August is generally a quiet time for business; many people’s thoughts turn to vacation and it might seem that half the people you want to contact are either getting ready to go on vacation, or already on vacation (even if they haven’t yet left the office). Several companies I’ve talked with recently have been thinking about making changes in the markets they serve. My advice, which I share with you, is this can be an ideal time to reach out and have a different type of conversation with customers and prospects to gather information to make strategic decisions on markets and products.
Maybe your business feels less focused than you would like it to be because there are so many possibilities that you aren’t sure you are focusing enough? Or have you felt that your market traction may not be as strong as it should be and wonder about the size of the market? Are there are other markets you could be expanding into, but aren’t sure where to expand for maximum results?
No matter the question, this is the ideal time when everyone’s pace is a little slower to have some deeper, more meaningful conversations. Take a few minutes and create a list of questions you would like to research. Ask customers and key prospects for a few minutes of time over the phone, or if they are nearby offer to meet for an (iced) coffee. Interview customers and recent prospects or others who are thought leaders, listen to them talk about their problems and needs as well as wants. Analyze market segments to pursue (including the one you are currently in) and validate that problems are urgent and pervasive to know that target segments will support both current and future business.
You might be surprised at the insights you gather and the connections you make during this research process. Taking this time during the summer doldrums and you will be ready to create a plan that will help you as you come into the more active fall and winter periods – and help prepare you for an even stronger and more profitable 2015!
Consider these questions when doing your research:
- What are some of your biggest challenges?
- What are the biggest advantages you gain when you use our products and services?
- What products or services do you wish we had that we don’t?
- If we were considering offering “test product/service” what advice would you offer us on which markets to pursue?
- What trends are you seeing that our company should be aware of?
As the President of Accelerate Marketing, LLC, Elizabeth Andreini, is the “secret
weapon” CEOs turn to at key growth points when they need to transform marketing and
product management to grow their customer base, increase revenue & scale their
business. In addition to providing experienced executive insight and guidance, Elizabeth
often works as an interim CMO or VP to provide the hands-on leadership needed to
rearchitect marketing and product management and improve execution from the inside.
Elizabeth Andreini, founder & president of Accelerate Marketing, LLC
206-769-3420 or firstname.lastname@example.org