Who you can sell to. Having selected your
target audience in general terms, the next step is to define the specific
needs of that market, and the value proposition that will motivate a purchase.
by Eric Armstrong
- The largest possible market -- every individual on the planet. However,
the market is very price sensitive, and it takes a lot of reaching out to
penetrate the market. The acceptance curve tends to be a long, slow ramp.
A technology can languish for years, and then suddenly rocket.
- Still very large, though smaller -- a subset of consumers. This can be
a highly lucrative market, because it is not overly price-sensitive. As
long as the price is within reason, professionals will pay for it, either
because they need it to compete, because they can make more money with it,
or because it makes life easier, so they make the same money in less time,
or with less effort. The acceptance curve tends to ramp up very quickly,
and then taper off as market saturation is reached. Marketing costs are
still large, but they can be much more tightly targeted.
- This sector supports the high-ticket items. If the purchase can be cost-justified,
it can be sold. Typically requires a combination of advertising and sales
efforts. Marketing costs therefore tend to be high, and decision cycles
can in some cases be 8 or 9 months. The acceptance curve is therefore slowed
by bureaucracy, but once the pump is primed, the long initial dry spell
can be followed by high volume revenues.
- A subset of corporations who are taking their journals online. This market
is small enough to be tapped with a purely sales effort. As more and more
corporations realize they are in the "publishing" business, this
market will expand to include most corporations -- especially those with
large intranet communities they want to keep informed. However, there will
always be a core of companies that make their living primarily as a result
of their publications. That audience is one that can be targeted with a
fairly pure sales effort, without requiring any advertising.
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