In this series of blogs about Strategizing for Growth, we have covered the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Strengths) and developing quantitative and qualitative objectives. Our next step is to identify new target markets. This doesn’t necessarily mean industries or areas we haven’t sold before, but perhaps a segment of customers where the competition seems to have a stronghold … and perhaps for good reasons — until now!
You may have developed some new features or overcome some major deficiencies that allowed the competition to dominate that customer segment. So now is the time to take your ammunition, load it and shoot it at the prospects so that you can gain that market share. It will require an understanding of the primary and secondary markets of that segment (so you don’t waste bullets on less-valuable targets. You also need to look at demographics (the characteristics of the customers – e.g. employee and/or sales size, SIC code, own/lease) and psychographics (the psychology of that market; e.g. why they prefer what they buy or from whom they buy it).
This is not an easy process and a common pitfall is failing to be thorough and not using critical analysis to define these characteristics. Don’t rely on off-the-cuff guesses. Do some homework on this and it will pay dividends. With information in hand, you want to develop what marketing professionals call Positioning Statements. Simply compare your product or service to the competition, listing the attributes of importance and which ones build an emotional relationship with the customer. Yes, the fact that your sweaters are the only ones available in ‘Army green’ may excite some buyers (perhaps Army vets)!
More on this next week and we have plenty more in store. I’ll be interested to hear how some of you are applying these simple marketing plan principles.
HOMEWORK: Take your sales team and identify the markets you now serve, assess them and see if you can identify new target markets – even if you don’t think you have the resources to go after them!