How Much Do You Know About Your Market?

How much do you know about your market?How much do you know about your market?

To create successful marketing messages, you must know your market. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? How well do you know your market? Most successful entrepreneurs understand their markets or they couldn’t remain in business.

How much they know about their market is a different answer.  When I first started consulting, my clients wanted to establish themselves as market leaders.

Many of my largest clients and partners had me work on the business strategies that resulted in market leadership for their organizations. Over the years, one of the largest changes I’ve seen is that markets are smaller and more segmented than in the past.

Global competition and the rise of more agile competitors have forced many of my clients to reexamine their concept of market leadership. Today, successful entrepreneurs create many different segment development strategies for their many products and services.

So how do you choose the markets that you serve? The one idea I would share is that you should actively choose your best markets. Many entrepreneurs fail in business because they try to serve too many markets at the early stages of their business.

One of my venture capital partners told me once he won’t finance a startup that hasn’t chosen a target market and knows why they chose it. It’s paradoxical, larger global markets require successful entrepreneurs to exclude markets to succeed at early stages of the business’ growth. This same partner sees his ability to help clients focus on their best markets as the key determinant to the long term success of the organizations they invest in.

In more successful midmarket organizations, target marketing and segmenting their customer base can provide significant advantage in growing a business faster and more profitably. So how do you begin this process of market development? Here are several ideas to help get you started thinking about your best markets.

Does your product or service match the wants and needs of your potential clients or customers? You must learn what your clients want and then decide how you going to meet their wants and needs. You must know what tangible and intangible benefits your customers receive from what you offer.

It is critical for your product or service to appeal both to the rational and emotional interests of your customers. It was once said that if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. But only if they have a problem with mice. Many founding entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking building a better product ensures success of their products and services.  There are many great products that failed to build market share in the face of inferior competition who had better marketing strategies.

Today, you must know what your clients want. You must also understand why they want it. The good news is you can learn almost anything you want about your customers through the internet and social media platforms. Recently, Facebook announced over 1 billion people were on their site in a single day. What amazes most of my clients is the depth of information available on almost any targeted market for a low price of admission. This trend will continue to provide increasing market insights into their customers’ behavior.

Once you determine what markets you want to develop, invest your time to understand it more completely. I work with clients to help create profiles or personas of their best potential customers. This includes knowing demographic, psychographic, and key motivational factors impacting clients buying decisions.

How do I understand their customers’ intangible motivational factors? I have five questions I use to help clarify what clients value:

  • What is their biggest worry, pain, or frustration?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What is their biggest problem that you could help them solve?
  • What do they secretly, privately, desire most?
  • If I could give you a magic wand that could help you seize a new market opportunity, what opportunity would you choose and why? How far would you go to achieve this goal?

These questions help you better understand your customers’ buying behavior. It is critical to find out what is going on in the mind of your customers before trying to develop your markets.

Now that we understand our market, we can begin to develop a message that resonates with their wants and needs. Next week, we show you how to begin developing a message that helps position you and your firm in your clients’ minds as the leader in the field.

See you next week.

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