Marketing & High Tech Market Focus
Subject: High Tech, Marketing, Sales
I get a call last night from one of my clients who wanted consulting advice on how to approach a new market segment they were contemplating going after. They called me to see if the idea had merit and made good business sense. Within the first half-hour it became obvious that their 'grasp was exceeding their reach' when it came to addressing a specific need in the market. They went on to give me the long story of how they think this new market is the 'next big thing' and they wanted to position themselves NOW.
Before we went any further, I began asking those annoying, probing questions on where they currently stood in their own market with regard to: market share, product dominance and position sustainability. Suffice it to say they didn't have definitive answers and I didn't sense confidence about their ability to withstand the recession storm and overcome the challenges inherent in this new market.
I pointed out to them a recent decision by BellSouth to get out of the operational end of hosting. Bellsouth recently announced an agreement with IBM who would take over the hosing and networking services of their business. Here's what Donna Lee, Chief Marketing Officer for BellSouth had to say,
“We’ve taken the move to really focus and [it] lets us offer to our business customers services that are really end-to-end in nature. The initial announcement is focused on managed services. But we’re working on storage opportunities as well as security opportunities.” (my emphasis on the words focus)
Bellsouth has come to the realization that managing data and telephony are two different animals. One model of technical know-how and support (telephony) does not translate to the other (data management). Their strategy is smart; team up with someone like IBM who is a leading expert in that market space.
Some may see this move as weak. I do not. Weakness does not come from not being to support a market. Weakness comes from 'not knowing' you can't support a given market. Rather than damage their reputation long-term, as the high tech world moves towards an emphasis on moving data, Bellsouth has re-aligned itself with its core competency, telephony.
Bellsouth is also keenly aware that with the permission recently granted to them by the FCC to provide long distance services they will need to pay more attention to that sector in order to compete with an already price aggressive and hostile competitive market.
The lesson here for Bellsouth is simple, grow your business in YOUR field of expertise (i.e., telephony and now long distance) and stop looking over the 'data fence' to see if the grass is greener.
My advice to my client was twofold:
1) If you are established and have 'peaked' within your market and can continue to provide support while at the same time pursue this new market niche, the move is well measured.
2) But, if you have not yet secured your 'beach-head' in the market and are still working out the support and logistical kinks of your business, you would be wise to continue to focus your efforts on your market and grow that space.
After hearing their responses to my probing questions, and having lengthy discussions about sales and marketing strategies (along with associated costs), I strongly emphasized the latter. I ended the conversation by reminding them that their grass is indeed green!
© 2003. Victor Antonio G.. All Rights in All Media Reserved. Victor Antonio G. is a sales trainer and motivational coach.
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Victor Antonio G., Sales Influence All Rights Reserved 2002-2009,
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