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Market Development: Strategies & Examples to Grow Your Business

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The market never sits still! Customer tastes, perceptions and expectations are changing all the time.

Market development is important for two reasons.

First, it helps ensure that your business can always remain relevant in this ever-shifting landscape.

Second, it can give you a considerable edge over your competitors. In fact, if you do your market development well, your competitors might get that “why didn’t I think of that” feeling.

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What Is Market Development?

Market development is a growth strategy that involves identifying and developing new market segments for existing products. In short, you’ll target non-buying customers in currently-targeted segments, as well as completely new customers in completely new segments.

So, let’s say you sell scented candles. They’re really good scented candles. The best.

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With market development you’ll either start selling the same scented candles to a completely new market – one that might not have previously considered the many benefits of scented candles, or you’ll identify a new niche and create a new line of scented candles to fill that niche.

Have you noticed, for instance, how many pumpkin-scented candles start appearing around September and October? Yankee Candles even give them spooky names, like “Witch’s Brew”.

Evidently candle manufacturers recognised that those who celebrate the coming of autumn and Hallowe’en want their homes to smell autumnal and Hallowe’eny.

This is market development in action – they spotted a niche and they moved to fill it.

Market Development in Action

Coca-Cola may well be the masters of market development. Everyone’s heard of Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and Cherry Coke. These are all the fruits of market development, and each of their strategies can be plotted quite neatly on the Ansoff Matrix.

Have you heard of the Ansoff Matrix?

It’s a strategic planning tool designed to help you devise strategies for market growth. It offers four broad strategies for growth, depending on whether you’re working with new products or existing products, and new markets or existing markets.

Coke Zero might well be the quintessential product of market development. It’s identical to Diet Coke in every way, except for the can design.

Why?

Because Coca-Cola found that Diet Coke has “feminine” connotations, so many men won’t touch it.

So, they designed Coke Zero as a “masculine” counterpart.

Same product, new market – that’s market development!

How Does It Work?

Market development strategies may vary a little from business to business. It all depends on who you are, what you do and who you’re currently targeting. But the principles are the same for all businesses.

It’s a four-step system:

  • Identify your new target market
  • Do your research
  • Decide – is this new market right for you?
  • Either enter the new market or look for another

But easier said than done, right?

Where do you begin?

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Step 1 – Identifying New Target Markets

Your market development will fall into one of the following categories:

  • You’ll target the same customers, but in a new area
  • You’ll target new customers, but in the same area
  • You’ll target completely new customers in a completely new area

To begin, decide which of these three strategies you’re going for. Next, you’ll need detailed customer profiles to help you develop a marketing strategy that’ll strike a chord in the new market.

Of course, if you intend to target the same customers but in a new area, you may already have strong customer profiles to work with.

Read our guide to setting up customer profiles here.

You’ll also have to be clear when defining the boundaries of your new area. This could be anything from an area of a city, to an entire city, to an entire country.

Step 2 – Do Your Research

You need to understand your brand awareness levels in each potential new market.

Many tools can help here:

  • Try Google’s Market Finder to get a quick overview of some of the opportunities open to you
  • Google Trends can tell you the most popular search terms in almost any given area in any given time
  • The native Google Ads Keyword Planner can give you a good idea of the overall demand for your brand, products or services

Your market research needs to answer a number of questions. The obvious one is – do customers already use your products or services? But you also need to determine how much your new customers might be willing to pay, and you need to consider whether they might be interested in other completely new products or services.

Remember those Hallowe’en candles – they were surely created as a result of market research like this.

Competitor research is also vital, particularly if you’re moving into a completely new area.

What are they offering?

How much are they charging?

What sort of images and messages are they putting across?

Can you determine their current market share?

Are there any opportunities for you to move in?

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Step 3 – Is This the Right Market for You?

All of this research will help you to determine whether it will be profitable for you to move into this new market:

  • Are there customers in the new market willing to buy? and are you in a position to meet their needs?
  • Is the competition in the new market so strong that moving in will be a challenge or are there plenty of opportunities to compete and grow?

Also consider the wider market trends. Is the new market growing? Will it stay stable or will it decline? Obviously, it’s not worth putting all the work in if the best possible outcome will just be a flash in the pan.

Step 4 – Enter the Market, Or Look for Another

So, you’ve decided to enter the new market!

If you’re targeting the same customers in a slightly different area, or new customers in the same area, you can probably proceed without making too many changes to your current offering. But if your new target market is radically different, it may be time for some new product development.

If your new market is in a different country, you may have to start thinking about getting a translator, but you’ll certainly have to think about localisation.

Remember – preferences and customs vary wildly from country to country. Even if the new market speaks your language, you may still have to tailor your designs, your imagery and your messaging to suit their tastes.

In any case, there are three key areas to consider when it comes to delivering your products and services to your new market:

  • Promotion
    How are you going to make the new market aware of your products and services?
  • Delivery
    How are you going to get your products and services to the new market? Is your supply chain ready? Will you have to set up a new place to do business?
  • Cultivation
    How are you going to ensure that you meet your new customers’ needs? Are you prepared to develop your products or services if they want to see any changes?

Of course, you might find that the new market isn’t for you. It might transpire that there aren’t enough customers in a given area, that the competition’s too strong or that the market has peaked and will soon start to shrink.

Don’t worry!

There are plenty of fish in the sea.

Just go back to step one and try again – you’re bound to find the new market for you eventually.

Is There A Shortcut to Market Development?

So you want to try a bit of market development yourself. Good call!

You can carry out some market research using a specialist provider to identify new target groups in new areas. This would work very well, but it would take a lot of time and a lot of money.

Luckily, we know a shortcut.

PPC offers one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective means of identifying new markets.

What’s PPC? It stands for pay-per-click, and it’s a form of online advertising where you pay each time someone clicks one of your ads.

There are many benefits to PPC, but two of the most important benefits?

First, PPC allows for some very powerful targeting.

Second, PPC is very easy to measure and most platforms include clear reporting features.

PPC is therefore a great way to research, test and move into new markets quickly and easily. It could well be your shortcut to profitable long-term market development.

Find out more about how we can help you use PPC to grow your business today.

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