One of the key concepts in advertising, PR and marketing is the definition of a ‘market’.

Typically a market has been defined in terms of a product rather than a how a customer might define their range of choices.

For example, a few years ago I designed and facilitated a series of workshops with the leaders of one of the major breakfast brands.

Their definition of the market in which they competed was ‘all breakfast cereals.’

Using this market definition meant that their brand could only grow if it took share from another cereal brand—a kind of zero-sum game.

But what of baked beans, muffins, toast or people who do not eat breakfast?

This means that growing market share is expensive and slow.

It also creates a me-too approach as all the players are thinking the same way.

To break out of this trap we need to think differently.

For example:

A more creative way to think of a market is to ask yourself what is the customer’s opportunity space?

This new type of thinking might lead to the following:

‘We compete in the space when customers wake up in the morning until lunch time’.

This more expansive definition meant that they also competed against McDonalds for example.

Thinking in a different way led to the development of new products such as breakfast bars and breakfast on the go type formulas which not only grew sales but profitability — quickly.

This is the new way to compete — on ideas, imagination, passion and speed!

In my role as a Strategic Planning Facilitator i love working with groups and teams that want and are open to new ways of thinking.

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