The business world is full of buzzwords. They change every year, but there are always a few doing the rounds. At the moment, one of the popular phrases I’m seeing is “market focused”. Companies talk about needing to be more market focused without really giving thought to what that means in business terms.
I believe that being truly market focused will result in more successful and sustainable businesses that are able to weather industry changes and attract new clients, but I also believe that many businesses have not grasped the core of what focusing on their market involves.
Here’s what being market focused actually means:
Don’t focus first on product
Many organisations still focus first on product development and then on the best way to sell those products. Instead, market focused organisations go to great lengths to find out what is happening in their target market.
- What the issues are that are affecting their clients
- What’s happening in the industry
- What problems their clients want solved.
Businesses can’t be market focused if their thinking starts on the inside and progresses to an outward focus. They need to think about what they should be offering to clients from the outside point of view before developing and marketing products.
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Market focused organisations understand that resources are limited and they need to focus on priorities. They don’t try to be everything to everyone. They don’t water down their impact on the market by trying to connect with anyone remotely interested in their business area. They focus on their ideal customers and develop products and solutions for those clients.
Market focused businesses measure the impact they’re making in their target market. They keep track of what works and what doesn’t and they constantly tweak their offering to meet the changing needs of the market.
They adapt with their clients, rather than expecting their clients to make do with products and services that don’t fully meet their needs.
Keep strategy central
In market focused organisations, everyone understands the business strategy and the role that he or she plays in delivering it. There’s no room for activities or initiatives that don’t support the strategy.
Every proposed project or new product is evaluated on what value it will deliver to the target market and how it will support the overarching strategy. Anything superfluous or that doesn’t help to serve the needs of the market is disregarded.