You must define and analyze product markets before you jump into a market segment.

It’s essential to perform research before jumping into product markets. Your marketing strategy requires that you clearly define the market structure to identify the buyers to be targeted by the company for product-market fit.

The starting point is examining the nature and scope of each market of interest to top management. You must look at the whole market, even if management chooses to target one or a few market segments.

Mapping the entire market is necessary to understand and anticipate market changes.

Equipped with this map, a company can be in a position to examine all the players serving the target market. And anticipate what changes may occur between and among the segments of the map.

When I started as a product manager, I was responsible for developing products by identifying potential products, market gaps, conducting market research, generating market requirements, generating product requirements, determining specifications, production timetables, pricing, and time-integrated plans for product introduction, and developing marketing strategies.

I didn’t have social media, LinkedIn, and other great digital platforms to gather, test and analyze product market data. Think about it for a minute.

What is the product-market definition?

The marketplace in which a final good or service is bought and sold. A product market does not include trading in raw or other intermediate materials and instead focuses on finished goods purchased by consumers, businesses, the public sector, and foreign buyers.

Product marketing is a process of promoting and selling a product to a customer. Also, product marketing is described as being the intermediary role between product development and increasing brand awareness.

There are different types of product markets and it’s always a good idea to see who is playing in these market segments.

What is product-market fit?

The product market definition is a common concept in the startup world. While widely applied in conversations around new high-growth companies. 

 Product market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market. Many people interpret product-market fit as creating a so-called minimum viable product that addresses and solves a problem or needs that exists.

What is the product-market in economics a definition?

In economics, the product market is the marketplace where final goods or services are sold to businesses and the public sector. Focusing on the sale of finished goods, it does not include trading in raw or other intermediate materials.

Incorrect market definition causes new product failures and may result in the loss of new opportunities. Market knowledge is critical to marketing strategy design and implementation.

It is the responsibility of the product marketing manager for the product market and defining the product-market fit. The product market definition includes defining markets and evaluating the opportunities they offer for sales and profits provide essential information for marketing strategy development.

As of Nov 25, 2019, the average annual pay for a Product Marketing Manager in the United States is $92,133 a year.

product marketing manager salary

The market analysis includes the following:

  • Identifies promising business opportunities
  • Define and evaluates the competition
  • Guides the selection of what buyers to target
  • Indicates customer requirements to be satisfied in designing and implementing the marketing positioning strategy

The rapid change in the global scope of many markets requires the constant attention of marketing executives. They review the shifting needs of buyers, competitive positioning, and opportunities for new products and services.

Markets change and shift in buyer’s needs, new technologies, environmental forces, and competitive actions. These changes create new opportunities and threats to the companies that serve that market.

I will discuss how to analyze and define product markets and determining market boundaries.


Defining Product Markets

what product market
Source: Pixabay

The key marketing strategy issue is deciding how to define a market since a market can be defined in many ways. And markets are constantly changing, creating new marketing situations.

For example, even though athletic shoes perform a basic footwear function, many variations occur according to:

  • Specific functions provided, walking, running, jumping, and exercise
  • Shoe and materials technology
  • Design type
  • Prices, quality, materials, and features
  • Sales to individual consumers, athletic teams, government, and other organizations
  • Private brand sales
  • Sales in specific geographic areas

The various options for defining the market for athletic shoes highlight the importance of adopting an approach to the market definition that can be applied to any market situation.

The market should be defined so that it is strategically relevant for the company. The definition of the boundary should span the appropriate customer, product, and competitor dimensions.

Before you jump into a market segment, you must define and analyze product markets. Click To Tweet

Dimensions of Market Definition

Three dimensions of markets capture a large portion of the variation in the scope of markets. The dimensions consist of the:

  1. Functions or use of the product performed by the customer
  2. The technology used in the product to provide the desired function
  3. The customer segment using the product to perform a particular function
  4. Customer Function

This dimension considers the function of the product or service performance. It is the benefit provided to the customer. Thus, the function satisfies the needs of the customer. In the case of athletic shoes, the function is a type of body movement needed by the customer.

Marketing Technology

This dimension recognizes that a customer function may be satisfied by products that use different technologies. The technology consists of materials and designs incorporated into the product. In the case of a service, the technology relates to having the services rendered.

For example, a surgeon may close a skin opening using a needle and thread or instead use a surgical stapler.

