Let me share what I am learning teaching graduate and undergraduate classes at Monmouth University. We talk a lot about content marketing, the whole product concept, social media, the smart information age, the high-tech life cycle. How a phone is not just a phone anymore; that a watch isn’t just about telling time anymore; that lighting is not just about illumination anymore. Everything is moving so fast, how can one keep up and thrive in the new complex world of IoE?

One strategy that seems to work with high-tech companies is to dominate small niche markets first. A big fish in small pond strategy. If you believe as I do, as Chris Brown does, lighting is now playing in the high-tech game. As he says, “this is not my grandfather’s lighting business anymore.” If you believe as I do that SSL is disruptive, that it will change everything, then the old traditional strategies that worked in the past will certainly not work going forward.

So what will work? I do not have all the answers, sorry folks. I have lots of questions though. You have to fill in the blanks:
1. Can you identify and market to a niche market segment you can dominate?
2. Can you dominate by 50% market share, at least in the short term?
3. Can you work with customers that will commit to only your innovations? Brand preference or even brand insistence?
4. Buzz Marketing – will your customers say: “don’t do anything in lighting until you check with________________!”
5. Do you set the de facto standard in the selective market segment?
6. Can you set the critical business processes in lighting that others will follow?

Market segmentation is a skill set that must be selective and on target:
1. Customer data mining – what are your existing customers buying from you and which market segment are they in?
2. Do you have a library of target new customers in the target market segment?
3. Do you have an internal selection committee to prioritize the customers you must sell?
4. How do you plan to communication to this target market segment?
5. Have you dedicated resources to dominate?

The Whole Product Concept:
1. “The Marketing Imagination” book by Ted Levitt
2. “Marketing High Technologies” book by Bill Davidow
3. What is the “whole product concept”?
• The innovative product
• Variety of services
• Ancillary products
4. What are you selling?

Technology Adoption Life Cycle: (see my other blogs on this subject)
1. Can you effectively get to the early and late majority – the mainstream market?
2. Will the whole product planning lead to market segment dominance?
3. Do you have strong leadership in this market segment and recognized as such?
4. Does your positioning fit the target market going forward?

Tactical partners:
1. Are you receptive to partnering with other high-tech companies to sell the whole product?
2. Can you jointly accelerate the formation of the whole product working with others?
3. Can you dominate this market segment? By yourself? With others? Who?
4. Can you co-develop the target market jointly and expand to other market segments?
5. Can you partner with key customers?

1. Who are they?
2. What is their relationship with your customers? What is your relationship with theirs?
3. What is their positioning? Is it different than yours?
4. Can you define the battle? Are you taking it to them? Are they taking it to you?
5. Is your whole product better than theirs?

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  1. Bill,
    As always, your insights are spot on. The questions you raise are very interesting, but in a market as large and diverse as lighting, with huge players and endless technology plays, being a “large fish in a small pond”, is a daunting task. I would respectfully suggest that the questions should include….what constitutes and “small pond” and how do you identify it and determine its unmet needs.

  2. Bill Attardi says:

    Thank you Bart,
    What’s a small pond is a very good question. Lighting is everywhere and marketing loves to segment markets. That’s the task: now more than ever before, since we are changing everything, beyond just illumination, we need to break the segments down even further. To the smallest meaningful segments possible. I have some ideas for another blog……….stay tuned.
    Happy New Year,

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