The Overlooked Importance of Market Share

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“In emerging market segments, the war has always been won by companies that have attacked the market with a compelling visual brand and effective message framework.”
— The Overlooked Importance of Market Share


Download “The Overlooked Importance of Market Share” and learn why the art of gaining and holding market share demands that you understand and invest in four strategies:

— Use a polarizing visual brand and message to inspire the radical buyer
— Be realistic about market share
— Understand the radical buyer
— Find your niche, attract your high-value radical buyer

From The Starr Conspiracy, this paper succinctly explains why, in emerging market segments, the war has always been won by companies that have attacked the market with a compelling visual brand and effective message framework.

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The Overlooked Importance of Market Share

  1. 1. Theof M Overl arke ooke t Sh d Im are port ance
  2. 2. 2The Icebreaker: the starr conspiracyWhy We’re Having This Party,the Kool-Aid We’re Serving The Overl ooked Importance of Market Share A sustainable marketing The sad result is that the fear of alienating someone drives many of these companies to disregard bold and wonderful brands and strategy absolutely messages. At The Starr Conspiracy, we believe that if you’re not alienating someone, you’re doing something wrong. But we’ll get to demands a compelling that later in this paper. visual brand and an Compelling visual brands are important because they help build awareness for your business. Awareness is not a fuzzy concept that effective message is difficult to measure (like love is, for example). Brand awareness is the extent to which your brand is recognized by potential customers framework. But most and drives market share. And market share, over all else, is the most important goal for any company in any emerging or young market enterprise software and segment. Period. services companies fail This paper from The Starr Conspiracy makes the case not only for why your brand should alienate most of the market (or, conversely, to produce either. Why? unequivocally appeal to a small but high-value segment of the market) but also why it should scare you at least a little. Oh, and why They’re afraid to take most companies get it wrong and how you can get it right. risks. Worse, they’re afraid to be afraid. “If you’re not alienating someone, you’re doing something wrong.” – Bret Starr, Founder, President and Partner, The Starr Conspiracy
  3. 3. 31. Brand Awareness: Use Polarizing the starr conspiracyVisual Brands and Messages to Inspirethe Radical Buyer The Overl ooked Importance of Market ShareBrand awareness is part of an established marketing The Starr Conspiracy works with a similar theory. It’s based on the Hierarchy of Effects, and we call it The Active Path.theory in the Hierarchy of Effects. The Active Path is made up of four quadrants: »» Suspects — All of the people in the universe you could possiblyThe Hierarchy of Effects is a simple marketing do business with. They don’t know you or receive regular communications from you.theory model that has been around since the 1930s. »» Prospects — Suspects who have agreed to receive regular communications from you. This is often referred to as yourYou may also know it as the Purchase Funnel. As you “house list.”can imagine, it’s called a funnel or a hierarchy »» Opportunities — Suspects who have moved into your company’s sales process. While this quadrant looks different from onebecause you lose potential customers as they move company to the other, the opportunity zone typically refers to prospects who have agreed to a face-to-face meeting orthrough the process; you have a boatload more presentation. »» Customers — Opportunities who have purchased your productpotential customers at do or service. + PURCHASEthe Awareness level than + CONVICTION No matter what you call it — Hierarchy of Effects, Purchaseyou’ll end up with at the feel Funnel, The Active Path — two things are undeniable:Purchase stage. + PREFERENCE 1. Your sales infrastructure follows some version of this winnowing process + LIKING 2. The core foundation of this process is brand awareness + KNOWLEDGE + awareness think Marketing Theory’s Hierarchy of Effects
  4. 4. 4 2. be realistic about So, let’s move on to that brand awareness thing. Yourcompany’s brand awareness can be quantified by measuring brand the starr conspiracyrecognition and recall. Here’s why and how:»» Brand recognition measures the ability of a relevant and market share statistically significant group to recognize your brand when they see it (especially your name and logo). You get bonus points if the group can also make accurate functional associations with your brand after they recognize The Overl ooked Importance of Market Share it. For example, it’d be nice if 75 percent of the participants in an online survey recognized your company name when they Take a moment to get real about your aspirations for To get one in three potential customers in your pocket, saw it. It’d be killer if 91 percent associated your name with a market share. you’d be much better served by forging a passionate bond with specific product or service that you actually deliver. »» Do you know what your current market share is? a smaller segment of the market than by trying to create a »» Have you ever thought about your market share goal? lukewarm relationship with most of the market.»» Brand recall, on the other hand, measures the ability of a This brings us back to the huge value of having a polarizing relevant