INTENSIVE BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGIES – HOW TO GROW WITHIN THE CURRENT MARKET (PART 2)
One of the ways to exploit the current product market is to develop new products and services for existing customers or offer new versions of existing products. That is the tactic employed by software companies, which are constantly updating software with new versions their customers must buy if they want to enjoy all the latest features.
Savvy businesses get their best ideas for new products from their customers. These new ideas usually come in one of two forms: incremental changes in existing products or totally new products. Incremental products often come serendipitously when engineers, sales personnel, and management spend time out in the marketplace with customers, learning more about their needs.
Bringing all these team members together on a weekly basis to discuss the ideas helps the business zero in quickly on those incremental products that are possible within the current operating structure and budget. The advantage of incremental products is that, because they are based on existing products, they can usually be designed and manufactured quite rapidly, and the marketing costs are less because customers are already familiar with the core products.
Brand new or breakthrough products, on the other hand, have a much longer product development cycle and are therefore more costly to undertake. Breakthrough products can not be planned for; instead, they usually come about through brainstorming, exercises in creativity, and problem-solving sessions. In other words, if the entrepreneur creates a business environment that encourages creative, “off-the-wall” thinking, the chances are greater than the company will eventually come up with breakthrough products. The breakthrough environment, of necessity, has no budget or time constraints and does not run on a schedule.
Offering a combination of incremental and breakthrough products is probably the most effective approach. The speed and cost-efficiency of the incremental products keep cash flowing into the business to help fund the more costly breakthrough products.
The most successful entrepreneurs recognize the power of a brand name. They strive to gain brand name recognition for their products and services as quickly as possible so that they can use the recognition to create a family of related products and services under the name. A company that is able to establish brand recognition will find its marketing effort that much easier and its costs reduced. A brand name that reflects quality, service and value is an asset that ultimately can generate huge profits for the business.
To establish brand recognition, entrepreneurs should list all the strengths of the company and its products. For example, does the company offer higher-quality products, a wider range of accessories or models, or exciting new colours? The entrepreneur should educate customers about the company’s strengths. Once core strengths have been identified, they should be communicated over and over again in all marketing efforts, from brochures to signage to advertising. They should literally become a mantra for the customer. The minute customers think of this product they should associate it with its strengths.
In addition, the entrepreneur should develop a new set of rules for using the brand name. If the brand name should be associated only with family values, entrepreneur probably won’t want to advertise during a television show containing violence or explicit language.
Another important task is to get feedback on brand name recognition. To make sure the brand name is achieving the recognition level sought, it is important to check periodically with the target customer to determine what their favourite brands are and how often they choose a product on the basis of the brand. And once brand name recognition has been established, the entrepreneur needs to take advantage of it by developing related products under the same brand name.
However, this works only when the entrepreneur is offering new benefits to the target market, or taking the same benefits to a new market. When a new product is taken to a new market, brand recognition does not necessarily follow.