Hint: Marry your passion, skill set and what people want. Do you agree?

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The Secret Weapon To Sizing Up Your Target Market

by Scott Harris on June 25, 2012

Pivoting your product to better meet the needs of you target customer is key, but before you do this, shouldn’t you know whether that target customer’s market is the most attractive one to serve? Gaining traction in the right target market is critical to ensure your efforts are rewarded.

I’ve talked about market sizing before and today I’d like to share with you an additional resource to help you get accurate data about your potential customers, their growth rate, and their income levels (spending ability). This tool works particularly well when selling to consumer end-users, but can also be very useful in B2B environments as well.

After the big reveal, I’ll look at a couple target customers that work in healthcare. Amazingly, you won’t easily find this weapon through a web search for “market sizing.” For some reason it isn’t frequently talked about on the interwebs. In fact, this site won’t show up in the top 300 results of Google. But trust me when I tell you there is a treasure trove of highly accurate data that you can use to identify your best target customer.

Drum roll, please…… badum, badum, badum, badum, Ttishhh

The secret weapon to sizing up your target market in the U.S. is delivered to you by the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS) website – http://bls.gov.

Now, let me give you an example of what you can find through BLS. Let’s say we wanted to compare the market opportunity for a product that serves Physician Assistants (PAs) and Registered Nurses (RNs).

We can go to the BLS website and lookup these two professions to see how much they make, how many of them are employed and what the growth rate is for each profession. The summary statistics for each is copied below.

BLS Summary for Physician Assistants

Physician Assistant Summary

(via BLS.gov)

BLS Summary for Registered Nurses

Registered Nurse Summary

(via BLS.gov)

With this basic overview data and lots of other more detailed data provided by the BLS we can create a quick and dirty analysis of the potential market size for each profession. Using your spreadsheet software you can simply multiply the number of jobs and the median (or average) pay to get your current market size. You can also add in the growth rate to see how much your target market will grow.

Given these two summaries and based on no other information, it appears to me that the registered nurse market earns about $177B, which is almost $170B more than the physician assistant market, which earns ~$7B. That’s a huge difference in potential earnings!

Once you have this data you can add more sophisticated market analysis, such as penetration rates, amount of disposable income, and future market size. However, if you simply want access to good data for understanding the current and future earnings of a particular target customer, then look no further than the BLS website as your starting point.

What do you think? How do you go about market sizing your target markets?

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Effective Marketing Email From AwayFind

by Scott Harris on July 19, 2011

Stop Checking Email with AwayFind.com

Image by Frank Gruber via Flickr

From time to time there are interesting marketing pieces that I come across. One such example comes your way from AwayFind.

In case you haven’t used it yet, AwayFind is a very useful service that alerts you via SMS/voice when emails deemed important by your own criteria hit your inbox. The service delivers the benefit of affording you uninterrupted time to focus without the distraction of having to constantly check your inbox. I love efficiency applications and I’ve found AwayFind to be a very useful tool for me.

Recently, I received an email message from AwayFind that caught my attention.  From the short personal and informal subject line to the unexpected content, it incited a reaction from me.   Read the copy of the email and see why I think this email was so effective below.

From: Jared Goralnick (AwayFind)
Date: Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM
Subject: You and me…
To: The Marketing Tactician

Hi Scott,

I may not know you personally.

You don’t know me from any other tech geek with a web service or techie startup.

And we’ll probably never get the chance to meet.

But let me tell you a quick story, and ask you a quick favor…

I’m not just someone at a tech company.  My name is Jared.  I have several passions in life including swing dance and photography.

But my real passion, and what I’ve devoted my entire career to, is helping people to use technology as a vehicle rather than an obstacle to getting stuff done.  For the past 3 years, I’ve been consumed by AwayFind and helping people to escape their inbox— not just to help them become more efficient at their jobs or run their business better, but to allow them to spend more time with their family or whatever it is that makes their lives more whole.

So that’s my passion and the reason I created AwayFind.  I think that we offer a pretty good service.  But I know that it can be better.

And I know you can help me figure out how.  If you could spend two minutes and fill out a quick survey as a favor to me, it’d really help me to understand how we can do a better job…for you.

