Product Distribution Basics: Define Your Market

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Define Your MarketOnce they formulate an idea for a new product, skin care entrepreneurs usually want to get rolling. However, they should defer to a basic rule in product distribution: defining their market. The existing business model may dictate whether they sell to businesses, consumers, or both. From there, entrepreneurs should define their target market as narrowly as possible, a process referred to as creating a niche.

A business cannot be everything to everyone, particularly if it is a small operation. Though market definition is often referred to as “finding” one’s niche, the process involves intention, effort, and often, making mistakes. When creating a niche for their skin care products, business owners should think small in order to achieve big. Market definition is the key to success and even established companies practice it.

Begin by identifying with whom the company would like to do business, being as specific as possible, down to the geographic area to target. For an acne treatment product, male or female teenagers from specific racial groups in east coast households with a specific income range could be a niche. Defining the desired audience is the first step toward making contact.

Focusing is the next step and involves clarifying what will be sold. By building on past personal strengths, achievements, and lessons, new entrepreneurs can carve out a comfortable niche. If the business is already operating but plans to launch a new product line, look at what made the first line so successful. In both cases, consider the perspective of potential customers in order to identify their needs and desires. Talking to members of the target audience is the best way to accomplish this.

A niche resides where customer wants and needs and the ideas of the entrepreneur intersect. The best niches are planned, unique, desired, and evolving, moving in the direction established by the company vision. The new product idea should be evaluated against these to ensure that it fulfills all the criteria. If it does not, it should be discarded and a new idea developed that matches the niche.

Test marketing is a practical way to ensure a good match has been found. Allowing a sample of the target audience to sample the new product and soliciting feedback provide a real-world picture of potential success. After testing successfully, the new product is ready for full-fledged implementation. With this approach, production distribution efforts should hit the bullseye rather than fly all over the field.

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