Market Takedowns: A Focused Strategy for Winning Share

Eric Meerschaert

Eric Meerschaert

Executive Director of Strategy

Eric has a deep background of marketing leadership at Global 500 software companies, and was President of Click Commerce. His strategy roots grow from McKinsey & Co, where he learned that analytics, not instincts, drive the best corporate and market strategies.

Your offerings may have wide appeal to a broad array of markets, but what if you don’t have the marketing budget to gain share in all of them at once? These days, when every marketing dollar is being scrutinized, you can win long-term share and hit near-term revenue goals by focusing sales and marketing on the narrowly defined market targets you can own and win.

In this 30-minute session, StudioNorth Executive Director of Strategy Eric Meerschaert discusses how to:

  • Pick the most appropriate markets to make your budgets matter
  • Focus your offerings to “take down” those markets
  • Build momentum for the next takedowns

You can actually get better results by focusing on fewer markets. Let’s make it happen together!

Doug Duty: Welcome to our webinar. My name is Doug Duty, and our producer Derek is also helping facilitate the technology, appreciate his help. If the technology cooperates, we plan to send you all the deck with an audio recording after we’re done.

Doug Duty: Lately we’ve been asking our customers, “what’s on your minds? What are you thinking about?”

Doug Duty: Some of the answers that ranked highest were, “I’m approaching a challenging market in 2021, how do I do more with less budget, and how can I make sure the value I’m driving in leads is truly of the highest quality?”

Doug Duty: We’re going to share with you today what we’re seeing, but we also realize there’s so much more to say, so we’re going to be as concise as we can. Please know what we share with you we really believe, but we also suspect there’s lots of things to learn from other people. We just want to continue doing what we can to help you. So we’re going to try to limit our comments to about 20 minutes, but we’d like to leave as much time for QA as possible. Please feel free to submit a question if you have one, and we’ll make time to address as many as we can at the end. Simply go to the sidebar and click on the QA tab. Also, before we start, to enable your audio simply hover over the presentation and activate, “Enable audio.”

Doug Duty: Let’s dive right in Eric Meerschaert is our Executive Director of Strategy. His background includes SVP of Global Marketing for a billion dollar software company, and an engagement manager at McKinsey. What may be most relevant for our discussion today is during the 2008 financial crisis, Eric served as president of a large software firm where he successfully worked with and led his team to beat their revenue goals during the recession. I know he’s glad to be here, and opened to share any of his experience and knowledge. And we hope that some of this may help all of you. Eric?

Eric Meerschaert: Doug, thank you. I’m looking forward to having our conversation today.

Eric Meerschaert: I’m sharing something, this idea of market takedowns that we did well in 2008 and 2009. But I believe if I knew this back, then we could have done even better. This idea can sound like the same thing you’re doing today. So I want to encourage you to listen for how it’s different. And if you don’t, ask questions. Because in this, the subtleties of the difference here is an enormous amount of value over the near term, and even the longer term for your company and your efforts.

Eric Meerschaert: So with that, I want to jump into a market takedowns, we’re going to be talking about really three things. Number one, it’s a really challenging time, and yeah, it’s not just about COVID, it is, but we’re at a unique time of the year, we’ll talk about that a little bit.

Eric Meerschaert: And then we’ll go on and talk about market takedowns themselves. What are they? What are some examples? And why would we do them?

Eric Meerschaert: And then we’ll share some next steps.

Eric Meerschaert: So I’m going to jump right in. It is challenging times for most marketers. First of all we’re under pressure to produce pipeline for the first half of the year, and through the rest of the year. But here we are, and it’s October. And for most of us as marketers, we know if we launch something now we’ve lost a week in November, we’ve lost a couple of weeks in December, and leads start to arrive in January. And we’re already worried that the pipeline is healthy enough to help as fast as possible. There could be a six month sales cycle, it’s a tough time of year.

Eric Meerschaert: And there’s a lot of pressure on our colleagues in sales, and they need and want help. And that makes this really challenging at this time of the year.

