For a subject as wide-ranging as marketing, it is a struggle to stick within the boundaries set at the start, however, in this session, you have:
- identified the customers that your business is aimed at
- described in detail the market you are competing in and its characteristics
- defined who you think you will be competing with.
You may feel you are already close to your customer, but there is more listening to be done. Using the techniques given in this session you should now return to your idea, and refine and develop it in relation to the needs of customers and the competitive forces in the market.
It is sometimes said that ‘the customer is always right’, but remember that may not always be so. When faced with a new product that in turn creates a new market, sometimes your intuition is a better judge than asking others less invested in change. So be careful which customers you listen to. Returning to the music analogy used in Activity 6, if you want to be the biggest band in the world it might not pay to listen to those loyal fans who liked your early stuff.
However, the customer, client, consumer or person engaging with what you offer ultimately belongs at the centre as the most important stakeholder in your business model. Being close to them, seeing changes in their taste, in technology, in the shape of markets, and unmet needs is one of the key advantages of being a small organisation. It means you can shape your offer to their needs.
You are also asked to consider how you create value for your customer, client or consumer as your business grows and develops. How will you continue to create value if market conditions change? What kind of competitor do you want to be? This has broad implications for your enterprise, for your business model, for how you build value for the customer through the alignment of the internal environment and the external one. In other words, value cuts across all aspects of the enterprise, and you will be revisiting this idea throughout the course. Use these insights to help you develop the sections of the business model canvas on customer relations, market segments and crucially your value proposition, which comes up next in Session 5.
You are now halfway through the course. The Open University would really appreciate your feedback and suggestions for future improvement in our optional, which you will also have an opportunity to complete at the end of Week 8. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.
You can now go to Session 5.