<<Thanks in advance for taking our 2 minute survey.>>

Here’s to time well spent,

Jared

AwayFind.com

Things I really like about this marketing effort are:

  • The From: line includes a person’s name and their company so it’s easily identifiable
  • The subject line is short (only 13 characters!) and seems directed to me… I’m the “me” in the “You and me…”
  • The body copy is easily scanned and the bold text tells me what the message is about
  • Jared tells an authentic story that helps me understand why Jared needs my help
  • The content is unexpected. Most emails won’t walk me through my internal dialogue like this email has done. And it doesn’t come across as a marketing email to me. Jared is just asking for my opinion like a friend would ask me.
  • The email has one call to action… Fill out a quick survey.
  • Its marketing message is on point. AwayFind is all about saving time and the closing really hits the mark by tying in the survey with “time well spent

Kudos to Jared and the AwayFind team for a great product and a fantastic example of email marketing!

What do you think about this email from AwayFind?

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SMART Metrics

by Scott Harris on May 11, 2011

Dashboad

Image via Wikipedia

When dealing with data, be smart. Apply a SMART dashboard to your metrics and data analysis efforts.

Much like SMART goals, SMART metrics ensure you measure the right data and that it is actionable.

When looking at web analytics and marketing campaigns I define my SMART metrics as:

Specific – To be useful, data needs to communicate something meaningful. Data that is not specific enough might as well be inaccurate. Decisions based on inaccurate or non-specific or overly broad data can lead to bad decisions. Be specific with the data you need and test your data collection’s quality.

Manageable – Metrics by their very nature are measurable so with SMART metrics, I aim to collect manageable metrics and digest them in a dashboard format. The curse of knowledge plays a role here. By reporting too many measurements your decision-making can get cloudy, distracting you from acting on the most important metrics. Keep your metric dashboard manageable by limiting it to the most important metrics. You can always use separate more detailed reports for deeper dive analysis.

Actionable – Data are most powerful when they are actionable.  If you can’t act on a metric, don’t waste time collecting, analyzing, and reporting it.  Ideally, your metrics will trigger an immediate action that will improve your bottom line. For example, you can test the subject lines of the emails you send.  Measure the open rates for a group of your emails with different subject lines.  Once you find which version has the best open rate, use this subject line for the rest of your emails to your email list.

Replicable – When starting out, you need to check your data for accuracy. Test data quality by seeing if its measurement is replicable.  For example, if you have traffic monitoring software you like, take another monitoring tool for a test drive and compare the two. Do your numbers match up? If not, find out why and make sure you are collecting accurate data.

Trending - Identify significant movements in specific metrics and determine the cause. Take the appropriate action. If you find that a program or campaign is doing particularly well driving a metric, see where else you can employ that tactic in other programs.

SMART metrics can improve your company’s bottom line.  Use them, see which work best, and monitor them in a digestible format. Your turn, what criteria do you use for your metrics dashboard?

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Emotional Marketing

March 31, 2011

As more companies go down the road of emphasizing the bottom line, emotional marketing is often discounted as a viable strategy for marketing spend. However, for those interested in capturing higher margins for their company’s services, emotional marketing can be a sure fire way drive up value.  The beauty of emotional marketing is that it […]

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Marketing With Awards

February 28, 2011

With the Academy Awards last night, I’m reminded of how persuasive awards can be to prospective clients. Winners on Oscar night will forever be referred to as an “Academy award-winning” actor and companies can also capitalize on noteworthy awards. From a marketing perspective, awards can be very powerful statements of strength. Awards serve as strong […]

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Branding With Reputation Management

January 31, 2011

In some organizations, branding is a bad word.  If your company needs marketing to prove their branding efforts and you find yourself fighting the view that marketing is only synonymous with advertising, listen up.  While branding may include marketing managing advertising, it is so much more than that. Branding delivers value across the company and […]

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Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

December 30, 2010

As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the year of 2010 – the year of the Tiger.  2010, you have been a good year, but at the same time, I know many of us are ready to see what 2011 has in store. In my 2oo9 marketing year in […]

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What Type of Market Should You Enter?

November 16, 2010

Aside from the timing and growth trajectory of the market you enter, defining the type of market you enter may be the most important thing you do to set your company out on the right foot.   Essentially, there are three types of markets you could potentially enter: existing, resegmented, and new. Each require a different […]

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Idea Connecting Between Industry and Function

October 31, 2010

How do you come up with a winning idea? The most obvious way is to recognize a problem and postulate solutions for it.  These type of ideas are great, but often after researching the market, many of the great solutions I come up with already exist or there isn’t enough of a market to launch […]

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