Our last series of blog posts focused on developing personas, but let’s back it up a bit.
Before you can create customer personas, your company has to have a well-developed sense of market focus. Once you do, that will introduce you to two very important questions: “Who am I selling to?” and “How will this help grow my business?”
So, what exactly is market focus? And how do companies go about curating it?
What is Market Focus?
Market focus is a practice where businesses account for a number of external factors in their business strategy, product/service development, and marketing planning. These factors include:
(1.) The needs and desires of potential customers:
Demographics, psychographics, and buying habits of the marketplace, with special attention paid to the problems that these individuals are trying to solve through a purchase.
Adopting a win/loss interview process as a regular feature of your sales cycle would give you insight on why buyers are choosing your company or choosing others, and which of their needs were and were not met. These interviews are usually done by a third party and the results can be really informative.
(2.) The relative positioning of competitors:
Understanding both the product/service offered by your competitors and the target of their marketing and pricing strategies to create an understanding of where your firm can best succeed.
We had a client who was concerned that her business was losing competitively because their pricing did not line up with the other firms in their industry; it turns out that this was an advantage — her customers actually valued the additional service and care that was being provided as part of the higher price.
(3.) Other dynamics/forces:
Being cognizant of how changing economic conditions, buying fads, changes in laws/regulations, and new innovations or products outside your industry could create changes in demand for your product/service.
When Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce became an item, the initial talk was how this was going to help give him notoriety and boost his football jersey sales. But I’d say that Taylor and her music might even be bigger winners. I’ve seen Tiktoks and other social media posts from football fans who are now self-declared “Swifties”. Dating is not a typical marketing tactic/strategy, but in this example it has had a significant economic impact in two different marketplaces.
Take a moment to think about all of these factors.
Are you able to put together a comprehensive list of initiatives or learnings you have within each category? Is there someone on your team who is in charge of keeping up with capturing market insights? Do you have a plan for what to do with the information once you have it?
Understanding market focus is a building block and crucial component of your marketing strategy. It’s the research before writing the paper, or the long and unglamorous practices before the game, but it is something you absolutely can’t go without. Launching marketing campaigns without having a market focus is often going to be as successful as selling beef to my vegan sister-in-law.
I hope I’ve made my point! And you will research yours.