So, it really depends on what sort of industry you’re in, the type of product or service you’re offering, your former background and the familiarity with the market itself.
There’s no universal solution for that question. Sometimes, it’s purely digital. Or 100% offline (for factories, warehouses, other forms of production companies, telecoms).
Logistics are important. Understanding the key drivers of the market as well.
Take retailers, for example. Or supermarkets. There’s a whole science behind the organization of shelves.
It’s fascinating if you haven’t worked in the industry to date.
So, with that in mind, you want to poll as many people as possible. Could be on-site interviews or online interviews, reverse-engineering competitors, reading press releases for what’s considered an innovation.
Following industry magazines. Looking up to the top influencers and the leaders in the space.
Quora could be a great source to get a feel of a specific community (and study their niche). Sames goes for Facebook groups.
Use Google Trends and see what trends have evolved in the space over the years.
Dig up as much statistical information as possible. Some of that is available online, part of it you need to read up in the top industry books.
Consider industry events if possible. Meetups, conferences, trade shows. All of them represent the vibe of the community — from the dress code at the event to the structure of the talks.