Part Two – to read Part One, go here.
In my last article, I discussed how competitive the market is and how much more competitive it’s going to get. If you want to take or hold share, perhaps it is time to look at all the various dimensions of going to market for your product or service. First, let’s consider your customer; who are they?
Many innovators love to say their products are designed for everyone, but unless your marketing budget is unlimited, it’s unlikely you’ll ever reach them all. Better to define a specific group of people who are receptive to your offer and then refine your offer based on a deeper understanding of your customer’s needs and expectations.
Whether you define a persona like many marketers do, or simply choose a section of consumers based on demographics, there is plenty of available information out there for you to research. Age and income demography is public data, so find out how many potential targets there are, where they live and how much money they make. If you can, see what they buy and what motivates them to purchase.
Don’t have money to pay for reports or research firms? Then get out in the “field” and observe your potential customers. Talk to people. Ask questions. This approach is not as detailed as professional research data, but it provides greater insight than what you can come up with sitting inside your own four walls.
When you have a clearer picture of who your core customer is, where they shop and what they like, then you will have a better idea of how to go to market. You will need to define where your products will be sold and under what conditions; that is important as it pertains to consumer perception. Understanding your potential customer’s attitude about products and services will help you define pricing and what features or materials you’ll need to include. In other words, if you don’t know who your potential customers are, how will you know what to build or what service to offer? How will you be able to gauge your impact on the market and know if you are succeeding?
Remember that the market itself is a cruel manipulator. The so-called “invisible hand” will adjust and alter your offer if it is too expensive, or in the wrong channel, or does not offer competitive features or value. That adjustment in the end is costly; you have to offset as much as you can in advance.
In the end, when you have a better sense of your target audience, then you’ll be able to define the rest of the “dimensions” of your competitive market offer. If you are willing to put in the time to conduct some basic research, there is a lot of opportunity to grow and expand, as most of your competitors are still “reacting” to the market. You will find clearly stated offers, backed by unique strengths in one or more of the market dimensions, will win more business. I will write and discuss those other aspects going forward.