Eric Meerschaert: Beyond that we’re likely facing tighter budgets than we’ve faced in recent history. Probably you’ve experienced some ratcheting down, maybe twice now in this year. But also many people are talking about reduced budgets for next year in the first half. And we’re peering at that market and really wondering, “what is it going to be like?”

Eric Meerschaert: At the same time we’re doing annual plans. If you’re a larger company, and you’re publicly held, you’ve already probably had to provide numbers, and it’s time now to take those numbers and make them real, and tighten up the commitments for the first half of the year. If you’re a smaller company, you may be looking at your annual plan and wondering, “How do I drive the best benefits? When and if the market gets healthy at the latter half of the year, am I laying in the steps to take aggressive steps forward and rise into perhaps some strengths in the economy?”

Eric Meerschaert: So it’s a really challenging time of the year. And it’s just the right time to think a little bit more about market takedowns, and I want to cover why. Market takedowns, here’s the first thing, they create greater focus.

Eric Meerschaert: And over on the left, you’ll see some interesting quotes. Certainly most of us on the call aren’t like the Chairman and CEO of Pepsi. But I think it’s interesting that even the Chairman and CEO of Pepsi was recently quoted as saying, “By creating one operating sector, we believe we can enhance our focus on accelerating top line revenue growth,” really Pepsi. Hm.

Eric Meerschaert: And then down lower on the left, we see a quote from a small business journal that’s talking about nine strategies to grow. And one of the prominent strategies is you can grow your business by being very focused on a single niche; and this becomes your opportunity. Be a big fish in a small pond. Why? Because with scarce dollars focusing marketing and sales, perhaps other parts of the organization, concentrates budget, management time, and therefore your impact in the marketplace.

Eric Meerschaert: But the question is, “How do we do that? And what moves do I make now so that over the longterm, we have a better chance of maximizing our return on investment, and we create some real results?”

Eric Meerschaert: Well market takedowns help with this in three ways. First they sharpen our focus on critical beachheads. And I’ll unpack that word a little bit, but it’s a hyper-focused way from which you spring forward.

Eric Meerschaert: Secondly, they argue for pilots that allow us to learn in one area, and then expand, rather than trying to learn everywhere.

Eric Meerschaert: And then lastly, they cause us to create very more specific offers of value that in fact should be designed to connect emotionally so they can stand out right now. So let’s unpack each of those three things.

Eric Meerschaert: Number one, what is this term, “Beachheads?” Beachheads technically are a war term, and we are fighting in a war, but it’s from a small border area that becomes a stronghold from which we can advance into enemy territory. And of course we all, or most of us think about Normandy when you think about a beachhead, because it’s literally a beach. But this idea can be applied to marketing, and it’s in fact the idea that Geoffrey Moore, in his Book Crossing the Chasm, really starts with.

Eric Meerschaert: But it’s not a beachhead, unless you can own a substantial part of it, it’s large enough for you to build strength, and it gives you a place from which you can spring forward quickly. I want to give you one example, and start with Oracle. Oracle has become the market leading ERP solution in pharmaceuticals. Now how did they do that? You’d think they would go target big companies because they were a big software company, but Larry Ellison and his team did something really smart, they targeted new startups, mid-stage in drug trial. Now why? Because a startup mid-stage that has success needs an ERP. In fact, the investors and the board, wants that operating division to be ready to grow because we know what happens when you have a good drug. You hit the market and then you really accelerate. You have to have your infrastructure set up or you’ll fail to effectively serve the market and capture the revenue. He believed that if I can be in more of those companies, one in 10 are going to grow substantially, and over time, I’m going to be present in some very large companies. If you were walking through airports back when this happened in the sort of 2000 timeframe through 2004, you will remember that Larry posted signs. It said, “Four out of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies use Oracle.” Months later, it was six out of the top 10. Another quarter later, it was eight out of the top 10.

