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Market Assessment Series: Part 8 | Extraordinary Business

Question 8: Which customer organizations should we target first?

We started the market assessment series to take a deeper look into the best ways to analyze a new market when entering it. From market size and segmentation to competition and profit margins we discussed many crucial aspects of market assessment. In this 8th and final part, we’ll discuss the importance of understanding your ideal customer.
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If You Aren’t Catching Anything – Perhaps You are Fishing in the Wrong Pond

Business Development – ensuring that you are approaching the right target

I remember going to the department store as a younger man. While walking through the appliance area, it was almost inevitable that a sales person would approach me and say, “May I help you pick out a refrigerator?” I would think to myself, “Why would a need a refrigerator? Especially the $2,000 refrigerators they would want me to purchase?” I was not their customer. Perhaps someone that looked just like me at the time, but not me.

As you know, that isn’t an uncommon scenario; many times, people in your target markets aren’t going to be ready to purchase what you are selling when you are ready to sell to them. So if we know who our customer is and how to communicate with them, the next thing we need to work on is narrowing that list down to those who will have need for our services. As opposed to those who have immediate need for our services.

Think about some of the travel companies. They know that most of the time, most people aren’t going to be ready to take a vacation right now. Yet, they offer flash sales and discounts almost all of the time. What they are actually doing, if you think about it, is solidifying in your mind that they are the company to go to when you are ready and that you will more than likely be able to find some discounts on where you are going.

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If You Aren't Catching Anything – Perhaps You are Fishing in the Wrong Pond | Extraordinary Business

Business Development – ensuring that you are approaching the right target

wrong-customer
 
I remember going to the department store as a younger man. While walking through the appliance area, it was almost inevitable that a sales person would approach me and say, “May I help you pick out a refrigerator?” I would think to myself, “Why would a need a refrigerator? Especially the $2,000 refrigerators they would want me to purchase?” I was not their customer. Perhaps someone that looked just like me at the time, but not me.
As you know, that isn’t an uncommon scenario; many times, people in your target markets aren’t going to be ready to purchase what you are selling when you are ready to sell to them. So if we know who our customer is and how to communicate with them, the next thing we need to work on is narrowing that list down to those who will have need for our services. As opposed to those who have immediate need for our services.
Think about some of the travel companies. They know that most of the time, most people aren’t going to be ready to take a vacation right now. Yet, they offer flash sales and discounts almost all of the time. What they are actually doing, if you think about it, is solidifying in your mind that they are the company to go to when you are ready and that you will more than likely be able to find some discounts on where you are going.
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The Right Message The Right Way | Extraordinary Business

Message in a bottle

Tapping into more effective marketing by understanding how your audiences consume information

Have you ever been out to dinner and seen the member of the wait staff that simply seems to be in the wrong business? How about going to a auto repair shop and seeing all of the mechanics standing around smoking and broken cars in the parking lot? What about going to the grocery store and seeing insects crawling or flying?
All of these thoughts play into your head about whether or not you want to do business with these companies. Essentially, you are consuming information about these companies in order to make your buying decision.
In the same way, you target audiences will consume information about your company. Therefore, when you are doing your business development activities, you will want to take into consideration what your message is, how you will deliver it and how often it is delivered.
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The Right Message The Right Way

Tapping into more effective marketing by understanding how your audiences consume information

Have you ever been out to dinner and seen the member of the wait staff that simply seems to be in the wrong business? How about going to a auto repair shop and seeing all of the mechanics standing around smoking and broken cars in the parking lot? What about going to the grocery store and seeing insects crawling or flying?

All of these thoughts play into your head about whether or not you want to do business with these companies. Essentially, you are consuming information about these companies in order to make your buying decision.

In the same way, your target audiences will consume information about your company. Therefore, when you are doing your business development activities, you will want to take into consideration what your message is, how you will deliver it and how often it is delivered.

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Bulls Eye Business Development | Extraordinary Business

Seven Steps to Targeting Your Company’s Niche Market

imageLooking at the business scape, and the market scape, you could probably figure out pretty quickly that not everyone out there is your market.  If you aren’t a market leader, such as Wal-Mart or Target, you probably don’t have much control over who that market is.  The reality is that despite our best efforts, most of the time, our markets will choose us – including what we provide, how we offer it, the price they will pay for it and how they get it.

