Targeting the Market (or Market Segment)
In this first step, our intelligence in choosing a viable target market wisely will go a long way toward solidifying our chances of ever making any money in this business. Pick the wrong, unrealistic or unfeasible market and everything you do from this point will be futile. Marketing begins with identifying and targeting the market or markets in which we think we can succeed.
Imperative in understanding any given market is to further investigate its segments and subsegments. You frequently hear the term “niche marketing” in conjunction with targeting an audience. Is it good to look for smaller niches or go after the broader market?
Let’s say you determine that a potentially desirable market for your company to investigate is schools. First, we’ll need to refine that choice to a level where we’re more likely to succeed more quickly, with less competition, and at a reasonable return on investment.
Narrowing down this particular market to more manageable proportions means we need to consider geographic boundaries, types of schools, size of schools in terms of the number of the students, the character of the community the schools are in, and sophisticated the students are, among a host of other important issues. Looking at just this one example, we’ll need to get smart fast and answer the right questions that is, once we figure them out. Schools. Hmmm…All the schools in America or just those within a half-hour’s drive from our business? Public schools, private schools, parochial schools, or all schools? Elementary, middle, high schools or all of them? Vocational-technical schools? Colleges and universities, too? Rural, suburban, or urban schools? Schools with students who are city kids who watch MTV or country kids who list to Rascal Flatts, Taylor, Leann or Reba? Do the local schools have average enrollments of 2,000 students? or 200?
The questions here illustrate the process and perhaps the frustration of attempting to narrow down where you’re be more likely to see a better return on your investments of time and money. Wrong answers will prove costly, but asking these questions is the first step in the challenge of finding the answers. By focusing on those potential areas where you have more advantages and opportunities, the rest of the process will become more instructive and lead you to a better conclusion and eventually, better choices.
Stupid Mistake No 1
Thinking your company can be all things to all people.
Next Lesson: Analyzing the needs of the market
Erik J. Mickelson