Eric Meerschaert: Then we watched it move a little more slowly, but one day he announced that he led the pharmaceutical market because 10 out of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies used Oracle. Now, if you think about that, it was a hyper focus on a narrow beachhead, and he took a risk, but that risk really paid off. The idea of beachheads and how do they work a little bit more, they’re sort of done like throwing a strike and forgive me for the mixed metaphor, it’s Larry’s. The idea is we take a marketing focus and we strike at a couple of markets, but we do it very intelligently. The focus of the market is related to other things. We easily create momentum and we want to hit a couple of markets.

Eric Meerschaert: We’ll talk about how in a second, so that we can knock over lots of other pins. We create a lot of leverage by doing that. Now, this is a really critical difference from what we often do. What we often do is we start with a budget and we say, “I’ve got a team of product or industry marketers. I’ve got a budget. It’s gone down 20%. I’m going to give some people a little more, some people a little less, and let’s go.”. Instead, this argues for thinking about a couple of markets, very carefully, really strategically planning those moves. Once you hit a market, it’ll knock over other markets more quickly. What’s a market? It’s not an industry for sure. A market is a group of buyers, okay? People with common needs and buying characteristics. You have to move from manufacturing to something like, as an example, US high-tech manufacturing 50 to 250 million, but that’s not even yet a market because it’s not buyers, it’s a vertical.

Eric Meerschaert: We have to move from that market into, maybe as an example, plant managers in that sector, but still we have not narrowed it down to common needs and buying characteristic. It really isn’t yet a beachhead, is it, because it’s a broadly defined thing. We move from plant managers in that sector to plant managers who, and you fill in that phrase., But it’s literally plant managers who have specific characteristics and buying needs. We’ll talk about that a little bit more and it’s a beachhead. It’s a place I can own. If I think about this place out two or three years, I can go get a measurable share. That’s different from saying, “I want to grow market revenue by 15%.” Good objective, but a beachhead says, “I want 10 to 20% of that narrowly defined market, maybe more.”

Eric Meerschaert: I want to talk to you about an example. We’re working with a client. Now, I’m not going to reveal the name. They are obviously in the healthcare marketplace, from this example you see on the left, but what we did with the client and they played a substantial role in this, is they chose a market, emergency management services, which was related if we do well in that market to hospital emergency departments, which is related from the hospital emergency departments to post acute care. You see how that worked. We’re going after a big share of that market. Over time, we want to go capture 60% or more of that, of a certain share of that market, which will feel like sort of 20 to 30% of that total market space. That’s a big share. We’ve got a plan to get there.

Eric Meerschaert: Now, when we start [Lumentum 00:16:28] in the emergency management services market, the hospitals are going to pay attention because it’s related and we can move right into that market by reference and referral and demonstrated value. When we make progress on the hospitals, see many people want to get out of the hospital right away and so does the healthcare system who want that to happen. They go to post acute care and they have to be transitioned to post-acute care, which is related to emergency management services and the hospitals where they start. You see the relationship? Each of those markets are small enough that I can not only grow, but I can own a substantial share and I can spring forward from it. That’s one of the things that makes this really unique. The next thing we have to think about as we’re doing this is, we don’t want eight, 10, 12, 15 Marcus to comprise our growth in this take down strategy.

Eric Meerschaert: We want to nail our first market so it’s going after sort of 40% of a three-year number we’re targeting. We’re going to start at first and start the next market later. Notice we’re not starting while at the same time. It’s going to naturally not get to anything more than like 25% or some number like that. Then the third targeted market might only comprise 15% of that three-year number because of where it starts. The critical idea here is you’re not doing everything at once and you’re using as few markets as you can to get to 80% of your revenue objective. I’m thinking really quickly about a long time ago, JD Edwards, and at one in their marketing, they were in maybe 13 countries with 65 offers and they were spreading their marketing around like butter on warm toast. They had lost track of their manufacturing leadership position and were in multiple markets.

