The calorific value of a rat – in marketing

B2B, Leverage, Marketing

A lion is fully capable of killing a rat and eating it. But it doesn’t waste its time in hunting a rat. This is because the calorific value of the rat is so little that it will spend more energy in hunting for the the rat. So it focusses on killing deer and antelopes.

I got into a deep discussion with my team on this topic today. I have quite an energetic team which does not accept my arguments on face value. They have to be satisfied with data to prove my point. So today’s post gets inspired by them.

You need to choose the markets in which you operate. If the payoff is not enough calories (large enough market which can give us sustained business) or there’s no strategic benefit to target a market, its better to avoid that market.

I would go one step further and want to identify first the most profitable market in what I want to sell. Lets take an example in the B2B space only.

Suppose I have only 2000 customers in my territory who are big and profitable who outsource a managed services contract for their IT infrastructure. Also suppose I know that there will be a turnover of 5% every year whereby these companies will choose a new vendor, which means 100 customers will identify a new vendor. Each customer can get me a sustained profit of say $100000/- per annum , so even if I am able to pick up 20 of these 100 customers (20% of the customers who will decide) I am able to make about $2m in profits per year from these.

Now on the other hand there are also another small 100000 customers who outsource some project implementation in IT. Also suppose I know that at least 10% of these will outsource – which means a 1000 customers will buy some project implementation. So you have a larger number of prospects to whom you can possibly give proposals. Most people would like to address this because there is a higher absolute number and therefore the chance of success seems higher.

So let’s go one step further and assume that here also we will have a success rate of 20% so out of 1000 possible customers you can get 200. This number is 10 times higher than the 20 customers you were looking for the managed services example. Now lets understand the amount of profit that we can generate is $1000. So after executing these 200 orders you will be making $200000/- or ten times less than if you were focussed high value customers.

The amount of effort in executing 200 deals will be much higher than in executing 20 deals and the customer satisfaction issues will also be much lower.

Its the same logic that the lion uses for arbitration and targets the deer rather than the rat for its meal.

Always look at leveraging the highest and best use for your effort wherever – in marketing or otherwise – the lion teaches us the same lesson.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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