Saturday, February 6, 2010

Target the Customers You Want!

I've been doing some recent roadmap work (You should continuously update your roadmap!). In many cases the product your company offers targets more than one market segment. How do you meet the needs of all your customers? Here are some ideas/tips:
  • Understand how the market is trending. How our your target markets evolving? For example are your users trending towards increased sophistication or starting to desire an easier solution to use? Is the pace of the change in your target market segments fast or slow?
  • What is your release schedule? If you have very frequent releases you can spend more time worrying about the needs of your current customers in your next release. If your release schedule is much longer, you'll need to really understand where the market is headed and try to "lead" the market (much like you have to lead a moving target when shooting at it)
  • Think about how you can develop a feature for all of your target market segments. For example you can build a feature for your "power users" and then in the next release you can educate your "average" users and provide them a simpler/easier to use version of the same feature?
  • Think about monetizing your investment. Perhaps your "power" users are willing to pay for a feature they find valuable, but many of your "average" users may not find that feature useful? Perhaps it is the other way around...your "power" users may expect the feature as part of the product and are unwilling to pay for a feature that your competitors offer for free. However to your "average" user, they may be willing to pay to use it.
  • Look at where your revenues/profits come from - Is your product revenue trending a certain way by market segment. Perhaps your "power" users account for a small percentage of your customer and large percentage of your profit/revenue? How will that affect your decision to target the right market segment?
This is a pretty complicated subject...just some thoughts on how you can Target the Customers You Want!