Eric Meerschaert: They had gone up market. What literally happened is they lost hold of their primary strategic advantage, mid-market manufacturing. That decreased their overall shareholder value, increased the cost of them driving revenue. As a result, I think eroded sort of their market position to the point where they were bought by PeopleSoft, who was bought by Oracle. All right. This point is related, but idea number two is very critical with market take downs. If you start all at once, you’re going to spend a bunch of money. Instead, we refine our growth tactics to get past this false choice. The false choice is, I got a lot to do. I need pipeline. A lot of different sales people, a lot of different industries, a lot of different products. Let’s get going and let’s get going fast. We want to argue relative to market take down that start with one. Focus your team on working out the kinks. Focus your money and momentum until you really get this process down for yourself on the most important market, like the head pin, the number one or the number two market.

Eric Meerschaert: Pick one, and go after that market very hard. Create results and momentum, and then move other targeted markets into this strategy so that you can get going. This means we have to do something for those other markets, but we don’t do everything for those other markets. When we start, we’re thinking about share not just 10% revenue growth, we’re laying in the offer and the focus so that when we win, we’re targeting a three-year title or target story so that we can own substantial share. What do I do about the other markets? I keep the lights on. What do I mean about that? A lot of what you’re doing today, you keep doing a little bit less money so that you can focus on this other market, but you do work to keep your existing strategies going. They’re not probably bad or inherently wrong. You’re just trying to free up money to focus it a little bit more on taking, share, and owning markets and getting ready for your beachheads. Okay.

Eric Meerschaert: Third idea here. There’s a little bit of a process to doing this, and if you follow it, you have the greatest chance of success. The first and driving market take downs is to identify within that narrowly defined beachhead you’ve picked. Not everywhere. The specific buyer be champions, urgent moments. These aren’t just pain points. They’re a little bit more than that. An urgent moment is something I have to do. Now, that sounds like pain point, right? There’s a difference. There could be a list of 20 pain points that people have right now, right now today. Not six months ago, certainly not 18 months ago. An urgent moment is high priority moment that I must address. If you don’t pick an urgent moment, you might have great ideas, great value, great messaging, but you won’t be heard because the buyers aren’t looking to solve that problem right now. It’s 10th on the list.

Eric Meerschaert: Urgent moments, they must solve now, not just pain points. Around that pain point, you now have to fix upon it, a full value story. It’s not just about, “I have a product that has benefits, buy it.” It’s people are more skeptical now. They’re voting dollars carefully. They have to, just like you as marketers, probably provide more measurable benefits quickly than they’ve ever had to. They want help. If you have a value story, or there’s a journey to deploying and using your product, whether it’s a manufacturing instrument or a surface or a piece of software or something else, you have to think about that client and that buyer and their promised return on investment and help them get there. We were working with a company just recently where we did some market research. The company thought that lowering price would lead to more revenue. We found something else entirely contrary, by asking about the urgent moments. The buyers literally wanted to get to higher value. The price of the product didn’t matter, but the buyers were sitting on the sidelines because they didn’t know if they would get that the value.

Eric Meerschaert: What they wanted the company to do and this is a quote from the product line president kind of role. “I wish they would just come and help me get the value, because the value is so huge that you can charge twice for your product if you actually drove the value, theoretically, we can get, but we need help.” you think about the whole value story. You determine how to package that value with a solution, whether it’s partners or employees that you have today, looking at all the strengths you have in your organization with all the blinders and constraints off. Then you’re pretty close. Now, if I go into the marketplace and say, “You’re going to have a higher ROI and I’ll help you get there.” That’s great. You’ve gotten away from features. You’ve gotten away from benefits. Honestly, we’ve learned that people need to connect emotionally, because they’re looking at the market through the lens of, I have an urgent problem.