and statistically significant group to remember your You don’t necessarily need to know the answer to either of brand and message: It’s a proven way to build brand awareness, name with minimal cues. Imagine a survey question such as, those questions to build a successful brand or message. But you clearly differentiate yourself in the mind of your prospect and “Name all the companies you can think of that provide employee do need to understand basic market share philosophy to give attract a smaller — but more loyal and far more passionate — performance management software.” If you score well on recall, yourself permission to be bold with your brand and message. segment of the market. Don’t worry. You’ll still hit your most your brand has arrived. In most enterprise-solution market segments, 30 percent of aspirational business goals. market share would be considered total market dominance. That’s Let’s use an example we’re all familiar with in the space. In late Effective message frameworks are extremely important in right — 30 percent. Not 100 percent. Not 80 percent. Not even 2011, SuccessFactors, the market-leading provider of performancehelping you develop your brand and drive brand awareness. An 50 percent. And to tell you the truth, very few companies are able management solutions, was purchased by SAP for $3.4 billion.effective message framework clearly positions your solution in to achieve 30 percent of market share in any particular segment, That’s a lot of coin. Would you be satisfied with that outcome forthe mind of the prospect and starkly differentiates you from your except for the most mature companies in the most mature your business? Even without knowing more than what we justcompetitions’ solutions and approaches. Again, most companies segments. mentioned, $3.4 billion sounds like a very successful payday forget this wrong. That’s because most of us operate under the The takeaway is this: If your aspiration is to be the market SuccessFactors.assumption that our message should appeal to everyone, instead leader, you only need to appeal to one-third of the total availableof a subgroup of buyers with deeply held and passionate beliefs. market. One-third. Messages that seek to appeal to everyone don’t inspireanyone. And if your company can’t inspire a buyer, you’ll continueto lose out to better brands. 30% market share is considered total market dominance in most enterprise-solution market segments.
  5. 5. 5 3. understand the However, here are a few interesting facts about SuccessFactorsand the acquisition that might surprise you and be even more the starr conspiracymeaningful than the purchase price:»» At the time of the acquisition, the 2011 total worldwide market radical buyer for performance management was estimated to be $924 million.»» SuccessFactors was second in market share in the space, with only 13.7 percent of the market (Oracle/PeopleSoft was No. 1, with 17.7 percent). The Overl ooked Importance of Market Share»» SAP boasted the third-largest slice of the pie, with 11.8 percent.»» If the combined SuccessFactors/SAP entity can hold on to Every buyer is a Contrary to popular belief, it is not our job as marketers to identify and appeal to every flavor of radicalism in your market its merged market share, it will have captured 25.5 percent of the total worldwide talent management market. The next radical buyer in some segment. It’s only our job to determine which radical buyer we have the best chance of appealing to. Then we ask if that group closest competitor will be Oracle/PeopleSoft, the previous top dog, now 7.8 points behind the merged SuccessFactors/SAP way. But not every is large enough to meet your immediate and long-term market- buyer is radical in share goals. If it is, let’s consolidate your base (and maybe even market share. pick up a few independents along the way). SuccessFactors’ aggressive and polarizing approach to brand the same way. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not. Find your ilk and let your freak flag fly. Your marketing will be more effective andand message helped the company clearly differentiate itself in a efficient. Your sales cycles will be shorter. Your client retentionfragmented market segment that was, and continues to be, largely rate will be higher.devoid of inspiring differentiation. They succeeded because theytook clear action to appeal to a defined segment of the totalavailable market rather than the entire market. the buyer who’s radical about For example, SuccessFactors took risks with its brand andmessage by consistently pursuing C-level executives rather than culture: the buyer who’s radical about the buyer who’s radical about price: usability:HR professionals (a fact that is obvious in the company’s tagline, “I’ve worked with enough of“business execution software”). Yes, SuccessFactors certainly these Silicon Valley frauds.alienated many HR professionals and lost deals when it went rogue They care more about investorsand targeted a smaller audience. “In the modern economy, “It’s completely ridiculous that than customers. I want a solid But SuccessFactors focused its marketing message and dollars Midwest vendor that still cares software should be cheap, my analytics system is not ason a higher-value target audience, a radical buyer. For what were about great service!” if not free!” easy to use as an iPad!”then considered radical buyers of HR talent management systems— prospects who really cared about the connection betweenperformance management and business performance, and had thefinal say in the purchase decision — SuccessFactors was perceivedas the only business-savvy vendor in the industry. The strategypaid off.
