What is the role of association market research and intelligence in serving the needs of an industry? It’s a question that I, and many of my peers, often hear. Put simply: The commercial AV industry, like many others, has questions; industry professionals approach an association like AVIXA to find answers. In grander terms, we strive to be a beacon for our industry, illuminating the trends that could potentially impact your business. We also seek to provide rich insights that can be used to develop sound strategic and tactical responses to the market. At its core, this is what underpins AVIXA’s strategic initiative to be an authoritative source of market intelligence for the commercial AV industry.
Sounds simple, right? Hear question, find answer and communicate it out. But not so fast….
As one might imagine, the true challenge is one of focus. Which of the vast array of questions flowing from a diverse member base—a base that spans manufacturers, distributors, AV providers and end-user customers—do we tackle? The following is just a sampling of what we hear:
- How should the commercial AV industry be defined, and what should it include?
- How big is the industry we serve, as well as the categories within it?
- How fast, and in what manner, is the industry growing?
- Where are the biggest opportunities for companies to grow their business, as well as the biggest challenges in trying to do so?
- What technologies are coming down the road that we should be aware of? Which of them are mature enough to meet customer needs?
- What are the outside factors (e.g., employment, trade, government spending, tax reform) that impact the industry, both positively and negatively? How should firms account for them?
With such a wide variety of questions out there, we’ve found it helpful to try to group them into meaningful chunks of related topics. At AVIXA, this has led us to several groupings, each with its own distinct, branded acronym to help aid in understanding in the market. Our hope is these names become familiar enough that our audiences know where to look when seeking answers to their big questions.
Macro-Economic Trends Analysis (META)
It all starts with META. Currently, this is a single report produced in the fall that looks at the commercial AV industry from the outside in, to provide a perspective on the macro trends that impact us. This includes things like general employment and labor availability, construction trends, trade issues and tax reform. Our Pro AV Business Indexes, reflecting the health of commercial AV in terms of sales and employment, are a part of this. So, too, is our compensation and benefits reporting, which addresses one important piece of the overall employment puzzle. In the future, we hope to expand META to be a more frequent exploration of the topics of the day, as well as how they might impact the business of providing AV solutions.
Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA)
IOTA turns the lens back on the industry and takes a position on how the outside trends discussed in META translate into commercial AV revenues and growth. Created in partnership with IHS Markit, this report starts with a very broad definition of the industry, and then provides revenue estimates for the AV projects and solutions purchased by end users. The estimates go back to 2014 and extend out five years from the present, and they’re further broken down by geography, technology segment, solutions area and vertical market. The data can be consumed in dashboards for custom aggregation and filtering, or through a number of report derivatives throughout the year; these range from spotlights on individual technologies to global trends summaries. Given the sheer diversity of the industry, it ultimately represents a herculean task to put numbers to what all of you do. But it’s only through dialogue that we can ensure the reports are the best reflection of the industry that they can be.
Market Opportunity Analysis Reports (MOAR)
MOAR digs deeper into the specific market application areas to provide insight to AV providers who are looking to serve specific constituents better. In some cases, these markets will be vertical—retail or hospitality, for example—and, in others, they will be horizontal, such as the corporate office environment. AVIXA currently has plans to cover six markets this year: retail, corporate, hospitality, transportation, large sports venues and education. The core methodology of the reports is based on the principles of “design thinking,” seeking to investigate the full value chain of AV in a specific market and better to understand the needs and issues at each level—from consumers, to end-user customers, to AV providers.
As you can see from this list of reporting options, we tackle the big questions so individual companies don’t have to. We consider this priming the pump with research. This way, firms can focus their custom research dollars on questions that are relevant to their business specifically. Examples include brand positioning, pricing, product design, channel selection and a host of other issues. Although our research can help provide a foundation, it is more from a high-level strategic perspective, because individual company situations have tremendous nuance that can’t be fully addressed in macro-level studies.
Given all of that, what questions do you face? We want to know. See something from us you aren’t sure of, or that you don’t agree with? Let us know. Dialogue is critical to ensuring the insights we offer are the most useful for your organization, and it helps us be even more comprehensive in our efforts going forward. And, although we might not always provide you with the answers you want to hear, you will sometimes get the answers that you need.