Eric Meerschaert: If you don’t think how about how to connect that return on investment to the specific emotional needs of buyers and champions, they’re going to look right past your ads because it doesn’t connect to their heart. They’re going to look at the same pictures. Everybody else is using, hardhats or people in white coats, selling you’re selling hospital’s stuff. They’re going to think, “Those faces don’t look like me. Those pictures look like everyone else’s pictures .” In the haze of everything going on, you won’t even be…

Eric Meerschaert: And in the haze of everything going on, you won’t even be noticed, you’ll be like everyone else in the sea of sameness. So you have to look very carefully at the specific emotional connection to those unique, urgent moments. Are you going to keep talking the same way? Think you have a value story and it still won’t be heard. And remember, this is for the beachhead. So if used to sell to hospitals or used to sell to manufacturers, you’re going to be picking plant managers who what? And you’re going to speak to their urgent moment, you’re going to know that you have a priority offer because that’s the only beachhead you want. And you’re going to focus and use digital activity because there’s lots of great creative events. There’s earned media, there’s a digital online events today, there’s hard print and emailing, or mailing that, a dimensional piece.

Eric Meerschaert: There’s lots of different things to do, but you want micro measurement. You want to hit that beachhead and figure out what’s going on immediately and adjust tactics and pivot fast so you can take the beachhead. It’s not just about revenue. Good thing. It’s about taking the revenue that allows you to own a substantial part of that beachhead. And to get a start, you’ve got to tune very quickly and that, so this package together, if you think about it carefully, is a uniquely focused way to take your money, focus it on a market, establish a beachhead and a direction that says I’ll be a leader in a market, I’ll own a substantial share. You’re a small company or startup. That means higher shareholder value. That means your VC or your funding vehicles will, when you go to sell, you’ll get a higher trading ratio. If you’re a large company, instead of being sort of known for everything, you’ll have a clear purpose that gives your brand more awareness and gets you a higher return on investment.

Eric Meerschaert: So as a quick review. Market take down, start with a beachhead. You cause things to trip over by finding closely related markets that give you quick brand awareness, great reference and referral, and can allow you to move forward quickly into that next market to take another beachhead. You prioritize those beachheads, not doing everything at once. You do that by focusing on the first one, and it’s going to comprise, if you’re successful at growing forward from it, a substantial portion of the revenue you’re targeting. The next one will start later, but you’re still targeting beachheads, targeting market share and a slightly less proportion and so on.

Eric Meerschaert: And then lastly, by leveraging an emotional connection to their urgent points, you create better value that connects to the hearts of people and their specific objectives and by tuning it and moving quickly through digital mechanisms to start, you’re going to own that message and stand out in the sea of sameness, sort of like Eggland’s Best and who thought we were going to pay extra for eggs, right? That’s a market takedown. And if you take that approach and that strategy, you’ll own market share, drive higher returns on investment, do better plans, and really, we’ve seen this work, succeed in having a brand that matters and a position that lowers the cost of marketing and sales over the longterm. Okay.

Eric Meerschaert: Going forward, we’re going to do a couple of things to put some meat on the bones. The first is, since we are where we’re at, we thought it might be valuable to release a piece that has to do with how do we take this idea and do a better plan for 2021 because one market take down and how do I spend the money elsewhere, Eric helped me out. There’s going to be a piece coming on that. So watch for that. And then secondly, we’re going to talk about how you lead your team, literally through this process in detail, with the idea in mind of, hey, I’m in a lot of verticals, we see this, how do I do a market take down so I can own a substantial portion of that vertical and have better returns on investment and higher returns on marketing and sales and a much stronger position and a purpose to own in that market?

Eric Meerschaert: So watch for those two and we’ll help put some meat on the bones and help you get a great start on doing market takedowns. Thanks so much for your time. I hope you found this valuable and I look forward to sharing other ideas as we move forward.

Doug Duty: Thanks, Eric. That was a very informative webinar. We have a lot of questions that have come in and we’re trying to do is just get them organized in a way where they’re in different groups. And as soon as we get Eric here back live, we’ll start asking him those questions. Some of the questions and the way that they’re coming in, that I’m pairing them, you also have a lot of questions about really the subtleties and the differences, the subtleties, and the differences around the differences between a vertical market and an actual market target. A lot of you also had questions around this in ABM. So Eric, I’m going to start in that area. And this is a question we have from Steve. How is this different from ABM? It sounds very similar.

