Identifying market demand is important for success as an entrepreneur. Many people have had great ideas without ever finding customers who are willing and able to pay for their products or services. While it is nice to imagine building a better mousetrap and having the world beat a path to your door, history has shown us many technologically superior products that never won their share of the market. It has been argued that BetaMax was the better video player, but VHS became the industry standard for years.
For a company to be successful it must connect the products and services to customers. This involves more than just providing quality. There must be an understanding of the marketplace, consumer demographics, competition, and the growth potential. Apple reached the top because their company culture went beyond just shipping cool products. Their deep commitment to innovation, design, and the customer experience combined to make profits soar.
Creating demand is more than advertising and market research. Advertising alone does not create demand, but instead brings attention of a product or service to the greater population. Creating demand is difficult and leaves many start ups lost to ever reach revenue goals. Customers are not always aware that they want a new product and thus the marketing strategies for the entrepreneur must be intertwined with education, product strategy and all aspects of the marketing launch. Henry Ford famously said: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Commoditization is another problem that faces many companies. Too many products and services appear to be similar solutions as what is offered by their competition. Making matters worse is that all the advertising and marketing within a single industry often looks the same. Telling consumers about yourself does not allow the solution to stand out, as it gets lost in the shuffle of "too much noise". Showing always is better than telling, but this is not easy in a world with limited access to they eyes and ears of the customers. This is where creating demand through word-of-mouth marketing and creating legions of customers as "fans" will have a real impact.
The problem is that you cannot create "fans" simply by having a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Getting others to talk about your company means you have to be truly unique and provide experiences that make people feel good about being part of your community. Getting beyond the "same -old / same - old" is difficult, and rarely happens by accident. However, just because it is hard, does not mean it is impossible.
Entrepreneurs should make it a priority to bust out of the impression of being a commodity. There is always more demand where there is something unique. The trick here is to make sure what the entrepreneur sees as important and unique is the same thing that the customer values.
To successfully create demand for you products or services you must create an integrated marketing strategy that combines educating the consumer, cultivating visibility and delivering at the highest level every time. Marketing research and outreach can determine which products or services may be of interest to customers, but there is an element of risk that leads to the top levels of success. This process should not stop once you company achieves success, as the marketplace and customer demands will change, and successful entrepreneurs are always paying attention and seeking ways to get out in front of new trends.
Establish strong customer relationships and create a reputation of being an industry leader that provides value. Identify who is your customer, provide them with value, keep them engaged, and get them to be advocates for your company and you will discover more demand and profitability.
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