Speaking Out of School, or Ansoff to the Races!

I know it’s a balancing act, doing what you have to do and trying to do more of what you really want to do. This reminds me of a marketing tool called the Product-Marketing Growth Matrix. An important side note: this 2 x 2 grid is named for Igor Ansoff, which gives me the freedom to make puns like the one above and to call any related workshop activity an “Ansoff Dance-Off.” I have accepted my fate, of having a last name that doesn’t rhyme with anything. I think he would appreciate my wordplay. I should also note that according to Wikipedia, Ansoff’s nickname was “The Rock” and as you might guess, was a physicist, a mathematician, and a strategy genius. The nickname probably was the giveaway, right?

So the matrix looks at two dimension, a new offering vs. your current offering, and a new market or set of customers vs. your current ones.

The comfort zone, where you are now, is when you keep doing what you’ve been doing for the same people or, in many cases, the same organization (we’re modifying things a little bit here). Igor called this “market penetration.” The opposite end, a different offering for different customers, is called “diversification,” and as you might guess, this is wandering into new territory and is riskiest. You don’t know the customers as well and you might be as familiar with what you are trying to do.

The opposite line is either “product development,” offering something new to the people you know, and “marketing development,” offering what you already do for a new audience.

This question, of doing more of what you already do versus doing something different and/or doing it for a different audience, has come up a few times already this semester in my marketing class (we’re working with a small non-profit) and in my program overall.

Change is hard and scary and can even be expensive and even more, can push away your current customers or clients. But staying in the same place and working with the same people also has its possible risks.

Even if you;re staying put, so to speak, do your research. How long can you make this last? And if you’re ready for a change, know as much as you can about the new direction you’re going to take.

Thanks… your happiness is important to me and that’s why I do this.

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