Although it may sound like the classic chicken or egg scenario, it’s actually not.
When starting out a business, most soon-to-be entrepreneurs ask the golden question, “What’s the right way to start a business? Should you identify your target market first or create your product first?”
Whether you are a marketer, product manager, or business owner, it’s easy to get frustrated with the strategy process. Many experts believe that if you don't know who your target market is, you'll waste time and money trying to sell your product or service to the wrong people. Others argue that the product that you have will determine the target market. So, which comes first?
It depends on whether you’re a new business or an existing business.
Let’s say you are just about to start your business; you definitely have a vision for your business. You know what you want it to look like, what the customer experience should be and feel like. But the main question that still needs answering is: Do you have the right product or service to introduce to the market?
We all know the importance of having a strong market presence, but if you don’t have the right product to introduce to the market, then your business will never get off the ground. It’s almost impossible for a business to survive without the right product. As every successful business owner knows, before you can sell something, you first need to create it. You need to create a product that fits into the current market or fill a gap in the market that nobody has filled before.
But if you are an existing business, the product can come second. Because the goal is to expand the customer base.
As a business, you don’t want to sell just any product or service; you want to sell something that your customers want. How can you do that? Here are four factors to think about when deciding on a product that will sell:
When you focus on your customers’ pains, goals and challenges, you not only create a product that solves a problem, but a product/service your customers will seek out and want to use. If what you provide doesn’t serve a need, no amount of marketing can help you sell your product/service.
Technology is progressing quickly and today’s tech-savvy audience is aware of what’s in and what’s out. So before you choose a product to sell, you might want to ask yourself these questions: What’s trending? Which products are currently enjoying a leading position in the market? Why? What needs do these products serve? By understanding the current trends, you can anticipate gaps, products or services that your customers will want and create one that meets these needs.
A good business always starts from the heart. Selling a product that you’re passionate about has a far greater chance of success than making cold, calculated marketing decisions. When you truly believe in your product/service and love what you sell, this passion translates and it is often easier to persuade your target audience to purchase it.
Knowing who your competitors will be is vital. When you know your competition, you’ll know where you stand, how you can improve on what you offer, and what you can do to differentiate yourself from your competitors. This insight will help you gain a competitive advantage.
Once you have identified a target market, you can save time and resources by tailoring your products, services and marketing efforts to suit the needs of your potential customers. Here are three steps you can follow to help you narrow down your target market:
Think about the group of people you are targeting. How will your product/service serve a need or solve a problem in their lives? The more groups of people you can identify as having similar problems or needs, the easier it will be to know which groups to target your marketing efforts.
Before you create a product or service to sell, you have to answer one question: Is there a market for this?
The most important element in any successful marketing is to know your market and your customers. Without a thorough knowledge of your potential customers and their preferences, it will be difficult to tailor your product/service to their needs.
What are my customers looking for? Which group of people are most likely to purchase my product? What are their likes or dislikes? These are questions you need to think about when you decide on which segment of the market you would like to target. These customer demographics will help you understand who they are as a customer, enabling you to tailor your product, service and marketing efforts to meet the needs of specific customer personas.
Your target market and the products you provide are equally important. Creating the right product for a specific target market will make your marketing efforts much easier. Why? Because you can't have a market without a product or service for them to buy. But despite what should come first, if these two factors are not taken into consideration before you begin, the beginnings of your business may be more challenging than it needs to be.