Education and Market Development for the Bar Code
Bar Code Marketing Programs
Target Market Development
Selection of the appropriate target market is a very critical process. It is important to thoroughly review the market to ensure significant opportunities are not overlooked. At the same time, it is also non-productive to expend a considerable amount of effort in the development of a Target Market plan to find that it is not appropriate for the resources or strategic goals of the company. To accommodate both of these requirements, a structured approach to selecting and developing target market plans is required. The process can be broken down into four steps; selection, evaluation, planning and implementation.
By using a matrix approach as a basis for the selection mechanism, several advantages can be realized. First, it forces a discipline on the process so that segments are not easily overlooked. Especially in areas that have been written off as potential targets in the past because they were thought to be either non-productive or adequately covered by the competition. It can also highlight segments offering potential for new products. In addition, this method can be easily updated as new information becomes available, providing a basis for an on-going process. And last, much of the information is available, though generally highly camouflaged, in existing in existing market studies and industry publications.
Development of a Market Requirements Matrix is rather straight forward. One axis of the matrix consists of the various industry business segments. Each segment is categorized according to characteristics that would have to be addressed if the segment were targeted. Some example characteristics would be the primary sales channel for the segment, price sensitivity, size and growth rate. The other axis is made up of applications cutting across the business segments, such as item marking and tracking, warehousing, records management and production control. Each of these applications would be characterized in this case according to their equipment related requirements which vary depending upon the particular product. For label printers, this could include categories such as on-demand labeling, label size, quantity and system implementation.
Once the Market Requirements Matrix is developed, the next step involves matching the characteristics of the promising target segments to the strategic goals and resources of the company. This is the responsibility of company management and a consultant should only be involved to the extent of providing clarification and/or additional backup information. Among the factors to be considered would be product development plans, existing sales channels, market share considerations, potential revenues, effect on existing business and possible strategic alliances.
After company management has evaluated the potential targets, the resulting prioritized list of market segments is used to guide plan development activity. At this point activity can be pursued in a serial fashion or several can be undertaken simultaneously if resources allow and potential warrants. A typical Market Plan would contain available market size estimates, market share targets, revenue projections, channel definition and the marketing and sales tactics to be employed. The final plan also provides verification for the original assumptions made during the selection process.
The final step in the plan development process is implementation. The responsibility for plan execution usually falls within the domain of the sales organization, but close coordination with the marketing and other support departments. As the implementation process progresses, some modifications will inevitably have to be made. However, it is very important that any modifications or changes made be carefully documented. If not, it will be impossible to gauge the success of the plan, and more important, to incorporate the experienced gained into future efforts.
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