Eric Meerschaert: I actually they’re there, it’s not different, it’s complementary. I would say it this way. Market take down is the best way to focus ABM and use it to gain share in a marketplace. And so what the ABM strategy would then do is focus on the individuals, the buyers, the companies, in precisely that beachhead. And in that way, you’re going to unlock better returns more quickly, and you’re likely to reach exactly the customers you want. So it’s just a powerful way to implement the take down.

Doug Duty: Thanks. Going to go a little farther to the question similar to that, from Jennifer. You talked about at the beginning, it’s really important to understand this, the subtleties and the differences. Can you cover one more time, why a beachhead is different from something like a market target?

Eric Meerschaert: Yeah, sure. A beachhead is a market target that’s very narrowly defined so that number one, you can own a share of it. So in my example, a little earlier, mid-market manufacturers 50 to 250 million in North America, could be 5,000 companies. And you might not be able in a three-year period of time to own sort of 3000 of those or even 1000 of those. So the question is how can we narrow that market in a way that number one, I can own substantial share, say 20, think 20 plus percent share. And define that narrowly, but define it in such a way, number two, that when you knock it over like that bowling pin analogy, it knocks over into other things. And so in that way, it’s just a more specific way of targeting a market. Again, whether it’s vertical or horizontal or geographic.

Doug Duty: What’s one of the more credible ways, one of the more easier ways out there right now that our audience could actually find out the exact size of the market.

Eric Meerschaert: Wow, exact size of the market. Listen, if you have publicly held examples, you can begin to, you can figure that out. We can get counts in even as simple place as associations in your targeted market, typically have that kind of information available. And then also your digital team can give you information that is often much better than those sources, because it’s not done through a survey, it wasn’t done 18 months ago, and you can reach out through a programmatic partners or other people you’re working with into digital space to find out how many touch points there are out there. So, there’s lots of ways to get there and we keep coming back to this digital point. It’s a powerful mechanism, not just to execute, but learn about your market.

Doug Duty: Yeah. Because there are a lot of questions about just limiting. They feel like this could be a little limiting. Why are you isolating vertical markets? We’ve had a lot of success targeting healthcare providers. That’s from Lisa.

Eric Meerschaert: Okay. Actually vertical a vertical market is, is the start of establishing a beachhead. So healthcare is a market, but it’s really a vertical of so many markets because we have to find buyers who have common needs and buying characteristics. And on the technology side, when you’re selling technology, we often use this persona word, ITDM, IT decision-makers. Well, in true truth, there’s lots of those. They have lots of different roles. They have lots of different buying needs. They have lots of different buying characteristics. So it’s far too broad a term. And just like healthcare is so what you want to do is pick a micro market within healthcare that you’re going to use as your beachhead, that you can own a share of it quickly, like in three years. And then you use that to relate to other little micro markets. You remember our example from emergency management services, into hospital emergency departments, after the hospital into post-acute care, and we’re lining up the relationships so they knock over like bowling pins in a bowling alley. And so in that way, you targeted further within healthcare to own beachheads and take share.

Doug Duty: Going to continue in that area about just the size of the markets and how to assess them. And I know we’re going to get deeper into that in our future conversations, as we extend this into other communication pieces for our audiences. This is from Mike. I’m not sure it’s very realistic to select only three markets. I can’t imagine only three markets with a beachhead that can get close to 80% of our revenue goal.

