Breaking Bad? 5 Things You Should Know Before Attempting to Break Into New Markets

Clients often ask me about breaking into new markets or new sectors that they feel should be more lucrative or offer better margins. It certainly seems the golden ticket for most companies; “if we could only tap into <insert segment here> we would have it made!” While obviously different for every business there are several things that remain consistent when approaching new markets.

  1. Do your Research. Whether through persona building, market research or primary research, you need to understand if the service or product you are offering fulfills a need within this new market. Seems simple enough, but it can scuttle any initiative. We often have the tendency to believe that, of course they will want my product, my product is AWESOME! However what we often fail to see in that belief is the strong market incumbent with a cheaper or better (gasp!) alternative. Or if our perception of the market’s “need” is clouded by our current market’s, we can waste resources chasing opportunities which do not exist. So do the research, ask the hard questions of the market and yourself, if there is still a strong fit, go for it.
  2. Find the Influencers. While the target market is our intended customer base, the way to motivate that base to move is with influence. Influence can come in many forms, be it an external market conditions (the price of oil, the exchange rate, etc.), internal market factors (access to technology, retail locations, etc.) or even a group of people (Mommy bloggers, fashion editors, etc.). Finding the key influencer(s) to your market and leveraging these factors will determine your marketing tactics going forward.
  3. Determine your Value Position. One advantage businesses often have when entering new markets is the ability to bring tested systems into new environments. The ability to seem “innovative” is brief, so capitalizing on this differentiation quickly is key. Do you have a technology or process that allows you to get to market faster, cheaper, with more features? Does your experience in solving problems for one industry translate to another? Market “Value” is fundamentally fluid in nature, your niche today can be filled with 10 competitors tomorrow, know your key differentiator, protect it and innovate.
  4. Be Social. While part of your eventual marketing tactics, social media can offer an opportunity to listen, evaluate and even engage potential market segments and better determine your influencers and value position. Evaluating early messaging and content within a market in real-time offers new players insight into how a market may feel about incumbents, alternatives and your existing brand.
  5. Are you Passionate? Is this a market you are genuinely interested in? Do you really care if you are making a difference in these businesses or with those consumers? If not, you are wasting your time. Chasing potential markets for the margin is important, but if you don’t actually care about making an impact or a difference, why bother? The opportunity to chisel market share away from well entrenched incumbents does not come easily. Any low-cost-alternative or high-end-feature strategy still needs the passion to fulfil the needs of the customer.

At Post+Beam we have the luxury of working with all sort of industries from Haute couture emerging designers, to huge oil and gas companies, to innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs, but we approach each new opportunity the same: can our services make a successful difference for this client, or group of clients? And most importantly, are we truly passionate about that success, do we really give a shit if they succeed or not? If we don’t, why should our clients?

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