Throughout our school days we’re told that if we do our homework, we’ll get good grades. This is a valuable rule to follow as students, since we’re there to develop an understanding of how things work and to learn how to learn. Homework also serves us well early in our careers, given that most of us start out knowing very little about our professions and have plenty of studying to do in order to build an expertise. However, the ROI on time spent doing business “homework” diminishes over time.

The Problem with Business Homework

Once you advance in your career, studying up on a trend or a competitor might still feel productive (you should be good at doing homework by then), but it’s not effective if it’s delaying your decisions or taking time that would have otherwise been focused on execution. At least in business, the goal of most homework eventually becomes much more about the destination (making good decisions) than the journey (doing the actual homework).

Professional Working Late

gap’s Solution to Business Homework

As you may have picked up by now, gap has a solution to the business world’s homework problem. Every gap Market Intelligence subscription comes with an allotment of gapConsulting hours and access to a team of experts who are ready to help our clients get the answers they need so they can make the right decisions.

gapConsulting projects can range from pricing & promotions analysis to deep dives on specific competitors/segments/trends, as well as nearly any other topic within our industries and channels. The one thing every gapConsulting project has in common is that it puts an expert in our clients’ corner who’s ready to take care of their competitive and market intelligence homework.

Specifics help, so here are some examples of the types of gapConsulting projects we commonly do and some of the homework assignments we’ve handled during the last few months:

The Pop Quiz – When a client spots a big or unexpected competitive change, they typically need to know why it happened and whether/how to react. These pop quizzes could follow an unexpected shift in unit sales, the emergence of a new competitive strategy, or a major market change (e.g. tariffs), and they’re generally graded on speed, context, and accuracy.

  • Pop Quiz Subject: Smartphones
  • Assignment: Why are T-Mobile REVVLRY/+ phones selling so well in North America?
  • Homework: Provided analysis on the REVVLRY/+ phones’ key advantages and sales drivers, followed-up with additional analysis based on T-Mobile store associate interviews

The Oral Presentation
– When a client needs to give their team insights into an important topic or add some inspiring content to a big on-site meeting, they’ll call a gap expert. Although these aren’t our most common gapConsulting projects, they can be the most impactful and they happen quite a bit.

  • Presentation Subject: Consumer Printers and the Retail Channel
  • Assignment: Present market insights to retail sales team at quarterly planning meeting
  • Homework: gap analysts presented on how channels are evolving and reviewed the major printer-related trends taking place at each retailer

The History Project
– When a client is trying to understand past events, they often come to gap to bring that history to life. These history projects could focus on ongoing trends (e.g. shelf share or ASPs) as a way to figure out market direction or they could target past events (e.g. Black Friday 2018 or previous tariffs) as a way to plan for the next big event. These are among the most common gapConsulting projects we do.

  • History Project Subject: Vacuums
  • Assignment: Share of voice trend and analysis, including ad/promotional volume and incentive value by segment
  • Homework: Provided written, graphical, and data analysis comparing clients’ promotional activity to its key competitors in each segment over the previous year.

We’ll do Your Homework for You

There’s plenty more, but since this blog is about effectiveness we’ll stop here. If you’re a gap client, hopefully it gives you another reason to think of us next time you’re about to dive into a homework assignment that might be better off as a gapConsulting project. We’re here to help!


For more than 16 years, gap intelligence has served manufacturers and sellers by providing world-class services monitoring, reporting, and analyzing the 4Ps: prices, promotions, placements, and products. Email us at or call us at 619-574-1100 to learn more.