Friday, December 28, 2012

5 Ways to Grow Your Market

The world's top marketing guru explains how to innovate your sales and marketing.

A few years ago, I heard marketing uber-guru Seth Godin speak about business growth through innovation at a conference hosted by my friend and mentor Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO of

I ran across my session notes from that conference recently and decided that Seth's ideas were definitely worth sharing:

1. Invent a New Market Segment

Position your product or service at the "logical extreme" of some aspect of your product category. For example, if the typical product in your market is expensive but comes with free service, make your product free and charge a subscription fee for the service. If you're making a commodity product, go for something either huge or tiny. Seth used the example of Hummers and Mini Coopers, but I think a better example is the PC market, where most of the growth in the past five years has been in high-end game machines and tiny netbooks.

2. Exchange Your Sales Funnel for a Sales Network

Traditionally, sales is envisioned as a funnel, with prospects shoveled into the big end and customers trickling out the bottom. Today, however, there is now so much market clutter that it's increasingly expensive to locate new prospects. So rather than concentrating on lead generation, create products and services that are so remarkable that existing customers can't wait to tell their friends and colleagues about them. Find ways, like contests and special offers, to help your happy customers get the message out.

3. Market to the Trailing or the Leading Edge

With the Internet, informed customers can always find whatever they want for the lowest possible price. Growing your business therefore means finding either two types of customer: clueless or brilliant. Clueless customers don't know what they want and thus can be persuaded to want whatever you're selling. Brilliant customers are so knowledgeable that they can to be persuaded that what you have is special and therefore worth seeking out. It's only on the fringes of your market where there's either sufficient ignorance or sufficient knowledge for your offering to command a premium price.

4. Create a Story That Shows How You're Different