Five Steps to Unlocking Market Opportunities

by | May 10, 2018

Are you worried about competitors or upstarts nibbling at pieces of your business, or worse? Are you looking for new areas of growth or new product opportunities?

Many clients come to Mod Op Strategic Consulting because they are looking to redefine their product or service, expand their place in their market, fend off competition, or find entirely new markets to capture. We use a proven, thorough methodology in our market assessments based on our principles of outside-in thinking and incremental progress toward broader strategic goals. Here are five questions we consider:

1. MAPPING THE MARKET – Who serves your customers? 

Every Mod Op Strategic Consulting market assessment starts with a mapping exercise that puts your customers at the center of the market ecosystem, and then identifies the major types of businesses or organizations that enable, serve or supply them.

In the case of a non-profit association for example, we would place their members (the “customers”) in the center. Surrounding these members are the professional or trade groups, technology vendors, data providers, business services, media, content and event producers, workforce and career development companies, and other significant suppliers to the industry all competing to serve them. Mapping out the “universe” of service providers that enable an industry, market, supply chain or a specific professional group in this way provides you with a baseline for all your opportunity assessments. One thing to remember is that many organizations can and do serve several different customer types, so a complete assessment framework may require designing multiple maps to visualize the entire market in which you operate and compete.

2. CURRENT MARKET POSITIONWhere do you play?

Next, we look at where and how you currently serve your customers: In which sectors of the mapped ecosystem do you play in now and with what products and services? You may find you are concentrated in just one or are playing thinly across many of the industry service and supply opportunities. Oftentimes when our client sees this universe laid out with their current product suite it sparks new and interesting conversations about why they are strong in one vertical or how they could take what they are doing for one set of customer needs that might be effective for another set.

3. MAXIMIZE YOUR CURRENT BUSINESSWhere are the incremental “inside” opportunities?

We like to dive deep into a client’s operations and business, working with front-line staff and management to evaluate current products and services and, hopefully, identify new opportunities based on what is working well or not working at all.

4. FIND THE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE MARKETWhere are the “outside” opportunities?

The bulk of our market assessment engagements focuses on outside-in research based on these maps. We size the markets (and verticals within the markets) and then identify key players, potential competitors, partners, and other best-practice examples. We combine this research with survey and interview data from actual customers, prospective customers, and lapsed customers to give us a holistic view of the marketplaces.

5. CHOOSING YOUR BEST OPTIONS – How can we prioritize what we do next?

Once we have engaged with our client’s customers and staff and research the market ecosystem we build hypotheses as to where new opportunities lie. Each hypothesis is then passed through five filters:

  • MARKET NEED – How strong is the need for this product or service in the marketplace? Is there a willingness to pay? Is anyone else delivering a similar product or service and, if so, what can your organization do to deliver it better?
  • RIGHT TO PLAY – How closely does the proposed product or service fit into your brand? There may be a great opportunity but if no one would understand why your organization is providing it then it may not be the right opportunity for you.
  • REVENUE POTENTIAL – What is the market size the opportunity addresses and what percentage of it can your organization reasonably expect to capture with the right product mix?
  • MISSION ALIGNMENT – How well does this opportunity align with the evolving mission and vision of your organization?
  • DIFFICULTY TO EXECUTE – Using rough people-power estimates (+/- 50%) how much time and resources would need to be dedicated to the delivery of this product or service? Can you do it alone or do you need partners to execute?

We engage with our clients (our goal is to innovate with our clients, not for them) in interactive workshops to run the hypotheses through the above filters and prioritize the ones that make the most sense. These opportunities tend to have the best mix of potential revenue, brand permission/ organizational mission, and ease of execution.

By following these five steps you can lead your company through a very useful exercise, utilizing  both inside-out and outside-in customer-centric thinking, while identifying opportunities, partners, competitors and more that can impact your business. Then comes the fun work of executing on these opportunities and making them into new businesses that can sustain a company’s growth!

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Len Gilbert

Len Gilbert, COO

Len has over 25 years of industry experience and is passionate about helping clients understand their digital potential, especially focusing on digital strategy and digital growth. At Mod Op Strategic Consulting, Len is responsible for building out the company's digital transformation and advisory services and scaling the company's external business and internal capabilities.

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