There are nine key elements in developing strategy. We recommend that these elements be approached in consecutive order, and emphasize that there are nine elements, not eight, and not ten. The challenge in implementing the Market Development Strategy Checklist is that as a category moves forward in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, the way that each of these points manifests themselves changes dramatically, as shown in the chart below.
- Target Customer. In high-technology markets, target customers are typically made up of an economic buyer, a technical buyer, and an end user. Identifying your target customer is the first and most important step in the MDSC, because they are the source of money. Without a target customer that you can clearly identify who has access to necessary funds, your strategy reaches an abrupt halt.
- Compelling Reason to Buy. In order to create demand, you must identify your target customer's motivation for buying.
- Whole Product. It is not just the core product, but the whole product that solves the compelling reason to buy for your target customer. The whole product represents the complete set of products and services required to fulfill your target customer's compelling reason to buy.
- Partners and Allies. In today’s economy, no one vendor is expected to do it all. So you must rely on partners and allies to help complete the whole product that solves your target customer's compelling reason to buy.
- Distribution. Once you have identified your target customer and their compelling reason to buy, and have defined your whole product and identified the partners who will help you build the whole product, you need to determine how you will get the solution to market. Is it best sold direct, indirect, or a combination of both? The answer depends on how complex your solution is from both a whole product and a marketing standpoint.
- Pricing. Pricing is a function of all of the preceding points and is tempered by the following point, competition.
- Competition. Competition includes the available alternatives that might be considered for your target customer to achieve the same compelling reason to buy. While it would be tempting to make competition the first thing that you examine in developing your strategy statement, competition is number 7 for a good reason. While you need to be aware of the alternative offers in the market, it should not be the primary factor in developing strategy.
- Positioning. Once you have identified the competition, your job is to make it clear in the target customer’s mind how your solution is different. This is not about making your competition look bad and you look good, rather it is showing the market how you are different from the alternatives.
- Next Target. As you gain success in your first target market, it is time to leverage your momentum into adjacent markets. You should always be planning what set of customers you will target next.