Jose asks, "I’ve also like many others decided to get into marketing to change their lives and others. After 15 years in the landscape industry, I have noticed that there is a lot of potentials to help many companies in this Industry. My questions are. Do you have any experience with this industry? Do you think it is a good place to start? Thank you for any advice you could give."
Any industry has marketing needs. I honestly can’t think of a single industry where there isn’t some kind of marketing need. The question is, is there enough demand to be successful? If an industry was super-niche, that could be a problem, but landscaping certainly isn’t niche.
I’ve no personal experience in it besides being a homeowner, but the basic principles of marketing still apply.
Understanding the Industry
First, you have to determine what the general business model of your intended customers is. Are you direct to consumer, selling to the individual homeowner? Are you B2B, selling to landscaping businesses? Are you something really complex like B2B2C where you sell to a consumer through a distributor? Do you work with governmental organizations like towns and cities?
Understanding the Market
Once you understand the basic business model you’re marketing against, follow the standard basics for understanding the – pun intended – landscape of the industry. Pull out classic models like the 4 Ps, Porter’s 5 Forces, SWOT and PESTLE analyses, etc. and do your research. Determine where the gaps are in the market you’re competing in. Perform Sequoia’s TAM/SAM/SOM assessment. This is the most essential research, so take your time and understand your market’s complexities.
Understanding the Audience
After you’ve assessed the overall marketing landscape in the industry, do a deep dive into what the customer needs are. Spend time in places like the landscaping subreddit or the landscaping forum on Quora to understand what’s on people’s minds. Dig into social media conversations and search data to identify key topics of concern. Perhaps even take some time in the market and talk to potential customers, not to solicit business but just to understand what their key problems are.
Putting it All Together
Once you’ve done all three assessments thoroughly, you should have a clear idea of what the major problems in your market are, who has solutions and how satisfactory those solutions are, and what the opportunities are in the market. Don’t shortchange them! Spend at least 40-60 hours on each set of research so that you really, really understand the industry top to bottom.
You may find that a market is incredibly mature – while there’s always work to be had, some markets are harder to get started in than others. You won’t know until you invest the time and effort in the research.
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