Defining the Market – Advice from the Experts

We had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion with guests Jen Kellum Nausin, Kelby Johnson and Chris Carter.  We were able to ask the three of them questions about market analysis, identifying our target customer and how to reach those target customers.

Jen shared the process of narrowing down the target travel enthusiasts for Trover.  It was an organic process focused on the use of social media and interaction of their customers.  Trover worked hard dig deep and understand that creative user audience and their needs and motivations.  At the very beginning, it is really important to identify a few customer personas and drill down to how they interact with the product.  This helps with product development as well as determining the target customer.

Kelby and Chris provided the agency perspective and how they help clients walk through market segmentation and the customization process for the target customer.  Companies often already have client segmentation and will provide customer targeting information, however smaller companies may not have.  Regardless, it is always important to identify the current or new segment and ensure your product aligns with them.  Part of the exercise is identifying the size, value and the right message once the target customer is identified.  As the company and the product(s) develop it is important to review the market.  Re-evaluation should occur at each new iteration or the product/service.  This is to ensure that the new characteristics align with the target customer and does not alienate them.

With start-ups there may be a financial strain, especially in the pre-funding stage.  We asked how to frame and organize marketing efforts with a small budget.  From experience with a start-up, Kelby advised of using grassroots and guerilla tactics.  Pushing out cheap social media ads and flyers will create ambient awareness, however you have to hone in on the tactics that find your core audience.  Chris and Jen both supported testing out all tactics in order to determine what works.  Knowledge of geographic location is really important to reach the core audience, so Jen recommended leaning on relationships with media specialists.

Data is becoming more and more important in supporting marketing efforts, to identify the proper targeting tactics.  However, identifying the right measures to look at is half of the battle.  In addition to measures, such as Advocacy and net promoter score, Jen also suggests measuring influencer relationships.  Number of relationships is important, however quality is just as important to determine not only reach but impact on a community.

As start-ups we should learn from the successes and failures of other start-ups.  Not only identifying target customers, but truly understanding them and what speaks to them is really important to succeed in marketing a product or service.  An example to look to is GoPro.  There was a start-up, Contour, that had a portable camera with more features and better specifications.  Both of them came out around the same time.  However, GoPro did deep research on the consumer and identified the aspirational element of the consumer.  They developed an ingenious marketing plan with aspirational videos and succeeded in the marketplace with an arguably worse product.

Finally, we asked for specific advice on our product, wearable technology for infants.  We were told to focus on the pain point that our product is serving.  Beyond moms and dads, we were guided to consider other caregivers for children and potential interaction points.  An example was doing guerilla marketing in hospitals or maternity wards.  Jen again brought up the power of influencers, especially in this market.  She suggested we start small with local mommy bloggers and getting their feedback via social media.

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