Who is your client, target group or market?
Who would you like to work together with?
Who can help you further?
Who matches your drive?
The goal of step 3
In this step, you examine who is important to you. They could be various parties with differing interests. You analyse these and attempt to name them as accurately as possible by:
— Specifying who you will sell your various products and services to. You know who your customer, target group or market is.
— Specifying who you would like to work with or come into contact with. You know who matches your drive and who can help you further. This is essential for future external communications.
The workbook shows the different ways in which you can think about your potential audience or target group. For example, you could consider the path that a product takes from manufacture to the end user (the chain), the trends that you could respond to, the flows of money that you could follow, and so on. Some of these approaches are described further using case studies.
Many new enterprises are based on a desire to remove links in the chain, and therefore reduce the margin for intermediaries. For example, many fashion brands have opened their own single brand stores, and in the furniture world companies such as Basematters and CrowdyHouse sell designer products directly to the public.
There are also companies that focus on a particular link in the chain. MediaMonks, for example, made its name by focusing on online campaigns for advertising agencies, and not working directly for a particular brand. Because of this focus on advertising agencies, and the clarity of the concept, agencies saw that they should use MM for their campaigns, and that they did not need to worry that they would be passed over if MM started to work for a brand directly. The founder explains the concept in the following interview:
How do you explain what you do at birthday parties?
‘I sometimes say “I make websites”, in which case I lose people straight away. Another time, I might say “I’m in advertising”, in which case the conversation lasts a little longer. The more refined story is: we make online campaigns. The ideas come from other people, mainly advertising agencies. Our role is that of a director who is given a script and makes a film from it, except that we work in the digital domain. We therefore make our films using zeros and ones. I always keep in mind the quote of the famous English advertising man, Sir John Hegarty: “Advertising is 80% idea and 80% execution.” We focus 100% on the execution, at the very highest level.’
“Where there’s movement, there’s space”
It is difficult for newcomers to establish themselves in a sluggish market. But where there is movement, there are holes, gaps and opportunities. It can therefore be interesting to monitor large movements (trends) in the market and to see whether you can respond to them in some way. For example, a trend that currently offers a lot of opportunities for creative professionals is virtual reality (VR). Agencies that have responded to this trend are growing hard and are regularly taken over by larger companies (the VR specialist Stopp, for example, was bought out by MediaMonks).
A lot is also expected of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which more and more household appliances are being connected to the internet. Tweetonig, for example, is a company that is specialised in this.
Circular and sustainability are increasingly important themes, with the Better Future Factory as a good example. Another, related, upcoming trend is the bio-based economy, with Rotterzwam as an example.
Since the crisis, many architects have honed their strategy or further developed their expertise in a particular, often new and upcoming area. Some examples are given in this article:
Online retail is another development, the end of which is not yet in sight. Flinders (online design furniture) has grown enormously in recent years. This also affects the physical retail sector, as a result of which the whole retail landscape is changing. We focused in an earlier blog on the opportunities that this generates for creative professionals.
Many entrepreneurs start their business working in a certain niche, optimise their product based entirely on that niche, and grow from there. Airbnb, for example, only started growing after it had applied this ‘niche strategy’. As consultant Paul Graham said in the Dutch newspaper the FD: ‘Talk to your customers. It is better to have 1,000 people that love you than a million people that just sort of like you. Build up a core group of evangelists and make a product for them.’ https://nl.pinterest.com/pin/367254544599081215/
Rogier Arents, for example, has found a clear niche by focusing as a designer on the life sciences. He helps scientists communicate their knowledge to the widest public possible, and is now well known within this niche.
Art Agent Orange’s main aim is to sell impossibly large objects. Seen at the global level, this is a limited target group, which mainly includes museums and some collectors. However, the concept helps set them apart from other agencies.
Cavemen came into being based on a strong preference for a certain lifestyle. They made lifestyle documentaries, and these were picked up by brands that also represent the same lifestyle. Cavemen now make mood films for these brands.
In an interview, Rogier Vlaming of Glamcult Magazine talks about how his target reader group is not the same as the people who pay him – the advertisers. He seems to attract his readers through his content alone, also because that is what he is interested in, without the need to put too much effort into it. He does however spend a lot of time on his advertisers, and is even selective about who may place an advert. Some advertisers could blur the distinctive style of the magazine, so that other advertisers decide to stop.
Follow the money
Groos, a concept store in Rotterdam, offers a wide range of products. By bundling these products in a ‘GroosDoos’, they have managed to enter a new market – that of Christmas hampers. Since all the products come from Rotterdam, this is a clearly-defined market. An added benefit is that employees who receive a hamper become acquainted with Groos.
Online Department selects clients that, just like them, really focus on their customer’s needs. Because such clients can be found in various sectors, they have chosen to specialise in three segments (software, e-commerce and marketing).
This article, which describes research carried out by McKinsey, shows how social enterprises are able to attract attention. As one entrepreneur says, ‘They successfully involve clients in their ambitions…. This means that they can continue to grow, even in a saturated market.’
The workbook describes various ways in which you can analyse your market, and the examples given above may have provided some inspiration. You may also have some good examples yourself, in which case please do not hesitate to share them with us.
In Step 1 you put your drive into words. In Step 2 you then defined your product. In this step you have learned something about the segments and the clients on which you want to focus. In the next step, you will learn how to contact these clients.
Finding the right market is also very often an intuitive process. Other people can help you in this as they may see more clearly where your work fits into the market. These could be friends, family or colleagues. We also focus on this in our workshops, often achieving new insights together with workshop participants.