  6. 6. 64. find your niche, attract your the starr conspiracyhigh-value radical buyer The Overl ooked Importance of Market ShareWithout going into the intricacies of market Before you send us an angry email, understand that many of these are false dichotomies. That’s not the point. The point is toresearch, we’re going to lay out an over-simplified get you thinking about the true personality of your company.process for finding your niche. It really comes down It’s time to be very honest; birds of a feather flock together. If you feel that most of your company doesn’t share a dominant set ofto three observations, each of which is deeply attitudes, behaviors and beliefs … maybe you are the outlier. It’s kind of like the old adage, “If you didn’t have a weird roommate ingrounded in attitudes, behaviors and beliefs. college, you were the weird roommate.” It’s critical that you capture the true personality attributes of(For you marketing wonks out there, this is a your company. They are fundamental to creating an honest brandpsychographic approach to discovering your brand and message. It may seem trite, but people buy from people they like. And most people like people who are similar to them. If you’repersonality.) offended by any of these statements, let’s hope you’re not in marketing, because this is the substance of our work. What are the most important cultural issuesThose three observations are: What are the dominant attitudes, behaviors and relevant to your solution?1. What are the dominant attitudes, behaviors and beliefs beliefs of your company? Life is bigger than the typical enterprise solution’s value of your company? The key word in here is “dominant.” Outliers and exceptions are proposition statement. Sure, your customer relationship2. What are the most important cultural issues relevant not only irrelevant, they are damaging. We’ll deal with why that management (CRM) system probably increases your company’s Net to your solution? is in a moment. For now, think about how you would describe your Lifetime Value (NLTV) by 10 percent. But really, that’s the sort of3. How can your solution change the world? company culture. Here are a few dichotomies to consider: message someone forgets as soon as they leave the office. »» Conservative or Liberal The point? NLTV is an important work issue but a totally If you take the time to answer these three questions, and do it »» Young or Mature unimportant cultural issue. The New York Times is not filled withwithout pulling any punches, you are well on your way to creating »» Analytical or Intuitive articles about NLTV. NLTV is not casually referenced in movies.a polarizing brand and message. Let’s take a look at each one. »» Professional or Unconventional You’ve never heard NLTV discussed on the radio. NLTV is boring; »» Pragmatic or Visionary it’s a work thing. No one talks to their spouse or cat about NLTV. »» Religious or Secular »» Diverse or Homogenous
  7. 7. 7 the starr conspiracy“Sure your company’s net lifetime value is important. So is having a firm grasp of Reichheld’s cost-and-revenue elements as they relate to your NLTV. But does any of that stir the hearts of the people you’re selling to or who are selling for you? Does it matter at the core of who they are or what they care The Overl ooked Importance of Market Share about? Is any of it culturally relevant to them … or to you?” – Bret Starr, co-founder, president and partner, The Starr Conspiracy You know something that’s both an important cultural fine if the product ships late, is the wrong color or doesn’t quite How can your solution change the world?issue and relevant to CRM? This is: Customer service has match the online description — as long as the item does what it is Ask yourself this question: “How can our solution change thetotally deteriorated in the United States. No one cares about supposed to do. world?”delivering great service anymore. After screaming “agent!” at our But others believe the continual degradation of customer Got no answer? You may know how your solution can change asmartphones five times before reaching a live person (or finally service in America is a symptom of something more business, but not the world. Keep digging. Keep peeling away thehanging up in surrender), we are almost always disappointed by substantial and even sinister. Our country is going to