Identifying your target market

People cannot offer you an assignment if they don’t know you exist. The first challenge for Interim Managers therefore is to create awareness in the market place. Of course, there are thousands of others trying to do the same, so it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.

There is an old marketing adage called the rule of 7, which says that a potential client needs to see your marketing message at least seven times before they really notice you. Whilst the actual number is up for debate, it’s certainly true that a single awareness campaign has limited value.

Most interim managers do not have marketing budgets or resources the size of Pepsi Cola or Virgin, so, if you believe the rule of 7, it means you need to target your market fairly tightly if you are to get your message in front of them multiple times.

Factors to consider when selecting your target market

“Obviously you are most likely to succeed where you can demonstrate your competence (you know what you are talking about), your credibility (you have a track record in the same or a similar market) and your compatibility (you speak their language and understand their culture” says Simon.
There are a multitude of factors you can use to narrow down your target market. These include:

  • Size – could be measured in, for example, turnover, profit or number
  • Industry – type of industry they are in usually defined by SIC (Standard Industry Classification) Codes
  • Stage of Growth – from start up to maturity to close down
  • Geographical Location
  • Issues faced – such as mergers and acquisitions, regulatory changes, outsourcing central services etc

“When all is said and done” says Simon, “Perhaps the most important factor is your own motivation and desire to work with that sector. Even if it ticks all the other boxes, if the desire is not there, it’s going to be a struggle for you.”

Next resource: Routes to market