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Know Thy Self and Thy Customer: Part Two

Aug 02, 2010

Part Two: Knowing Thy Self (Continued from previous post)


Knowing your organization may seem obvious at first glance.  With some introspection, you can take advantage of what you know about yourself.


It may seem obvious to many at first: “our organization is X and we do Y”.  Then with this in mind approach that statement through the eyes of others outside of your organization.  How are you positioned in comparison to direct and indirect competition?  Perhaps you are “the only business that does Y in Wyoming”.  Or perhaps your customers perceive you as “the business that sells Y for the lowest prices in town”.  Perhaps you excel in service, quality, expertise or some other attributes.


Sometimes there is a significant difference between what an organization perceives itself as when compared to what customers perceive it as.  Discovering this gap is important both in that it may reveal important unique selling positions that can be leveraged, but also because it can reveal weaknesses that need to be addressed and certainly not used when competing against other organizations.


Bringing self-identity and market understanding together allows firms to capitalize on their products/services and their reputation.  Toyota and other Japanese car manufacturers were known since the 1970’s for producing reliable and affordable compact cars.  In the 1990’s, nearly simultaneously, they realized the market desire for quality luxury cars, which at the time Jaguar, a number of German manufacturers and others were known for luxury, not reliability.  Knowing how customers perceived them, the Japanese manufacturers recognized they could not use their existing brand names as it was not perceived by customers for luxury.  So they developed new brands, such as Lexus, Infinity and Acura.  With these new brands the Japanese manufacturers successfully entered the luxury car market with quality products customers demanded and with new identities the customers could perceive with quality and reliability.


Honestly recognizing yourself through your own and others eyes and understanding unbiased market potential can help your business focus on reaching new heights.

Category: Marketing

Jim Drever

Jim Drever is a counselor with the Wyoming SBDC.

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