hell in a layers of answer after answer until you unearth your true passionthe treatment we receive at the hands of one more disenchanted handbasket. China is going to take over the world. People need to (or discover that you don’t have one).customer service rep who is working for yet another bankrupt buy guns and bar their doors. And it’s all because America has lost What follows is a story from our own experience, told by Bretcompany. Let’s take this concept even further. It’s not just about its passion for boundless, caring, effective customer service. Starr, co-founder, president and partner of The Starr Conspiracy.service; it’s about loyalty … and gaining or losing it. If customers See the difference? NLTV is a boring business concept. It has It illustrates how crucial it is to go deep into this stuff, to bedon’t feel that the companies they choose to do business with its place. But that place is not in your brand or your message. The able to state the reason your company exists. It also shows theare loyal to them (if companies fail to at least act like a decent decay of customer service is a polarizing issue that causes importance of finding alignment among the answers when you askneighbor), why should customers be loyal to them? people to project their own biases on a complex chain of what identifies your niche in your market — if you want to create a Now, some people will tell you that business has entered circumstances. polarizing brand and message.the era of customer self-service. They say that great customer If you want to create a brand and message that people noticeservice is no longer practical, profitable or even relevant. Or they and react to, stop reading business books and start reading thespin techno-social theses about great customer service now being newspaper (especially the op-ed section). Tying your brand to ana function of how good a company’s software systems are and important cultural issue will get people thinking about your brandabout the ease of use of mobile apps. These are folks who do all outside of the boundaries of their workday … and may even triggertheir shopping online, have an app for everything and generally an epiphany that what they do for a living really matters in a wayaccept the fact that service delivery is an impersonal act, so the they had not considered before.customers shouldn’t expect too much. These people argue that it’s
  8. 8. 8 From #shitbretsays: the starr conspiracyHow to Save America The Overl ooked Importance of Market ShareI got a call once from The CEO was coming off a bad year. Sales were down and customer retention was slipping. All year they had been losing bake-offs to the same upstart competitor. The executivethe CEO of a medium-size team came to the anecdotal conclusion that they were losing because the American workforce had fundamentally changed, and that their combined brand andsoftware company (about message was no longer appealing. To be more specific, they believed that the world was now ruled by Generation X and Y employees, and their company$300 million in annual was simply not hip enough to win deals anymore. They asked The Starr Conspiracy to sex up their brand and message.revenue). This company We met with them on a cold morning in December. Theprovides software and meeting took place at an off-site conference center; the organizer was afraid we wouldn’t dress nice enough forservices to manage corporate his offices. About 20 of the company’s top executives were there. Guess what. They were all rich old white guysincentive programs. These (ROWGs), all wearing suits (for an informal, off-site retreat). And they were really nice suits, too.are the guys you hire when Before we started the meeting, I milled around the room eavesdropping on as many conversations as I could. It was a presidentialyou want a sustainable election year, so many of the conversations were about politics. It didn’t take long to realize we were in a room full of hard-core conservatives. Then we all satprocess for recognizing down to get to the real meeting. We always start big meetings by “going around the room,” as they say. That’s what weand rewarding employees. did here. Each person introduced himself, described his role in the company and talked aboutThink “membership rewards” what he hoped to achieve that day.but for workers instead ofcustomers.
