Target Market Strategies

To achieve maximum profit and success, it is often important to focus limited marketing and sales resources on specific target markets or applications for a business or product. Such targets can be a combination of:

  • Specific markets, types of organizations, and/or kinds of users within organizations that need the product or service (such as "the health care market," "companies developing software applications for wireless PDAs," or "engineers who integrate optical networking products."
  • Specific applications for a product or service that has many potential uses (applications such as "compressing data for residential or small office wireless transmission" or "Bluetooth transceivers used in automotive products").

“Jack created consistently good product definitions, marketing materials, and sales training materials based on solutions for targeted customers. His marketing and sales training materials were well accepted not only by U.S. sales staff and support engineers but also widely by the Japanese marketing and sales staff. His sales training sessions were very interesting new experiences for me – very explanatory, with clear descriptions of strong features, clear competitive analysis, good solutions for targeted markets, and many questions to trainees to measure their understanding.”
Yusuke Tsuji
Former Executive Vice President and Network Solutions Company President
Anritsu Corporation (Atsugi, Japan

Jack focuses on four kinds of documents for defining and implementing target market strategies:

Company Promotion Guide

The first step is to identify your company's role in the market because this information should provide a unifying theme and compelling message in all promotional materials about your company and its products or services. Your role in the market is what distinguishes you and makes you valuable to potential customers:

  • What’s important and unique about what you do?
  • Why are your products or services valuable to customers?
  • Who exactly is your potential market, and why?
  • Why do you win against competitors?
  • How do you overcome your weaknesses?

These and related questions can be answered in a concise 2-page Company Promotion Guide that provides the direction for all promotional strategies and materials. Jack's template for this document ensures that all the questions are addressed properly with answers that focus on value to the customer. It's essential information for company management, marketing staff, PR and advertising agencies, and your sales organization.

Application Selling Guide

After your company market role is clearly identified, you should develop this key document next to define the strategy for promoting and selling a specific product or service. This will ensure that subsequent marketing material focuses on appropriate product value and differentiation, and that the sales organization is all working in the same direction. The Application Selling Guide is a concise 2- or 3-page document similar to the basic Selling Guide but emphasizing the target market:

  • What is the value of each important product feature to the customer in this specific market? In general, if you can't definite the quantitative value of a feature, you should probably focus on a different feature.
  • Why is the product unique in this application or market?
  • What are examples of company names or job functions of potential customers for this application, and why do they need the product?
  • What are each competitor's strong and weak points for this specific application, and what strategy should we use to win against each competitor?
  • What are the strong points of our product in this market or application, and how can we demonstrate those strong points or show measurable value of them to the customer? Strong points with unquantifiable value (such as "easy to use") are less effective.
  • What are the weak points of our product in this application, and what strategy should we use to overcome each one?

“The Application Selling Guides are very effective in helping my sales team of outside sales representatives by enhancing their ability to understand exactly how to sell complex products to specific customers.  These Guides developed by Jack for various applications were instrumental in our ability to successfully penetrate key accounts and markets with application-specific solutions..”
Pete Alexander
National Sales Manager-Americas Sales Region
Anritsu Corporation

Demo Guide

The Demo Guide is a confidential sales tool based directly on the Application Selling Guide that teaches sales people or field application engineers how to promote your product and demonstrate:

  • How and why your product is valuable and meets customer needs in this application or market
  • What your product strong points are and how they provide benefits in this application
  • Why your product is different and better than those of competitors for this application

This Guide is essential to help your sales staff remember the strategies for promoting key product features and strong points. Even when a demonstration shows the product doing something good, your sales person or customer may not recognize why the product is valuable and different from those of competitors without the Demo Guide information.

Application Note

As part of your total target market strategy, an Application Note is a pre-sales customer document to attract new customers and promote additional products or applications for existing customers by helping them make educated purchasing decisions. It explains an important technical problem in the target market and helps potential customers understand:

  • What the technical problem and its challenges are, why they exist, what kinds of people have this problem, and how people have tried to solve this problem previously
  • How your company addresses the technical challenges of the problem
  • How your product or technology provides a uniquely valuable solution that best meets customer needs for this application

The Application Note is based directly on your Application Selling Guide strategy and the Demo Guide. The Application Note focuses on the type of customer identified in the Selling Guide and on a unique strong point of the product identified there that provides clear and quantifiable value in the target market. The Demo Guide is a companion internal document explaining to sales and support staff how to promote the product effectively while demonstrating that same application.

In technical markets it is important that your Application Note not appear to be an advertisement:

  • At least 80% of the content should be educational technical material describing the problem, its importance, and its potential solutions.
  • 20% of the material or less should promote your product and technology.