What do you do when you’ve led successful efforts to launch new products, new segments, or new channels? You launch a company to help others be successful as well. Whether, as an engineer, sales person or as a marketeer, Lief Koepsel has always felt comfortable with leading companies into new markets.
He finds too many companies desiring to enter new markets; create a product, develop a demand generation campaign and wait for the orders to roll-in. An almost ”build it and they will come approach”. But success depends on far more than simply offering a new product. Success depends on meeting all of the needs required by the new market, which in turn demands a marketing strategy that:
- defines the customer
- the benefits the customer receives
- the plan for communicating the value of the benefits
- identifying the metrics for success
- ensuring the product delivers on that value
And yes, this strategy should exist prior to the creation of the product!
A major networking company was rolling out a set of products aimed at the small to medium business (SMB) market. Research showed that the market was served by small solution providers and these small businesses depended on the ability to remotely manage and maintain the IT infrastructure of their clients. We developed a maintenance service that allowed the solution providers to not only profitability maintain their SMB customers, it allowed them to create a more profitable business managing their customers’ infrastructure. This enhancement to the product line was accepted extremely well by the solution providers.
This effort was preceded by a failing effort several years earlier where we had attempted to create a similar service for a set of larger solution providers. Unfortunately, the design of the service hadn’t accounted the route to market for this set of solution providers and the service was not easily purchased. This difficulty doomed the service to slow adoption and minimal success in the market.
The lesson on both of these examples was having a product was not enough. In this case, it had to have a strong value proposition for both the customer and the route to market. In the first example, we studied the market prior to development to ensure we offered something that made sense. In the second example, we simply built it and they didn’t show up. It helps to have someone ratify the work you are doing or ensure that all aspects of the market are covered, or to review the value proposition and agree its in line with customer expectations.
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Principal: Lief Koepsel
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