If you compare your business to a vehicle, you’ll note that there are vehicles that are meant for speed, others that are meant for touring, others, still, that are meant for off-road experiences.  The models are created to meet the purchaser’s expectations at a price, level of service and expectation that meets the expectations of the desired consumers.

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Eleven Easy Steps to Creating an Excellent White Paper

Great article from Steve Hoffman at Hoffman Marketing Communications, Inc.  Enjoy!!

By Steve Hoffman, Senior Writer
Hoffman Marketing Communications, Inc.

An interesting and informative white paper requires hard work but is not an impossible task. It does, however, require some up-front planning and a solid interview with a knowledgeable content expert. If you consider the following questions before you sit down with a writer, your white paper briefing will be off to an excellent start.
1. Who is your target audience?

Who will read your white paper? What companies will find this interesting and which job titles within these organizations are you targeting? Which industry are you appealing to? Decide who you are talking to before you consider the following questions.

2. What is the desired length of the paper?

At Hoffman Marketing Communications, most white papers we create are between eight and ten pages in length. Some clients, however, request a more concise, five-page, white paper brief and others require 15 to 20 pages to truly explore a complex topic. The length of the paper depends upon how much information you need to convey. Just make sure you include enough content to adequately cover your topic–but not so much that your readers are buried in unnecessary details.

3. What is the white paper’s objective?

This may sound like a no-brainer…but it’s not. Surprisingly, many people say they need a white paper without a clear idea of what the white paper will accomplish. Will the paper be used to create sales leads or to send to prospects who request more information? Will you distribute the white paper to press and analysts to create buzz or will you use it internally to educate salespeople about a new product? Define a clear objective to guide the content interview and act as a foundation for your white paper.

4. What is the white paper’s primary topic?

What is the focus of your white paper? Are you subtly plugging a new solution or service? Are you sharing best practices about how your customers can build revenue, save money, or weather the recession? What information will you provide to educate readers and deliver valuable insights?

5. What tone will the paper adopt?
How do you want to approach your readers? Will the paper be informational, using a credible third person tone (recommended), or will it adopt a more familiar, “friendly” tone using first or second person?
6. What challenges will resonate with your reader?

What business or technical challenges do you want to address in the paper? These are the problems that your products or solutions help solve. Do you have any current statistics, relevant data, industry stories, or customer examples to underscore the difficulty of these challenges?

7. What primary messages will the white paper share?

What are the top three to five primary messages you want to leave with your reader after they read this paper? What information do you want to stick with them? What memorable lessons can you share?

8. What supporting information can you provide?

What supporting documents and illustrations can you send to your writer that will augment the interview and help round out the white paper? Assemble sales presentations, marketing collateral, videos, previously written papers, news articles–anything to quickly bring the writer up-to-speed.

9. What is the schedule for completion?

What is your deadline for completion? Do you need it ready to coincide with a new product launch? Do you want to take the white paper to a trade show or do you need it for a scheduled press campaign? Work with your writer to establish important milestones during the kickoff call such as the date you will receive an outline, a first draft, and a revised draft. Also, allow enough time for design, layout, and printing–if appropriate.

10. What is the writer’s scope of work?

Will your writer provide writing services only or are design, illustration, and layout needed? If you are using different vendors for writing and design, make sure all parties are aware of the schedule for completion.

11. Who are the key contacts within your organization?

During your initial white paper planning meeting, provide your writer with the names, titles, email addresses, and phone numbers of key personnel involved in the project. Define the primary subject matter expert(s) and state who will need to review and approve the paper. Also, establish a contact for financial questions, such as the person at your organization who will handle contracts, purchase orders, and invoices.

The best white papers result from well planned, informative interviews. Sit down beforehand, make notes, and answer the questions above. Preparing ahead of time will shorten the interview time and will ensure your project starts off on the right foot.

Next month, read about “Green White Papers,” which will explore the benefits of digital distribution.

Want to use this article in your e-zine or Web site? You can! (as long as you include this complete blurb with it): Hoffman Marketing Communications, Inc., specializes in writing white papers for leading technology companies around the world. Since 1985, Hoffman has developed persuasive marketing collateral for more than 100 clients, including Symantec, SAP, HP, Adobe, and Sprint. Visit http://hoffmanmarcom.com/.

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