What Does the Market Want?
By: Kevin Sandlin
If you recall, Step 3 of the Vista Roadmap provides leadership with a comprehensive view of the “perceptions” customers and partners have about their brand. With Step 4, we look at the marketplace more deeply and from a higher altitude lens, a vista if you will. We look at the market size, market opportunity and market trends — in total — going beyond the individual conversations in Step 3.
Why is it important to understand what the market wants?
To effectively grow your brand, decisions need to made with the understanding of what buyers are buying and why. If brand leadership knows why consumers buy the things they buy, they have the power to align their products and services to add value to the marketplace — and therefore be successful. With Step 4, we are driven by dimensionalizing the simple question, “What does the market want?”
To grow brands for the long-term we need to know what the long, strategic view of the market is. We focus on three key market drivers:
1. Who are the winners and the losers in the space? And why?
2. What are the expert voices of the space predicting? And why?
3. Where is the articulated and unarticulated opportunity for growth in that space? And why?
First, we identify who the winners and the losers are in a given market space. In other words, who are the leaders and the laggards? Once identified, we simplify what it is that those companies are doing well and doing poorly, and provide structure to the reasons behind their success or failure. These reasons for success become clear, and understood by leadership to be industry “best practices”.
Once the best operational practices for the market space have been identified and agreed upon by leadership, the Vista teams turn our focus to the industry’s intellectual capital: thought leaders, futurists, and experts talking about trends. From that we identify the future segmentation and direction of the marketplace. This part of Step 4 requires a lot of hunting and gathering of useful and relevant information.
It was at this stage with Greenway Health that we found a trend that completely changed the focus of Greenway’s marketing. Only through this detailed level of research did we discover that the average size of a physician’s office had increased from 10 physicians to more than 40 physicians — in just one year. As a result Greenway responded with an increased focus on Enterprise practices (larger accounts). Revenues boomed. Would they have made these strategic shifts if they didn’t take a long, high altitude view of the market?
Brand leaders must view the marketplace from the highest vantage point possible, unattached to how things have always been done within their own brand. Only then can courageous leaders see and move on a new path that would otherwise never be visible.