Understanding Your Market…

Understanding your market is a major key thing you need to do in business, be it services, products or what have you that you’re offering from your business… Without doing this, you can not only waste valuable time and money, but feel your doing something wrong, even though you may have a great product or service… Here are a couple examples I had in learning this the hard way…

When I was in college, I loved my time off going hunting and fishing. I was also going to college for illustration at Syracuse University, and was good with portraits in pen and ink and watercolor. One of my professor’s, Murray Tinkelman said something about “Creating your own Niche Market”. He did baseball card illustrations and turned them into limited edition prints… I did do one of Ken Griffey Jr., with his manager saying he would be wiling to sign them since I was using the money for college and an indipendent credit. I lacked the knowledge of Copyright use and was told I needed to pay MLB a $10,000 deposit to print out 1000 of them and sell as a project to cover cost of art school… Couldn’t invest that much for such a short run, so continued looking for “My Niche” art work…

One Christmas, I did an illustration of my Great Uncle with some trout he had caught, in a Field & Stream watercolor style. He loved it, and then it accrued to me, this could be my niche… So, through word of mouth, I started doing these, doing often 25-50 of them a year. I even did one for a county Legislator and the 8-point buck he had gotten, and hung in his office till he retired- he still values it to this day… SO I thought I had a really good product, with a couple years of word of mouth advertising in the Syracuse area to support my idea…

When I moved back to my hometown with no stoplight in a small county with lots of woods and streams for hunting and fishing, I figured I would be set, lots of hunters and fishermen in the area, and called my product “The Sportsmen’s Portrait”… I advertised in the local county Penny Saver for two seasons- Ended up with only one order…The local sportsmen’s market would rather get their trophy/s stuffed and hung on their wall, then pay the same amount for a piece of artwork from a photo… I lacked truly “Knowing my Market”…

So Lesson: Research your possible Market!!! Find out what they truly need, want, and how much they would be willing to pay for it… You can’t sell a New BMW to people who are only interested in rusty VW Bugs or used cars…

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