Achieving Sustainable Growth Through Adjacent Markets: Gauging Customer Appeal and Acceptance

In the second post of our blog post series, ENGINE’s Brian Reuter and Linda Shea addressed “Determining Market Attractiveness,” based on a webinar that ENGINE Insights recently hosted, “Achieving Sustainable Growth Through Adjacent Markets.”

In our third post in this series, Brian & Linda will take you through the third part of this webinar, “Gauging Customer Appeal and Acceptance.”

Brian Reuter:

So then, moving out of the market attractiveness area, the next thing to consider is the customer angle. So, Linda, why don’t you walk us through what needs to be done to gauge whether or not customers are going to be attracted to what you have to offer or not?

Linda Shea:

Sure. Thanks, Brian. We talked a little bit about this earlier, but I wanted to go into just a little bit more detail and talk about the types of questions that you really want to make sure that you can answer. The first is understanding more about the solution that you want to take to market, understanding its appeal and its uniqueness. We talked a little bit earlier about how you might stack up relative to the competition. We’ll talk about that again before we finish this slide, but I do think that uniqueness and differentiation is going to be particularly important, because you really do want to understand the degree to which customers will buy in.

So you need to understand who those customers are, and you need to understand their interest. You also need to take a look at the prevalence of need. We mentioned earlier, this is about scale. It’s about the broadness of it and really understanding the need within the broader market. How large is the need in that market? How unique is that need, and again, how are customers looking at fulfilling that need today? How could they look at filling that need tomorrow? In the right to play area, this is really about the brand.

It’s about your brand. It’s about your brand and its ability to have permission to play in the space that you’re considering. Whether you look at that from a credibility standpoint, or an acceptance standpoint, but you want to make sure that you’re doing that and learning about that with the target customer group. You want to make certain that you don’t leave that point out because many very, very strong brands are rather surprised to find out they don’t have the credibility to play in certain spaces. So take the time to find out that information.

Then last but not least, as I mentioned a moment ago, not only do you want to understand about the credibility and the acceptance your brand has, but you need to understand that relative to the current competitors in the space. I mentioned earlier thinking and knowing about the different types of competitors, those that are there, are there for a reason, whether they are traditional competitors. Whether they’re new entrants, or they’re a niche player of some sort, you need to understand how you stack up against those competitors today, and how you will be able to differentiate against them. So just a few thoughts there in terms of gauging customer appeal. Brian, do you want to talk about how we think about gathering customer insights?

Brian Reuter:

There’s a framework or maybe not a framework, but a way of thinking about customers that helps you prepare for the research that you’re going to do with customers and how to go about it, and you can kind of see here, the way we look at it has to do with the level of participation, that the customers may be willing to be involved in and their incidents in the marketplace. So what we call low hanging fruit, that is your typical consumer markets. Typical broad based consumer markets.

There’s a lot of companies out there that create databases of consumers of different types, and where you can tap into and get a sample that you can survey and learn all kinds of things about that consumer group. There’s obviously, there’s hard to reach consumer groups too but in general, typical consumer markets, there’s a lot of great sources to track them down and learn from them. That’s pretty rare and specialized B2B research. B2B more falls into the other three categories you see here.

So one of them, Waldo. So like the name kind of implies, they’re hard to find, but when you find them, they’re very, very friendly. They’re very willing to participate and share information about their situations and their challenges and their aspirations. Then we have what we call the ubiquitous miser. So they’re very commonplace, and they’re easy to track down, but because of that, they’re being often pinged a lot for information and are less likely to want to participate.

IT is a great example of that. There’s lots and lots of IT people, it’s a big huge market. Everybody wants to get a slice of that. So IT decision makers and influencers are constantly being hit by brands to do research with them to learn about their needs and problems. Then the final one is the reckless in the woods and this is pretty common in B2B actually. The reckless in the woods is just like it sounds. They’re not a lot of them, and they’re very difficult to source and oftentimes, they don’t have a lot of time or interest in participating in research.

So some good examples of that are executives in large companies, or decision makers could be some technical people in certain areas, that sort of thing. So oftentimes they are the voice you need to hear, but having this kind of thinking about customer gives you some, kind of get your expectation set correctly about what it’s going to take to tap into them to learn from them. So what does it take to acquire new customers, once we enter something, Linda?

Linda Shea:

There really are five considerations, five aspects that you want to take a look at, and if you look at the visual here on the right hand side of the page, I would imagine none of these are brand new aspects to any one of you. I think it is important to kind of think through, talk through each one of these as a part of the consideration, and that is because we want to make sure that we’re understanding the environment, we’re understanding things like, what are the buying triggers.

If you feel as if you’ve identified needs that you could fulfill, one of the critical pieces you need to understand is the buying triggers. When do they arise? How can you anticipate them? How can you be there at the right time? A messaging front, certainly you want to make sure that you’re thinking about your content, you’re thinking about your distribution, the channels by which your target audience learn about new suppliers, new brands that are able to help them fulfill a need.

Part of the messaging pieces thinking very carefully about how do you articulate through differentiation, your value, your benefits? What is it that your solution helps the target audience solve? Is it a step in their everyday journey? Is it a step in a business process? Understanding the way in which you can articulate that and how you help them will be very critical. Of course, once you’ve worked on all of that, your goal should be looking to understand how will you drive awareness and consideration.

If we think about very straightforward things such as reach and frequency, we also want to be careful of the fact that you can work very diligently to drive awareness but you also need to think about how do you get your brand and your offer into the consideration set. We know that if you’re in that initial consideration set, you have a far greater chance of being the that’s ultimately selected. So what’s going to allow you to do that? Once you’ve developed that unique differentiated value proposition, how do you actually get it across to the people in a manner that will allow you to make it into that consideration set?

Then at the point of purchase, you really do want to understand, how is that buyer making a decision? Are they doing it on their own? Are they influenced by others? Is it a group decision in business to business today, as opposed to business to consumer? We see a lot more of group decisions and sometimes that decision making process can be much more complicated than what we see in business to consumer situations.

Are you aware of all those factors, and have you taken them into consideration because at the end of the day, we know you need to be at the right place, at the right time with the right message. So, five very straightforward aspects, but certainly a lot underneath each of them that you want to be thinking about to increase your success in acquiring new customers. So Brian, do you want to then move to our next area and talk about relatedness?

Keep reading to find out more about our fourth post in this series, where Brian and Linda address “Relatedness to Your Core!”

Want to learn more about how you can achieve sustainable growth through adjacent markets? Contact us now!

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