Gas and Electric utilities are different technologies used as energy sources for heating, cooling, and other functions. The broader the product market definition, The wider the range of technologies that may be used to perform the customer’s function.

Customer Segments

product market segments

This dimension considers the variability of customers’ needs. For example, household versus an organization use of automobiles. Two broad segments are households and organizations. Each of these classifications can be further divided into more specific customer segments.

It is important to identify the end-user. It is common for business firms to designate those who purchase the company’s products as our customers.

The product moves through various stages in the production and distribution process. From the supply of raw materials to the final purchase by the consumer or organizational end-user. The end-user is the customers on which market definition and analysis should be focused.

Purchases by end-users determine the market opportunity enjoyed by all firms. Therefore all companies in the channel should be involved in planning and coordinating marketing strategies to generate sales for many users. Considering and users as markets is the best way to ensure this involvement.

You have to define the stages in the value-added system from the raw material stage to the final uses of the product or service. Some companies may integrate forward or backward. Others may focus on one or a few stages. Analysis of the complete system is important to understand and compare direct competitors and other participants in the value-added system.

What is the Product Market? [Defined]

The term product-market exists only when there are buyers with needs that match the products available that satisfy a need.

The concept of a product market is easy to understand. However, there are some differences in the way in which analysts define the term operationally.

Markets are groups of people who have the ability and willingness to buy something because they have a need for it.

Ability and willingness indicate that there is a demand for a particular product or service. People with needs and wants by the benefits of a product or service.

Product markets match people with needs. Needs that lead to a demand for a product or service. And to the product benefits that satisfy those needs. Unless the product benefits are available, there is no market—only people with needs.

Likewise, people must exist to have a demand for what a given product can do for them. Therefore, a market combines the benefits of a product with market needs.

This leads people to express a demand for that product. The market should be defined in terms of needs substitutability in which similar patterns of benefits our side by groups of customers.

This concept of the product market is very consistent with the function, technology, and segment dimensions discussed. Similar needs determine a customer segment that requires a product to provide a needed function.

All customer needs and the ways of meeting those needs change. By understanding how company-specific offerings are positioned within more general markets.

Marketing management can monitor and evaluate changes in order to determine whether alternative strategies and product offerings are needed.

In defining a product market, it is essential to establish boundaries that contain all relevant product categories competing for the same needs.

Product Market Scope

There are some differences as to how to define it. These problems can be resolved by recognizing that:

  • Terms such as generic, product type, and brand may convey different meetings to analyst
  • The size and scope of markets vary according to how the buyer’s needs and products are specified.

The term generic product market designates a broad group of products that satisfy a general, yet similar need. For example, several types of products can be combined to form a generic product market for home entertainment.

Examples of this would include Google Home Hub, home entertainment systems, TVs, and other products that fall into these general categories.

Note that the term generic is also used in retailing to designate non-branded versions of a specific product like paper towels. A consistent basis of definition can be attained by considering different degrees of specificity in product market scope.

Generic Product Markets

google home hub

The starting point in the product market definition is to determine the particular customer need or want that a group a product satisfies.

The generic market‘s includes all products we’re services that can meet a broad needs such as housing. People with a similar need may not satisfy the need in a similar manner. Therefore, generic product markets are often heterogeneous.

They are composed of different user groups. The generic market consists of a group of product types that satisfy a generic need. Included in the housing generic market are apartments, condos, single-family homes, and other forms of housing.

Product Type

product type product market

This level represents all brands of a particular product type or class such as apartments. The product type is a product category or classification that offers a unique set of benefits and costs. It’s intended to satisfy a customer’s need or want in a specific way.

Thus, two different technologies that satisfy a particular need or want to represent two different market products. Since all the brands in a specific product category may not compete with each other. Therefore, this level often contains user groups with dissimilar needs.

Product Market Variants

Differences in products within a product type may exist. This will be creating subcategories. 

For example, cereal has several product variations, including natural, nutritional, pre-sweetened, and regular cereals. The variance of coffee includes ground, whole bean, and instant coffee. With caffeine and decaffeinated varieties of each.

The product variants are important as a level of analysis, providing there is limited substitution of variance by the end-user. Large, mature markets may contain two or more product variant levels.

Brand Product Market

Various brands that compete on a direct basis for the made brand market. It is often composed of a subset of brands from the same type of product market. However, the brands may come from more than one type or a variant of the product, such as single-family houses, and condominiums.

