Single Target Market- once again

B2B, differentiation, Marketing, messaging, Product Management, route to market, segmentation, single target market

This is such a major piece in any market plan that I  cannot lay enough emphasis on the topic. I have already written a lot of posts on just this one topic , but there’s so much at stake in your plan with just this one concept that its critical that you get this right.

Some would call this segmentation,  some would call it finding a niche.  Call it by whatever name,  the idea is to start in a minimum viable piece of the market, learn everything and then expand. Never ever try to address all segments at once.

You can segment by geography- so choose only one location to start, or you could look at a vertical industry to start with if you are in the B2B market.

One useful way to find the Single Target market is also by usage. Suppose you have a service and as an example say you decide to focus on New York City. But NYC has 9 million people. So you could then either break it down by identifying the neighborhood because different parts of NYC have different buyers in terms of paying capacity.

You could then go further down to see if your service is for first time users, or for emergency usage, or a a replacement service etc.

Once break it down to such granularity each interaction with a prospect becomes a learning and you can quickly understand and test different messaging, different media etc. so that you can quickly dominate the market.

If you are in anyway responsible for product management and going to launch a new product or service or in marketing in a similar situation first get clarity on this aspect.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

What’s better….process or outcome

differentiation, Frameworks, ideal customer, Positioning, segmentation, single target market, Uncategorized

In our world of monthly or quarterly targets, where we are we marked in every week’s review meeting, it gets very enchanting to see the outcome without noticing the process and inputs.

Sometimes good processes can also lead to bad outcomes because of the randomness in the market that you are targeting . For example you may have identified the single target market , you would have planned your marketing activities for the long haul, you would gone about systematically educating your market, you would have identified the positioning by doing the correct segmentation, but suddenly an unexpected event occurs and throws your complete plan out of gear. The COVID-19 pandemic threw so many launches out of gear. No process can predict this kind of a situation.  But because of the right process, while we couldn’t go ahead with our original OEM we now have an even more responsive OEM to launch our offerings. 

On the other hand I have had situations in my life, where I was scared, because we had short circuited the process , because of lack of time, but still got amazing results. That was also a result of randomness or luck where a certain trigger of a government deadline moved all our inventory in no time. We made a lot of profit also.

Sometimes you need to tweak processes to make them more responsive for the increased pace of product launches. However I am of the belief that we need to map the process for a product launch. It could be directly from the books by Philip Kotler or it could be built on your experience but having a process ensures that you don’t miss any step.

Tell me in the comments below, what is your view.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

And then ….what, when,….

Marketing, Product Management, Questions

Last 4-5 posts have all been about asking questions. Getting down to identifying the issues. All of these are critical points for a marketing or product management person. Without these answers you can get blindsided very easily. the ability to ask good questions is one of the best things a person can have.

I originally did not have this capability. Actually even now I keep looking out for good questions to help me build my arsenal. I have earlier also shared names of books and authors whose books I use to prepare myself before any review, so that I don’t miss out on things.

Coming to the topic – once you have identified the issues, you go about finding the solutions. Just before you actually go about implementing a solution, it will be of immense help to evaluate the impact of implementing the solutions.

As a analogy – if you are middle aged and you start feeling hungry. You go and open the fridge and see a bar of chocolate, its tempting and you decide to eat it. Your hunger gets subdued, you get a sugar induced high and because of the chocolate and the sugar you feel good for some time.

After sometime you start realising though that the sugar is not good for you. Even if you are not diabetic, it can still cause you to increase your weight. Now you start feeling bad.

That’s where it helps to analyse the consequences of your decisions before you actually put them into action. So in this same case when you saw the chocolate and decided to eat it, you could have asked yourself – And then when I have eaten the chocolate what will happen – You may go through a process mentally enacting the same scenarios about getting a high because of the caffeine and sugar and then realising that your weight could increase. Now after having analysed at this level you may still eat the chocolate or not eat it. But in either case you would have taken an informed decision for the consequences that could occur.

Similarly in product management when you take a decision you need to be able to get to figuring out what could happen next because of the action you are taking. Does it mean it will become a precedent, will my suppliers revolt because of the increased work that will need to be done, how will the competitors react – will we end up in a death spiral.

I have seen so many computer hardware – PC Manufacturers in the early 90s disappear because they tried to come out with one cheaper model compared to the other. The shake out was so severe that now there are only a few brands left, which you can count on your fingers.

Sometimes it makes sense to just contemplate the impact of your taking a decision, before implementing it.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Just Ask …. identifying failure points

ego, Marketing, Product Management, Questions

There’s a term called “confirmation bias” which was coined by cognitive psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason. He ran a series of experiments called the Wason’s rule discovery task. Through these experiments he demonstrated the people have a tendency to seek information that confirms their existing beliefs.

So why is this important for a marketing / product management leader. In the earlier posts that I have written about this topic I have been cajoling you to start asking questions because you don’t know what could be the reason that people like or dislike your product.

However if you only ask questions and search only for data points which confirm what you are wanting to hear then there’s a problem. And all human beings have this confirmation bias. Its because of our ego that our first instinct is to prove ourselves correct.

But failures happen because we didn’t ear what the market was trying to tell us. And we didn’t hear because of this confirmation bias which Wason had showcased all the way back in the 1960s.

However every negative (relative to your data point) that you hear has the potential to get you closer to the truth. If you have watched “CSI” the detective show (its available on Amazon Prime) , you will see a lot of times the evidence doesn’t prove the hypotheses that the detectives have and then they have to dig deeper until the evidence and the hypotheses are in sync otherwise it won’t stand the questioning of the jury.

As a product management person, you have to stand back and let the market give you the evidence and if the evidence doesn’t suit your opinion, you need to change your opinion, otherwise you are in for big failure. The point is not to prove yourself right or wrong, it is to let the evidence (inputs from the market that you get by asking relevant questions) confirm where are the blind spots in your strategy or tactics. Once you cover your blind spots you may actually come out with a strategy which could break all records.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!