Eric Meerschaert: Yeah. Okay. Well, all right. Well, that’s a good question, Mike. Well obviously, if you’re IBM, the idea of how many markets you pick is different than if you’re a $45 million software company. If you’re a $45 million dollar software company, pick three markets, find some beachheads. Even if you’re a very large, you may start by saying, let’s look at the North American theater or even just the United States. Let’s narrow that further and let’s find out… If you’re big, you’ve got share, hopefully. And if you’re big, you’ve got some momentum hopefully. And what you’re going to do is you’re going to say, I’m going to pick a beachhead and go own more of that share and it’s going to be very much related to another market where I can grab substantial share.

Eric Meerschaert: And then again, back to my sort of example. JD Edwards, I’m sounds like I’m indicting them, boy I think you’d find this in a lot of software companies around the world. You’ll find people who have closed a few good deals in lots of countries. And that’s how we get from Europe to a territory called [inaudible 00:00:35:27], which is not a market. I mean, Europe, Middle East, and Africa almost don’t have common needs and pine characteristics. So, we get deal here, deal there, deal there, and pretty soon we’re in a lot of countries. This idea is to stay very narrowly focused. And so you pick by theater, you’ll pick a vertical and you get really specific about it and you keep the lights on everywhere else. And that’s how it can make sense. You’re going to take share in bigger chunks because you’re bigger, but you can still use the concept.

Doug Duty: That’s a great segue to a question from Dan. Is keeping the lights on marketing, like always-on marketing. In other words, what do you mean keep marketing like we have when you’re suggesting that we redirect budget to our beachhead markets?

Eric Meerschaert: Well, that’s a good question.

Doug Duty: Try to pick the best.

Eric Meerschaert: Keep the lights on can be like your always-on programs. People use always-on to refer to a part of a campaign that continues regardless of little shifts I make in technique or offer. For example, I’m going to keep my awareness program running, I’m going to keep my branding elements running, and that’s always there even though I might be offering a webinar or some other piece and promoting it in a different way. It may be that you use your always-on programs as part of keeping the lights on, and you might find that you also have some good programmatic going in the marketplace or a webinar series, and you can afford to keep that while you shift some money over into your market takeout. You define that market takedown bottom up, and we’ll talk about this more in a piece that we’re coming out with, but you do your market takedown bottom up, and you ask yourself first, “How do I fund that the right way?” Then you say, “What are the implications, and what do I need to strip away to keep the lights on while I do that market takedown?”

Eric Meerschaert: Now, here’s the good thing, so don’t panic. You’re picking a beachhead, and that’s a small enough market that I can own a substantial share, so you’re not going to be redirecting a hundred million dollars, or if you’ve got a million dollar budget, you’re not redirecting a half a million dollars. You’re going to own a small beach. That’s why you start with that beach head. It gives you an opportunity to get a toehold without moving all your money around.

Doug Duty: Great. I think you answered that well. This is a question from our friend TJ. I like this one. “How long do you wait to see if your beachhead approach is working or not?”

Eric Meerschaert: I can’t give you the time, TJ, but I would say this: You’re going to design that integrated marketing campaign for that beachhead. As your leads hit the rate, underneath your beachhead plan, there’ll be some math. That math will say, “I need a certain number of leads or top funnel performance that’ll translate to middle, that’ll go to the bottom, that’ll become a sales cycle,” et cetera. As you see yourself hitting the rate that suggests you’re on the way, that’s perhaps the next time to start thinking about shaping the next beachhead.

Eric Meerschaert: You want to make sure or try best you can to wait to do that so that you’re getting share in the first beachhead you’ve picked and you’re not spreading your money around like butter on warm toast. You watch your metrics. That’s why digital so important. You’re paying attention to the shifts. You’re pushing your program to hit your numbers, and when that one’s running, then you go looking towards the next beachhead because you want to fund that first one and keep it going at the rate you need. I hope that made [crosstalk 00:38:59].

