Tag Archives: Easy

How Do You Respond to Market Changes? Three Options

Situation: A company has a successful product, but the market is changing. Previous customers were savvy, but the market is shifting to more naïve customers who don’t understand how to use the product. How so you respond when the market for your product changes?

  • What you are seeing is a typical market evolution. (See Clayton Christensen’s book Crossing the Chasm.)
    • When a new product is introduced, early adopters are typically savvy users who quickly grasp the utility of the product. They don’t mind some inconvenience provided the product is useful.
    • As the market matures and starts to attract mainstream customers, new users will not be as sophisticated and expect the product to be easy to use.
    • If you don’t adapt to these new customers your product will languish as new competitors enter the market with user-friendly adaptations.
  • The path is clear. Figure out how to make your product easy to use. If you use a GUI (graphic user interface) make the GUI intuitive. Allow customers to get what they need with as few choices or clicks as possible.
    • These changes may alienate more sophisticated customers, but they usually only represent a small segment of your potential market.
  • Add a customer-friendly service component. This builds a service income base around the product. You have different options.
    • Align the customer with appropriate level of resource – you may not require high level resources to assist the customer, particularly if the product is one where the service consultant only needs to be one page ahead of the user.
    • Outsource the service component to a partner or use independent contractors.
  • Consider a remote monitor system:
    • A dashboard interface with easy to read visuals or messages that tell the customer when service is needed. This will enable them to perform simple maintenance using your tools, or alert them when they need to contact you for service.
    • An example is Norton’s evolving system of products that enables an unsophisticated home computer user to either use Norton tools to perform routine maintenance, or directs them to the Norton web site for assistance or more sophisticated solutions.

How Many Web Sites Should One Company Have? Three Thoughts

Situation: A company has two businesses in different locations serving different sets of customers in two separate markets. The CEO is evaluating whether it makes more sense to have one umbrella web site with pages for each of the two businesses, or to create two complete web sites with different URLs. How many web sites should a small business have, and why?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The first question is whether you call both businesses the same or different names. Many small companies have separate businesses at different sites, and just differentiate the businesses through division names. Moreover, because you use the same company name for both businesses, you want to make it easy for customers to find your web sites. This argues for at least a single splash page, listed under your current company URL.
  • There are many corporations with diverse, unrelated businesses. Generally, these corporations don’t have any problem having a general web site, with separate links to the individual division web sites where customers and partners can drill down to detail specific to each division. The advantage to this strategy is that by having one corporate site, the larger entity strengthens its own market presence.
  • Given that the advice of the group is to have a single splash page how do you construct it?
    • You want to prominently feature your company name on the splash page, but not to include much detail. Maybe just an overall positioning message that expresses your core values or a distinctive visual that shows what you do.
    • On the splash page, create two links with distinctive pictures and names that enable your customer to easily go to the side of your business that interests them.