clients, the most critical data is when you identify a target market with the level of specificity that Scott can provide. This data helps me in the procurement of the trademark and the enforcement of the trademark. To be able to watch out for competitors, really understand who competitors are, and what those companies are doing is essential. 

If we’re going to do a clearance search for the company, having competitive information about your client helps to narrow the critical risks out there. This data will help me identify direct competitors and look at those competitors in detail before assisting a client in choosing their brand. With this intelligence, I can make sure we stay away from these competitors. When you can consider those competitors ahead of time, it prevents you from stepping on a direct competitor’s toes.

Related: Is it Worth the Hassle to Protect Your Cannabis Brand?

Let me hand it over to Scott to explain a little more about what he does and how market intelligence can improve your brand.

Scott Papich – Outside Intelligence:

Brands want actionable data that they can use to strategize against the competition and to improve their sales and profitability. Not all companies invest in access to market data, and those that do, many do not harvest enough value out of their data.

Companies want to know: What is the actual size of our market? What’s the real potential revenue we should be planning for? What are the actual retail selling prices of the products, and the overall categories we’re selling? How does that compare with competing products from other brands? Who are the top three brands in our market, and how exactly does the market-share break down? And how much is each point of market-share worth, in both retail and wholesale dollars? You can determine the real answers when you have solid market data with a little experienced interpretation and logical analysis. 

Brands and businesses want to take care of the customers they already know about, target the customers they are reaching out to, and find the customers that fit their brand. This customer acquisition goal holds for business to consumer (B2C), direct to consumer (D2C), and business to business (B2B) companies. 

Brands often make assumptions about who the top two or three brands are that they compete with, or what the top-selling products are within their competitive space. Many brands think that because their products sell in a particular pattern over the course of months and seasons, the entire market sells that way. But such is not always the case. Decision-makers have plenty of anecdotal info, so they think they know how consumers behave, but it’s eye-opening to see the real data. Once you see how your sales fit within the total market, and how you compare versus your competitors, you uncover opportunities.

Breaking Down Your Data

After seeing real patterns and anomalies in the market data, new questions arise. What’s making this happen, and what’s driving that trend? Why do customers spend their money on this and not on that? Why does this pattern concentrate in one month when the year before it happened in another month? Why did consumers switch brands during a particular month or season? The answers to these questions help brands make marketing decisions, product decisions, selling decisions, distribution decisions — decisions essential to gaining market share. 

Example: a well-known sports apparel brand had no idea that it had lost its number one market share position until it examined 3rd party market data. The data was laid out in a graph showing how brand sales compared over time. The client brand assumed that, because their sales were flat, probably all consumers were simply buying fewer gloves. However, the market data raised questions around specific styles or items within the category and price points. 

What ensued was a thorough review of that brand’s glove category. They brought in and tore apart a dozen different products from competitors to better understand what they could improve. They studied the data for price points and consumer purchasing seasonality. They looked at competitors’ marketing, and then their marketing. In short, the market data told the company where to dig deeper for useful intelligence, and the resulting insights revealed why some consumers preferred competing brands. The client brand was able to attack all fronts utilizing fresh strategies that ultimately came out of the market data. Over the course of approximately 14 months, they were able to regain their number one market share position, increasing retail sales by $2 million.

Without the initial market data analysis, the company would not have known even to ask the right questions, let alone that they had unknowingly lost market share in the first place. 

Clients that NOD is working with on intellectual property are often at a stage in their development as a company, where they haven’t yet dug into market data. However, there’s a significant opportunity there if they decide to take the plunge. The number one question for the brands and companies at that stage is, how big is the market they’re trying to serve? Many of Craig’s clients are outdoor brands that work in apparel and soft goods. They don’t know how many target consumers are out there. By walking through a sporting goods store or a mountaineering store or a cycling store, they get a sense for what the average prices might be, but they don’t know what the actual data is — how big the market is, what products consumers are buying, and which brands they gravitate to.

Brands need to know the seasonality of their product categories because there’s a whole schedule of design, development, production, shipping, and selling at the wholesale level that needs to happen to meet consumers where and when they are ready to buy. More established brands need this information, and most invest in it. If you look at sports apparel brands in the US, the top three are worth $10 to $20 billion a year in retail sales. 

Five Top Reasons Why You Should Get Data Smart

  • You learn where you should be focusing more of your attention and resources to gain market share, which almost always leads to higher revenue and stronger profitability. 
  • You learn where to make the tough strategic decisions — you can make deliberate decisions to either improve on certain products and categories or to intentionally not focus there. Some companies want to grow in every category that they operate in, but that doesn’t necessarily make a company more profitable. Often, the strongest, most unique, and valuable brands decide what to do well and then become the best.
  • Market analysis helps you focus on the consumers’ perception of your marketing. You can better understand who your real customers are, and what they respond to, what price points have the most volume, and where the transactions are happening. Consumers vote with their dollars, and every brand does better when they understand consumer behavior. 
  • Data helps you make smarter decisions on where you’re going to distribute, and what retail partners you decide work with.
  • Data helps brands figure out what they’re missing out on. A great example is an apparel brand that saw its sales increase by 50-75% every year during the holiday season, and they thought they were capturing all the opportunity that was out there. But they didn’t understand that their competitors were routinely increasing sales by 200-400% every holiday season. The example brand didn’t know that they were losing significant market share during the months of November and December, every single year. Some deeper analysis helped them make some obvious decisions about packaging and messaging to consumers about their product.

About Outside Intelligence

We help brands interpret data, whether that is internal financial data or market data available through several various data providers. We help clients go through that data and interpret it so that they can ask the right questions, gain insights, and focus on strategies. Outside Intelligence helps brands, marketing managers, product people, salespeople, and executives look at data so that they can ask relevant and timely questions and ultimately figure out how to influence what happens in the data going forward. 


Related: The Right Team