Since many products and brands offer various benefits that matching different usage situations. A product brand may compete in more than one product market, resulting in overlapping instead of mutually exclusive clusters or niche markets.

Considerations Informing in a Product Market

Three factors may affect the formulation of market segments:

  1. The number of distinct users or application for a specific product
  2. The number of usage situations encountered by each user
  3. The number of alternatives in the user’s consideration set

Product use relates to the functions provided by the product. For example, the iPhone watch performs many functions. this includes things like telling time, answering text messages, measuring your heart rate, among other features.

When there are many uses our applications, many use situations by each user, and many alternatives to be considered. The resulting market structure can become quite complex. At the other end of the spectrum, the task of market definition is more straightforward.

To gain a better view of the task, some of the issues involved in forming market boundaries will be explained below.

Aggregating versus Disaggregating

Should product market definition start with an SBU and attempt to break it down into specific product markets? Or what market structure be developed that considers the application, use cases, and product alternatives?

The third possibility is to start by defining the generic market. And then determining the specific product-market categories that can compete with each other.

It may be appropriate to give consideration to all of these viewpoints. This depends upon the purpose of the product market analysis. Caution should be exercised in assuming that an existing industry classification scheme properly defines product-market boundaries.

Industry base definitions may not sufficiently consider types of needs and alternative ways to meet them. Industry classification typically focuses on product categories such as software then user needs.

However, user groups, government agencies, and other organizations generate a great deal of information about products and markets. These sources should be used in the target market analysis.

Purpose of Your Market Analysis

digital marketing agency

The product market manager or product manager is responsible for the market analysis and pulling together the reports. If you plan on hiring a product manager, a product marketing manager salary can range from $85,000 to $105,000 per year.

Another consideration is the purpose of the market analysis, if marketing management is deciding whether or not to exit from an SBU, primary emphasis may be on financial performance and competitive position.

A detailed analysis of the market structure may not be necessary. Likewise, if the company is trying to find attractive market segments to serve in the market. The depth of analysis may be much greater than for an SBU.

For example, when different products can satisfy the same need, the boundaries should contain all relevant products and brands.

Product market boundaries should be formed in a manner that will be of strategic value to the company. This allows marketing management to capitalize on existing and potential opportunities and to avoid possible threats.

Boundary Shifts

Finally, changes in market boundaries may occur when new technologies become or competitive structures are altered as a result of new product entrants. As products mature and substitutes are developed, the market structure changes.

For example, the major changes that occurred in the taxi delivery service with the entrants of Lyft and Uber. A new service alternative modifies the set of competing firms. Consumers have many new service alternatives that were previously not available because of industry regulations.

Wrap-Up on Product Market

Defining and analyzing your markets is essential to making sound strategic business, marketing decisions, and product marketing strategy.

One of the most important aspects of market definition and analysis is moving beyond a product focus. This is done by incorporating market needs into the analysis view.

Various considerations informing target markets must be defined. By using different levels of aggregation, products and brands are positioned within more aggregate categories.

This included the analysis of customers, product into relationships, industry structure, distribution approaches, and key competitors.

The approach to product-market analysis represented in this post offers a consistent guide.

Analyzing market opportunity include:

  • Defining product markets
  • Developing customer profiles
  • Conducting industry and key competitor analysis
  • Estimating market size

The company should be alert to some potential problems when applying the structured approach. Analysis and interpretation will be difficult if a definition is too broad.

This approach may also encourage a product or supply orientation unless customer needs are the focal point of the definition process. So be careful.

What is your best tip for defining analyzing markets?

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General FAQ’s

What is product-market fit?

Product market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market. Many people interpret product-market fit as creating a so-called minimum viable product that addresses and solves a problem or needs that exists.

How do you define a product market?

The key marketing strategy issue is deciding how to define a market since a market can be defined in many ways. And markets are constantly changing, creating new marketing situations.

Where do you start when analyzing product markets?

It’s essential to perform research before jumping into product markets. Your marketing strategy requires that you clearly define the market structure to identify the buyers to be targeted by the company.

What is the purpose of the product market analysis?

Another consideration is the purpose of the product market analysis, if marketing management is deciding whether or not to exit from an SBU, primary emphasis may be on financial performance and competitive position.

What is a product marketing strategy?

Your product marketing strategy concentrates on increasing your market share and getting existing customers to use more of your product (loyalty). The product marketing strategy focuses on your target marketing and new audiences and communities.

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