Doug Duty: That’s why I believe, Eric, really, understanding the size of the market and choosing the right beachhead is critical. I know that’s what you’re going to be sharing more about in great detail in an upcoming point-of-view piece we’re going to send to everyone that attended today, so we’ll get deeper into that. I have two more questions. I was going to combine them, but I think I’m going to keep them different before we wrap up because they are similar. These are obviously from people who, I believe, understand what you’re saying and buy into it, but they’re maybe struggling on how to sell it internally. Let’s start with this one from Teresa. “How do I sell this idea eternally? Honestly, I’m concerned about starting only one market takedown while my competitors are continuing as is.”

Eric Meerschaert: Yeah, well, Teresa, here’s the first thing: They’re not doing market takedowns. Don’t worry. I’m kidding a little bit. I’m sorry. But, well, there’s some truth in that. Again, we’re not shutting down the other markets. All we’re doing is trying to free up enough money to start a really well-targeted program that will yield higher results. When that takes off, it’s actually to give you more money, and you’re just taking little chunks. That’s why the idea of beachhead’s really critical, Teresa.

Eric Meerschaert: Now, beyond that, and that’s all the math stuff, the way you form your first takedown is highly collaborative. You’re going to build maybe even tighter links than before with strategy, however that’s shaped or named and titled in your company. Because they’re seeing that marketing isn’t just producing revenue, you’re going to take share. That’s something a strategist like myself can get very excited about. You build a friend in strategy.

Eric Meerschaert: The second thing is you’re going to be talking with sales about enabling them in deeper ways, and sales reps… Doug will attest to this. We always like talking about something we know a lot about. It’s really hard to be a generalist as a rep because you can’t connect. The great thing about beachheads and market takedowns is people become hyper-trained, hyper-focused, and so much better than their colleagues who are out running around talking to a lot of people with a lot of different needs. You build friends in both directions. Then as you’re working as a team to pivot quickly, remember that metaphor through digital, you actually build this belief that, “Hey, this wasn’t just a crazy idea. We’re actually making this thing work together.” Those three things together will usually help you sell it and keep it sold internally.

Doug Duty: Last question from our good friend, Steve Greenhow. Steve, I’m going to paraphrase it a little bit. “Just market takedown was a great 20 minute session you did, and we had some really good Q&A. Thanks, everybody, for the questions. But give me a elevator speech real quick. If I was going to tell my boss or explain what does market takedown mean, how do I do it?”

Eric Meerschaert: We want to try market takedowns because they’re going to help us focus on markets we can win, drive faster results, and improve returns on investment in sales and marketing. I want to share that idea with you. If I was a small company owned by a VC, I’d say, “By the way, we do this successfully, we’re going to drive higher trading ratios.” Typically, the management team cares about that because they have some skin in the game. If you’re a larger company, it’s about brand awareness, and the analyst will pay attention because you’re a market leader. If you’re in software, yet on Gartner will pay more attention. Anyway, that would be the elements, anyway, of an elevator pitch if I had a few more minutes to think about it.

Doug Duty: Thanks, Eric. I think you did a really great job in this first webinar. I know we’ll continue to share information with everyone that attended. I tell you, everyone that’s attended, we remain amazed at the interest in the amount of people that attend these webinars, so thank you so much for this. We’ll keep doing these. We’re intending to have them all for free just to help you as much as possible. We’ll be following up over the next weeks with additional information to all of you. There’ll be deeper ideas on the subject. If you find the information valuable, opt in. We’ll keep sending you things. Also, feel free to contact me or contact Eric anytime you have questions or if you want to talk about this further. If you just use info@studionorth.com, your messages will reach me directly. I’ll get right back to you.

Doug Duty: If the technology cooperated, expect that we’ll send you all the deck from today. We do look forward to helping you and collaborating together. That’s what this is all about. Please stay safe and healthy. Thank you. Eric, you can end the webinar now. Have a great day, everybody.

Eric Meerschaert: So long.

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Eric Meerschaert

Eric Meerschaert

Executive Director of Strategy

Eric has a deep background of marketing leadership at Global 500 software companies, and was President of Click Commerce. His strategy roots grow from McKinsey & Co, where he learned that analytics, not instincts, drive the best corporate and market strategies.

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