  9. 9. 9Everyone said the same things: And this was a company that wanted to change its image to It was all about “loyalty” and “traditional American business»» The market has changed because Gen X and Gen Y now sync up with newfangled management trends and generational values, like hard work, integrity and service.” But mostly, it was the starr conspiracy comprise most of the U.S. workforce. shifts in social behavior? Really? about connecting with a group of radical buyers who believe that»» Alphabet generation workers aren’t like baby boomers — This was — and still is — a conservative company that values the new generation of workers is getting away with murder. they don’t stick around as long and really have to be coaxed loyalty. They don’t now and didn’t then believe it’s OK for kids This was a polarizing brand. People either loved it or hated into delivering their best effort. to jump from job to job. On the contrary, they believe in the old it. But the people who loved it bought it. And when they bought»» It’s more about what the company can do for them than declaration that a kid could come out of college, start a new job it, they were happy to find themselves working with a group of what they can do for the company. and work at that company the rest of his life (as many of them at people who shared their own values. And it turned out that plenty»» Our incentive solutions are perceived as old-school compared this company had done, in fact). Further, they believed that all of of people out there believe that companies should be loyal to The Overl ooked Importance of Market Share with the new management philosophies. the pandering to this flaky new alphabet-generation workforce was employees and employees should be loyal to companies. For these»» We keep trying to make ourselves relevant to the new generation hurting America. people, it’s not about what one can do for the other; it’s about of managers, but we haven’t quite nailed the message. The belief system at the heart of that company is what this what they can achieve together.»» We need to let companies know that we understand this client needed to pitch to the market. Based on the three-pronged Do I even need to mention that the company increased sales generational shift that’s occurring and that our incentive attack to identifying your market niche: and that customer satisfaction went through the roof? Of course solution is just as good at increasing performance for Gen Y »» Attitudes, Behaviors and Beliefs: Values-based conservatism they did. For once, people got what they were promised. And that, as it is for the old guard. »» Relevant Cultural Issue: Baby boomers replaced by the dear reader, is how we can save America … from itself. alphabet generation Every one of the conservative ROWGs in the room talked about »» How Their Solution Can Change the World: Rebuilding loyaltychanging the company’s image to become more relevant, but it between companies and employeeswas incredibly obvious their heart wasn’t in it. They were in theroom talking about things they didn’t believe in and consideringchanges they didn’t really want to make. So I took the meeting in a different direction. I asked them For this company, we created awhom they were going to vote for. Folks were stunned that I had asked such an impolite question.There was a long and uncomfortable silence. Then the vice brand and message that wouldpresident of sales said he was voting Republican. I then asked fora show of hands of everyone who was going to vote Republican.Every hand got raised. Everyone was a Republican. have made Ronald Reagan weep So I turned the session into a town hall meeting. I askedwhy they identify with the Republican Party. I’ll summarizethe consensus here by saying they all viewed themselves as tears of joy.conservatives. To them, conservatism was a way of life thatharkened back to better, simpler days. After more questioning, itbecame clear that the entire executive and senior managementlevels of the company shared similar attitudes, behaviors andbeliefs about America, conservatism and character. And not onlywas the company’s executive culture incredibly aligned aroundthese attitudes, behaviors and beliefs, it turned out that theemployees apparently were, too; no one apparently ever left thecompany. It had practically zero voluntary turnover.
  10. 10. 10conclusion the starr conspiracyIn emerging market segments, the war has always been The Overl ooked Importance of Market Sharewon by companies that have attacked the market witha compelling visual brand and effective messageframework. By definition, that means their brand andmessage shook things up, keenly differentiated themfrom their competitors, and clearly and undeniablyannounced the buyer they were targeting. The Starr Conspiracy knows that the battle to get early control of market share, in any emerging-market war, can be distilled tothree truths: 1. Marketing is more important than product or customer support. 2. Brand recognition is more important than lead generation. 3. Industry media sources don’t provide sufficient access to market. To put those three truths into practice, your brand should alienate most of the market (or, conversely, unequivocally appeal to asmall but high-value segment of the market) and scare you at least a little. The proof is there, yet most companies get it wrong. In anutshell, you can get it right, through:»» Brand awareness — using polarizing visual brands and messages to inspire the radical buyer»» Being realistic about market share»» Understanding the radical buyer About The Starr Conspiracy»» Finding your niche and attracting your high-value radical buyer You shouldn’t have to pay an agency for the privilege of learning about your industry. The Starr Conspiracy already knows your market segment, who you It’s a proven method for building brand awareness, clearly differentiating yourself and attracting a smaller — but more loyal, far are and where you fit in. We are a strategic marketing and advertising agencymore passionate and more valuable — segment of the market (while also achieving your most aspirational business goals). devoted exclusively to enterprise software and services. When you partner with us, it’s to build market share, multiply brand awareness and drive sales leads – not to bone up on the basics. We’ve been “out there” for more than a decade so that you can hit the ground running. Founded in 1999 and located in Fort Worth, The Starr Conspiracy has won eight best places to work awards, countless creative awards and maintains a net promoter score of 90% (higher than Apple). On the web at www.thestarrconspiracy.com.Contact us today:marketing@thestarrconspiracy.com or 817-204-0400.

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