In any market, different customer types will be looking for different things. Some will value the immediacy of buying online. While for many, they may want the intimacy and relative security of buying your solution direct. Others may want the broader or fuller solution, that can be created through a value added reseller or retailer.
The most impactful ‘go to market’ strategies are designed to achieve two things; add significant value to the target customer and deliver maximum growth. To achieve this, you must begin and end your thinking processes, with the customer in mind – It is after all, the customer who will choose to buy whatever it is you are offering. They must see a unique value in making the purchase from your business, and it is imperative that you understanding this.
Does your customer want your offering with more services than you can deliver it direct? Do they want it with different or more individualised aftersales than you can give them without support? Or, do they want a more complete rounded product solution than you intend to build?
The question: “What do our target customers value most?” starts the journey to creating your go to market plan. Answer that, and you create direction for the rest of the process of creating your plan and will be able to move far more quickly through the steps ahead.
If you don’t already know the answer to this most fundamental of questions, please don’t assume you can respond on their behalf. Customer behaviors and preferences are evolving fast. What your customers wanted when you set up in business is not an indication that they will be happy with that today, and certainly no assurance that it will be what they look for tomorrow.
To really understand this, you need to; talk to customers, talk to prospects, talk to people who are in the ”suspect’ phase and don’t yet know they need or want the product. Invest time here, you’ll thank yourself later when the clarity you have created around the real value you can add, will give you a superpower in conversations with customers and prospects.
The answer to this question is likely to lead you towards one of the following conclusions about what ‘Major’ benefit your customer is looking for:
Best Product – Your customer values quality, reliability or functionality of your product over all else? The want the most robust and comprehensive solution money can buy and if necessary, they will pay extra to get it. The value innovation and will often be early adopters of new solutions and technology.
Best Experience – Your customer places a higher value on the experience of engaging with your company above other considerations? They respond to personal interaction, relationships and access to a responsive business that understands their needs. They are comfortable paying more for this level of service.
Most efficient – Your customers want things as fast as possible or as slick and lean as they can be. Some will prioritise this above other aspects of what is on offer. As this can often mean a less functional product or just in time service, it can result in a lower price point. But often, if the product is strong you can also charge a premium price for a fast solution.
I’d like to be very explicit here though, this isn’t a license to select one and discard the other two – you must select one to ‘Major’ in, and the other two to ‘Minor’ in and deliver at the best level possible. To be competitive today, you must be very good in all three areas, you simply cannot lead your proposition in all three.
I’d also point out that there is no correct answer. If you look at any mature or developed industry on the planet, you will likely find three major players, each focused on one of the above. Because of the nature of these disciplines, it makes it almost impossible to make more than one your absolute focus and priority as they appeal in different ways to different customers.
The leaders in any field simply give more time and attention to their chosen differentiator, appealing to and building loyalty with the part of the market that values this the most. They then leave the competitors, to fight over what’s left.
If you have an ‘experience’ based business and pride yourself on the intimacy you have with customers, you will need a significant investment in resources to achieve this and potentially charge higher prices which customers lookin for this model are likely to be happy to pay. It is therefore unlikely you will be able to offer your product or service as ‘efficiently’ and at the lower prices of those that choose efficiency to be their main focus and sell direct to the customer online, for example.
You need to create a way to appeal to the selected slice of the market, which places the highest value on your specific ‘major’ benefit.