Target Market Definition
One of the most important concepts I’ve learned while being a full time entrepreneur is that you’re a marketer when not completing the technical tasks or administrative activities of the enterprise. Considering the amount of time spent marketing, entrepreneurs certainly value understanding the nuances of their target market. This framing helps to focus efforts towards maximizing marketing spend and thus assisting in maintaining a positive ROI. Although a niche within the target market is preferred and integral to establishing scalable marketing practices, a sample target market for a boutique management consulting and advisory firm would include small business owners that have: a) been in business for between 10-15 years, b) at least 50 employees, and c) gross revenue greater than $25 million per year.
The industry that these characteristics are associated with is less important because the job the business is needing to get done is to increase revenue and reduce costs. This is not to say the industry is not important because it is. Particularly valuable, is obtaining an understanding of the ecosystem associated with the industry, to include suppliers and providers to the customers participating in the industry. Christensen, Anthony, Berstell, and Nitterhouse, (2007) confirmed the difference in
importance between the macro and micro level views of an industry, describing where marketers should look when attempting to find the job that customers need done. Following the context laid out by Christensen, et al., (2007) and the customer job deconstruction map Bettencourt and Ulwick, (2008) the job that business owners need to get done is to make money.
Here are some samples of customer job mapping charts that can help deconstruct customer's experience:
Importance of data
Segmenting the market based on the activities, interests, and opinions (AIO) of prospects, warm leads, and clients presents marketers with an opportunity for innovation. The implementation and execution of an AIO questionnaire affords marketers the insight into respondent’s lifestyles and habits that can shape marketing messages and products (Psychographic segmentation, 2003). Although obtaining and analyzing customer information will require a concerted effort at multiple levels of the customer’s organization, understanding the product or service from a customer’s perspective, including their experiences and what job they need done is essential knowledge for framing and spurring innovation (Christensen C. , 2006).
The job deconstruction can be broken down into defining the execution along with the pre and post execution steps (Bettencourt & Ulwick, 2008). For the business owner’s job, execution is the delivery of the product or service to the customer, and the most critical steps to getting that done are qualitative in nature. For example, are the elements of the product in tact and meet specifications. Regarding services, is the consultant qualified to provide the necessary counsel or is s/he clear on the engagement deliverables and requirements. Pre-execution steps for a business owner’s job would be the steps in marketing and sales process. The business owner would be concerned with the effectiveness of the overall process and ensuring that prospects are progress down the sales funnel to be converted into clients. Post execution steps would include monitoring and control activites. Business owners would be concerned with ensuring that products or services were delivered under budget expectations and conforming to or exceeding customer expectations.
Here is a story that helps illustrate the need to “draw closer” to our customers to better understand their needs.
Opportunities for service innovation
Clearly, the job deconstruction mapping process provides a level of insight that would highlight opportunities for inovation of the disruptive nature. However, customer surveys, interviews, gap analysis and needs assessments are all tools that a marketer could use to validate the pre, post, and execution steps of the business owners job. It must be noted that the effectiveness of the job deconstruction mapping process lies within the validation of the defined steps (Bettencourt & Ulwick, 2008).
Approaches to innovation
Davenport, Mule, and Lucker, (2011) suggested the use of next best offers (NBOs) to direct purchasers to the appropiate product or service, at the appropriate time, price, and through the appropriate channel. Marketers need to be very intimate with their own offerings but more importantly prepared to work with designers and business development staff to offer a product or service that is more affordable and convenient. Christensen, (2006) described this type of innovation as disruptive to market leaders, where industry leaders pursue profits through preoccupation with sustaining current innovations and therefore become susceptible to new entrant attacks.
Innovation opportunities are fundamentally found in the relationship marketers develop with their prospects, warm leads, and clients and the knowledge they can obtain from understanding the jobs that they need done. Market
segmentation as well as job deconstruction mapping offer marketers an approach to gaining the necessary knowledge of customer’s jobs including the job’s elements as described by Christensen, (2006) as functional, emotional and social dimensions. Without this information, marketers will struggle with business growth and ultimately innovation (Christensen C. , 2006).
STRATASCENSION was founded on the notion that business is relational and growth is achieved through deepening of all the micro connections between people, process, tools, & performance. We want to help small businesses enhance these connections and leverage them for transformation.
Bettencourt, L. A., & Ulwick, A. W. (2008). The customer-centered innovation map. Harvard Business Review, 86(5), 109-114.
Christensen, C. (2006). Seeing patterns. Leadership Excellence, 23(10), 15. Retrieved from http://hbr.org
Christensen, C. M., Anthony, S. D., Berstell, G., & Nitterhouse, D. (2007). Finding the right job for your product. MIT Sloan Management Review, 48(3), 38-47. Retrieved from https://sloanreview.mit.edu/
Davenport, T. H., Mule, L. D., & Lucker, J. (2011). Know what your customers want before they do. Harvard Business Review, 89, pp. 84-92. Retrieved from http://hbr.org
Psychographic segmentation. (2003). In G. Bannock (Ed.). London, United Kingdom: Penguin. Retrieved from http://library.capella.edu/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/penguinbus/psychographic_segmentation/0
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