Wouldn't it be wonderful if your business or startup could service every need for every person on the planet?
Well, you can't. Then, the issue becomes how can you maximize the value you deliver to your niche of the market. Surely, you've heard of the 80/20 Rule or Pareto Principle. In this article, we will be exploring how the 80/20 Rule applies to business development and market intelligence.
Market intelligence can not be perfected. You can't know every potential client and every potential competitor. Your view in to the market place is finite.
How can a company maximize the information they do have then? How can we achieve at least the 80% of the Pareto Principle?
- Define your market
- Free Search
- Multiple Sources
Define your Market
You need a clear definition of target customers and the scope of your market's niche. Your market is not "all people". Bottled water companies customers are not "all people drinking water". Clean Tech companies often point out the global size of the energy consumption market as potential customers and area for growth. Smart money recognizes that and will know that to be a terrible definition. Sadly, poorly defined markets like that example often do persuade people in to joining your ponit of view. Unfortunately, you're doing harm to yourself along with those whom you are pursuading.
Let's pretend you make a reporting software package for ElasticSearch that analyzes trends and traffic that correspond to social media trends and traffic. The ElasticSearch market is pretty good size, easily discovered, and identifyable - Does that mean you go after anyone who uses ElasticSearch or Marvel? No. Well, the social media market is gigantic - Does that mean you target any company that watches social media trends and traffic? No.
Free Search is everywhere. Let someone else do the hard lifting of finding and indexing all of the information you need, and get it free. AlphaProspect.com and BuiltWith.com are almost entirely free and have a wealth of resources for People, Companies, and Technologies. Datanyze.com has a free Chrome plugin that's quite useful for identifying companies, relating their size and markets, and having insights regarding technology details.
Paying for search is crazy. I like LinkedIn, but I can't believe they get customers to pay for search. They are doing a shotgun approach to finding good people, and I don't think that gets them anywhere near the 80/20 rule for good results even when they pay good money.
Use multiple sources. So simple, I'll just provide some examples:
I'm not generally a fan of complete social media coverage all businesses or startups. It's almost completely unrealistic to think you're going to find your early adoptors and initial clients on facebook or instagram.
Blogs are also not necessary. Does every butcher or plumber need a blog? No, really no.
Find the people! Meetup.com has many groups of people spanning all interests where they actually meet in person. I strongly reocmmend meetup.com events, but they are plenty of other options: farmer's markets, community centers, trade shows, conventions, etc...
- Contacts getting stale? Need to run the same searches again?
- Automate it!
- Want to know when a new meetup group in your interests is created?
- Automate it - setup automated notifications.
- Want to know when trade shows or conventions are scheduled?
- Automate it - get on a mailing list. Not all mailing lists are bad or spam.
- Want to write blog articles?
- Automate it - use a blog engine like WordPress for easy everything (publishing, analytics, editing, moderation, etc...).
If you are doing all of these principles: clear market definition, searches, in person, and automation - then you are most certainly exceeding the 80% of your competitors that aren't executing effectively. Congratulations!