After a while, even the most innovative service offerings being to lose some of their appeal, says Bill Pollock, president and principal consulting analyst at Strategies For Growth. What was initially offered as a specialized service, often without much competition, soon becomes just another service commodity amid scores of increasingly competitive offerings.
Regardless of your organization’s market share or position, it is important to gauge exactly where your services portfolio stands with respect to the perceptions — and expectations — of your targeted market base. In most cases, it is the new, innovative companies that conduct the bulk of the market research and competitive intelligence before launching their new products and services. It’s not necessarily the companies that sell their older, commodity-like offerings.
Don’t Abandon Older Services
Field service managers whose product or service portfolios are more mature, don’t fret. There may still be plenty of life left in the “tried and true” offerings, which may only need a gentle marketing or promotional push to stimulate interest and sales. Even NASA uses a mid-course correction occasionally to ensure rockets get to the proper destination!
There are many ways for service leaders to determine exactly how much kick its service offerings still have in them — or whether it’s time to kick some of them out of the portfolio altogether. To evaluate the overall health of your company’s portfolio of services, conduct a strategic business assessment that focuses on:
- Customer expectations: An assessment of your customers’ —and the market’s — perceptions, needs, requirements, preferences and expectations about your existing service offerings.
- Features: The specific features and characteristics (attributes, benefits, value, cost, etc.) that define your current service lines — and what it will take to improve them to meet evolving market expectations. Remember the “Three R’s”: refine, redesign and repackage.
- Perception: Customer and market opinions about the current quality and performance of services— both from your organization and competitors.
- Improvements: A set of recommended improvements to your existing portfolio to better position it against the competition, and to maximize sales potential and ongoing customer satisfaction.
Marketing to Make the Old New Again
The results of the assessment will equip your company’s management team with the strategic, marketing and promotional tools it needs to:
- Identify the basic customer and market needs, preferences and perceptions to fine tune how the company positions its existing service lines.
- Ensure it effectively markets the right service to the right market segment with the right message.
- Modify and enhance existing product and service lines to address the highest levels of customer and market demands.
- Develop new products or services to address the emerging needs and requirements of both existing and prospective customer bases.
- Identify and cultivate the most attractive target markets based on identified patterns of customer decision-making, purchase behaviors, product preferences and perceptions.
- Strengthen the company’s overall awareness, image, advertising, promotion and sales through the execution of recommended refinements based on the study findings.
Your existing offerings are responsible for the company’s success and market position. But they may have become dusty over the years. It’s time to dust them off — or retire them. Acting too soon could cost your company a lot of money. However, keeping dated products and services could cost the company even more in the long time in terms of profit and reputation.
Adopted with permission from PollockonService.com.