“People buy what they need from those who understand what they want” (Bill Brooks and Tom Travesano).
Learning what customers want entails listening to the voice of the customer and there are many focused types of market research that often can and should be part of a programme to better understand what customers want.
Continue reading Voice of the Customer
You need benchmarking because it isn’t enough just to know what your own sales figures are, or that the average battery life on your product is 11 hours before recharging is required, or the fact that 95% of your customer support calls are resolved within 8 hours. In an ever increasingly competitive world, you need to know what the expectations of your customers are, how you rank against this and also how your competitors rate – if their figures show that their average battery life is 22 hours, and 99.5% of customer support calls are resolved within 6 hours who looks the more attractive to the potential customer? Continue reading Benchmarking
To compete successfully you have to know who you are up against! Competitor Analysis is the in depth analysis on your major competitors, or new players entering your target markets – such as their structure, products/services, strategy, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats – enables you to really focus on targeting resources where they will have the most impact.
Analysis of the competitive landscape will help you to:
- understand competitors’ objectives and strategy and develop your own accordingly
- develop realistic sales targets through understanding the scale of competitors’ operations and revenue
- identify relative market positions
- identify each competitor’s market share
- identify the split of competitors by product
- conduct a gap analysis on product features
- implement product or service improvements to counter strengths/weaknesses and innovations in their product portfolio
- position your products/services appropriately
- understand the distribution strategies of your competitors and optimize your own
- offer competitive pricing discounts and payment terms
- develop a marketing communications strategy with messages that resonate effectively with your target market and counteract your competitors’ messages
- strengthen your products/services and marketing strategy according to how your competitors and their products are perceived by customers
- identify new product development and competitive product road maps
- develop sales guides highlighting sales “kill points”, i.e. points designed to counter specific competitor offerings and communications
- understand competitor customer satisfaction levels
- conduct lost bid analysis
- define research and development investment.
Competitor analysis is a large, complex and specialist study; decide first what your needs are, and therefore which avenues you need to explore, and plan your research in detail ensuring you apply the appropriate technique or methodology to gain the best results. Approaching various sources will be necessary – competitors’ employees and customers, channel partners and maybe former employees – make sure you have the expertise available to conduct this research to maximize the information gathered and ensure you are aware of ethical and legal considerations.
Effectively completed, competitor analysis is technically challenging, complicated and resource-hungry work that is best left to experts that specialize in the competitor intelligence and analysis field.
In a fiercely competitive industry the ability to carve out a new market can be the key to success. But launching into a new market requires an understanding of the opportunities, risks, competitors, potential customers and other key players via market opportunity studies.
To make an informed decision about a new market, you need to quantify the potential demand for your product or service and find out how this need is currently being met; a Market Opportunity Study will determine which geographical or industry segments should be targeted for future investment.
Research into the potential of new markets can enable you to:
- better understand your current market
- identify other niches within this market
- identify a new market altogether
- understand characteristics/needs of prospects in the new market and plan a marketing strategy
- understand the threats you will face and plan to counter them accordingly
- ultimately – achieve the objective of increased revenue.
Learn all these things via market opportunity studies.
The purpose of market segmentation is to allow your marketing plan to focus on the sub segments that are “most likely” to purchase your goods or services, thus delivering the highest return on your investment. It divides up a market to identify trends in it; the analysis is used to create a profile of the target market/s:
- industry segments and sub segments are identified using SIC codes, company size, employment codes, etc.
- which segments to address and how best to address them may be determined and could include recommendations on optimum offering for each area
- using advanced statistical analysis, profiles of customer clusters may be developed by grouping together individuals with similar needs/differences by geographical region, country or industry type.
An overview Continue reading Market Segmentation