As CFO its very critical for you to understand developing brand strategy is extremely critical. The most important asset your company has is its brand. Quite simply, it drives the direction of your business. So you should definitely have a well thought out brand strategy in place.
Increasing competition in business develops similar products with good quality from different manufacturers. But only an effective, innovative and marketing strategy & planning can make your business and products more popular. For your profession as CFO it becomes your responsibility to stay connected with like-minded supporting industry experts who can guide and help you deal with your day to day work issues.
Marketing Strategy: 7 Steps to Market Segmentation
If you are entrepreneurial in nature owning a business is very exciting adventure. It can also be the most difficult thing for you to get into if you are not prepared.
In this article we're going to discuss the tricky aspect of marketing strategy when applying for a patent.
Getting a patent is a tricky process under normal circumstances. Under laws of the United States a company or person is entitled to a patent unless the invention was on sale in the country for more than one year prior to the application date of the patent. This applies to both sales and offers of sales. Therefore, companies conducting marketing campaigns must be careful not to destroy their patent rights. In a perfect world, application for a patent should be filed before any sales begin. But then that would hurt the company's bottom line because that ultimately puts profits on hold. In a competitive marketplace this could spell disaster for the company.
Therefore, it is important for a company to understand just what it is that starts the one year clock ticking. In other words what can they do and what can't they do in order to avoid their product being put on the timer?
In order to answer that question we have to understand what exactly, according to law, starts the clock running. There are basically two conditions. The first one is that the invention must be ready for patenting at the time of the sale. If it can be shown that the inventor had sufficient drawings that would enable another person to use the invention then this would satisfy the first criteria.
The second criteria is that there has actually been an offer for sale. In other words, the inventor or company that owns the invention approaches another company and offers to sell them the invention. This can either be in the form of a letter to the other company or in an actual physical meeting between the two companies. Usually the meeting follows a letter.
In the form of a letter the owner of the invention will usually draw up a letter stating that they have such and such an invention and go on to say that they feel this is something that would enhance their business. In the letter they would describe what the invention does and how it would help them. They would then ask the other company to get back to them if interested.
When it comes to the meeting the inventor will bring drawings of his invention and present them to the company interested in acquiring the invention. Maybe the inventor even has a working prototype he can show them. This is always a plus. Companies actually like to see that the invention they are interested in works.
Where the law comes in, and this is where inventors can delay the clock, is that the following items do not fall within the two criteria. Solicitation of customer pricing information from distributors and sales representatives; publication of preliminary data sheets and promotional information on invention features; communications to sales representatives; sales representatives providing customers with preliminary data sheets; and sales representatives' requests for customer samples.
Therefore, an inventor can engage in any of the above activities and NOT start the one year clock running. This allows the inventor to get as much preliminary leg work done for his patent without actually "technically" starting the process.
This is important information for any inventor to have if he is trying to gain as much ground in his quest for a patent as possible.
An Overview of Proper Supply Chain Management For Your Business
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Through business relationships and experience sharing in confidential settings for CFO, we strive to create personal and business value for all our network peers.
Market segmentation is widely defined as being a complex process consisting in two main phases:
- identification of broad, large markets
- segmentation of these markets in order to select the most appropriate target markets and develop Marketing mixes accordingly.
Everyone within the Marketing world knows and speaks of segmentation yet not many truly understand its underlying mechanics, thus failure is just around the corner. What causes this? It has been documented that most marketers fail the segmentation exam and start with a narrow mind and a bunch of misconceptions such as "all teenagers are rebels", "all elderly women buy the same cosmetics brands" and so on. There are many dimensions to be considered, and uncovering them is certainly an exercise of creativity.
The most widely employed model of market segmentation comprises 7 steps, each of them designed to encourage the marketer to come with a creative approach.
STEP 1: Identify and name the broad market
You have to have figured out by this moment what broad market your business aims at. If your company is already on a market, this can be a starting point; more options are available for a new business but resources would normally be a little limited.
The biggest challenge is to find the right balance for your business: use your experience, knowledge and common sense to estimate if the market you have just identified earlier is not too narrow or too broad for you.
STEP 2: Identify and make an inventory of potential customers' needs
This step pushes the creativity challenge even farther, since it can be compared to a brainstorming session.
What you have to figure out is what needs the consumers from the broad market identified earlier might have. The more possible needs you can come up with, the better.
Got yourself stuck in this stage of segmentation? Try to put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers: why would they buy your product, what could possibly trigger a buying decision? Answering these questions can help you list most needs of potential customers on a given product market.
STEP 3: Formulate narrower markets
McCarthy and Perreault suggest forming sub-markets around what you would call your "typical customer", then aggregate similar people into this segment, on the condition to be able to satisfy their needs using the same Marketing mix.
Start building a column with dimensions of the major need you try to cover: this will make it easier for you to decide if a given person should be included in the first segment or you should form a new segment. Also create a list of people-related features, demographics included, for each narrow market you form - a further step will ask you to name them.
There is no exact formula on how to form narrow markets: use your best judgement and experience. Do not avoid asking opinions even from non-Marketing professionals, as different people can have different opinions and you can usually count on at least those items most people agree on.
STEP 4: Identify the determining dimensions
Carefully review the list resulted form the previous step. You should have by now a list of need dimensions for each market segment: try to identify those that carry a determining power.
Reviewing the needs and attitudes of those you included within each market segment can help you figure out the determining dimensions.
STEP 5: Name possible segment markets
You have identified the determining dimensions of your market segments, now review them one by one and give them an appropriate name.
A good way of naming these markets is to rely on the most important determining dimension.
STEP 6: Evaluate the behavior of market segments
Once you are done naming each market segment, allow time to consider what other aspects you know about them. It is important for a marketer to understand market behavior and what triggers it. You might notice that, while most segments have similar needs, they're still different needs: understanding the difference and acting upon it is the key to achieve success using competitive offerings.
STEP 7: Estimate the size of each market segment
Each segment identified, named and studied during the previous stages should finally be given an estimate size, even if, for lack of data, it is only a rough estimate.
Estimates of market segments will come in handy later, by offering a support for sales forecasts and help plan the Marketing mix: the more data we can gather at this moment, the easier further planning and strategy will be.
These were the steps to segment a market, briefly presented. If performed correctly and thoroughly, you should now be able to have a glimpse of how to build Marketing mixes for each market segment.
This 7 steps approach to market segmentation is very simple and practical and works for most marketers. However, if you are curious about other methods and want to experiment, you should take a look at computer-aided techniques, such as clustering and positioning.
Networking has always been considered a powerful tool for improving business prospects, advancing a career, and developing ideas. Other than some brief, structured events, networking has been mostly informal and inexpensive in comparison to cost they otherwise spend on different channels. But membership is growing in many formal, long-term networking groups, and so is the price tag.
Our groups are not groups for generating sales leads, nor are they places where individuals can drop-in to gain quick advice on an immediate challenge. Members also sign a confidentiality agreement and benefits from the guided mentoring to help each other.
These groups include an experienced facilitator and use a structured discussion method to ensure appropriate participation.