“Healthy Organization” Foundation #5: Growing and Profitable.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with the founder of a tech start-up. The business is in health care, a booming market! When I asked the founder to describe the business in a “sound bite”, I was given a rambling answer that talked about “market needs” and “customized services” and went on to include a laundry list of “features” their customers would enjoy. I could just imagine a prospect, eyes glazing over, tuning out the answer while starting to think about things they needed to get done that day. On top of all of that, the company was targeting 3 distinctly different markets! My concern, shared with my conversation partner, was that the fuzzy answer accurately represented the state of their market plan.
We live in a world of hyper-competition. Unlike the days of “You can have it any color you want as long as it’s black” (Henry Ford), your customers always have choices to meet their needs. Perhaps more importantly, the competition simply for the attention of your prospects/customers has risen dramatically in the age of the internet and social media. It’s imperative that you have:
- A crystal clear understanding of your product/service value proposition. (Remember, “value” is determined by your prospects/customers, not you!)
- A clear definition of the target market(s) you will pursue. (Different target markets have different dynamics demanding different strategies and tactics.)
- A documented market plan for how you will “sell” to your chosen target market. (The “documented” plan keeps you focused on the market goal and keeps you from changing strategic and tactical course every time a new marketing idea comes up. It actually SAVES money!)
If you can answer the following 4 questions effectively, you’re on your way to having a “market plan” even if it’s on the back of an envelope:
- What, exactly, are we selling? (Product/service)
- Who are we selling to? (Target market)
- Why will they buy from us? (Benefits)
- How will we sell? (Tactics)
A free white paper titled “Why a Market Plan and How to Use the Market Plan” is available on our website (www.ComerAssociates.com) under “Resources” should you decide to tighten up your “sound bite” answer to “Tell me about your business”. It details the market planning sequence and some methodologies for measuring the ROI of your marketing investment. Build a roadmap to your market and you’ll be on your way to growth and profit!
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