The 3 Fundamental Business Growth Strategies for Mainstream Success
- First you need to understand the nature of the products
So many new entrepreneurs often lack a profound understanding of the products or services which they are dealing with. As discussed in the post ‘How to Sell Products by Appealing to the Senses‘, all products have aspects that are intangible, which often leads consumers to making purchase decisions based on ‘promises of delivery’.
For instance, services such as insurance and web development cannot be seen or touched beforehand as they are purely intangible. That means that a buyer would be making the purchase based on promises that the vendor makes, to deliver the job. There’s no telling beforehand whether the job will actually be delivered as promised.
As for tangible products, yes they can be seen, touched and smelled in advance, but the degree of intangibility is in the sense that there are limitations to the levels that they can be tested. For example, if you to buy a pair of cell batteries from a supermarket – which are tangible products, you have no guarantee that the cells inside the sealed pack will be functional. And since it may not be practical to rip the packaging in order to crosscheck, you can only resort to the confidence that you get through its presentation; the cells being visible through the transparent plastic, a familiar brand name, the usage instructions are printed on the back, etc.
In that sense, the pack of batteries has a degree of intangibility because a customer would be making a purchase decision without being able to verify that the product actually works. The aspects of intangibility are in the elements that cannot be tested beforehand.
Presentation is absolutely fundamental for all products and services. It gives consumers confidence over the things that they cannot physically verify. They might not be able to foretell what a full-body massage will be like; however the way that the masseuse carries themselves will give them confidence. They might not be certain whether a new pack of battery cells will be functional, but the packaging gives confidence because it displays the elements that cannot be tested.
You see, human beings are often guilty of making intuitive judgments based on a product’s physical attributes. While laying down your business growth strategies, it would be wise to allocate some resources towards enhancing the presentation. Whether the packaging – for tangible products, or the sales pitch – for intangible products.
- Use the ‘Whole Product Model’ to develop superior products
There is often a variance in the marketing promises that companies make, and the end products that they deliver. The ‘whole product model’ concept was first described by Theodore Levitt, and explains that in order to overcome the variance and gain an upper-hand over the competitors, a product ‘must be augmented through a variety of services and ancillary products, to become the ‘whole product’.
Let’s take an example of a TV. The minimum requirement to appeal to prospective customers is a core product that enables them to watch movies, connect to a video player, a PlayStation, etc. Those are the minimum expectations when buying a TV. Now, a TV that can be considered to be a ‘whole product’ would have extras such as Wi-Fi connectivity, a USB port, a motion sensor which allows users to operate it without a remote, etc.
Although the buyer might not need the ‘extras’, they are still great features to have because they help enhance the experience by eliminating the need for third party add-ons. Rather than buying a separate video player, the consumer can watch a movie by simply plugging in a USB stick.
For instance, iPhones can be considered to be more complete than Blackberry phones. By owning an iPhone, the user knows that besides using the phone for calls and pictures, they can modify it with over 2 million apps, easily connect it to their cars or laptops if need be, find charger replacements without a hustle, find phone covers in almost every design imaginable, etc. iPhones definitely present a more appealing case than Blackberry phones (which don’t even support the latest versions of Whatsapp).
As explained in the post ‘How to Develop Products so Good they Sell Themselves‘, whole products will sell with greater ease than the ones that only perform the core functions. The most successful products in the market are often the ones that do everything they promise to do, and more! That kind of superiority can be achieved by enhancing singular features and benefits that are supplementary to the core product, such as the usability, the customer services, price points, availability of usage instructions, integration with other ancillary products, etc. Average products are the ones that only focus on the core functionality and nothing more. Be an iPhone.
- Understand the psychology of mainstream consumers
A definition of a market is a ‘combination of actual and potential customers for a given product/service, with a set of similar needs and wants, and who reference each other when making a purchase decision’. Human beings are pack animals by nature, and the decisions that we make are highly influenced by other people around us.
A customer would be more likely to purchase from a relatively new and unknown brand if the brand has been referred to them by other people like them. A reference is a very powerful nod of approval. It is important to create a market environment that enables consumers to refer each other with ease.
A market becomes ‘referenceable’ when its consumers are concentrated within one area, meet occasionally to exchange their views, and have the same use for the product. The goal in the early stages should be to establish such an environment for the business.
It is important to note that mainstream consumers generally have an attitude towards adapting to products that require them to change the ways that have been accustomed to doing things. Such products are called disruptive innovations. For example, 3D TVs require you to wear 3D glasses in order to experience the effects, whereas normal TVs are fully compatible to the naked eye. The enhanced experiences of 3D TVs at the end of the day become outweighed by the level of effort and adaptation required to make them a normal part of life.
Innovations that don’t require us to change our behavior are called sustaining innovation. For example, a two door version of a 4 door car is a sustaining innovation because the driver is not required to change their driving behavior. One of the reasons why many new businesses never make a successful breakthrough in the mainstream market is because they don’t have a profound understanding of the differences between disruptive and sustaining products, the consumer behavior towards each, and how to correctly market them.
In order to cope with the innate attitude towards disruption, the Technology Adoption Life Cycle model is a fundamental guideline that can be used when introducing such products to the otherwise conservative market. Please make sure to go through the post for an understanding of how to lay down business growth strategies that will certainly enhance your chances of breaking through to the mainstream market.