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How Do We Build Market Share? Market Share Manifesto Q&A

market share

Last week, we held The Market Share Manifesto Webinar and Bret Starr answered some of your questions about building market share. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here. Bret took some time to answer any questions we missed due to time constraints. If you have more questions, email us and we’ll get back to you ASAP (

Q: How would you adjust your principles for the SMB market vs. the enterprise market, if at all?

When it comes to market share strategy, I would not adjust my principles. Just keep in mind that the SMB market is likely to be even more fragmented, so the opportunity and necessity to pursue a market share strategy is even more important. Profit strategies are fine up until the point that a market segment matures. Then people come looking for your market share. One way or another, you’re either going to benefit from dominant market share or you’re going to be consolidated.

Q: What is a good way to approach execs about social media — they do not seem to understand how useful it can be for the company … they are scared because they do not know how to use it or understand it. They have started to create the pages, however, they are being so controlling over what is to be posted that the sites are simply sitting there with no content, which does not look good at all.

The best way to approach executives about anything is with confidence and by putting your job on the line. If you believe it, fight for it. Bet your career on it. Remember, if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing. All the research data in the world is not going to convince a fraidy-cat to take a risk on social media. They have to take a risk on you, not the medium. If you’re not comfortable with that, you either don’t really believe it works yourself or you’re not willing to lose your job to prove the point. Either way, you’re not building the job of your dreams.

Q: What is currently the single most effective medium for building a TM brand today?

Social media represents the biggest opportunity because it has the most market reach and is underutilized by nearly everyone. You have to spend money (you can’t do it all for free using organic methods) but it’s worth every penny. See the recent article about the correlation between brand recognition and purchase intent by Twitter, for example.

Q: What can a startup in the TM space with a very limited budget do to build brand?

Get budget. Without budget, all you can do is pursue leads and deals the old-fashioned way. That’s fine for running a profitable business. But if you want to play the market share game, you can’t. “Startup” implies something … it implies that you are on a fast-growth trajectory. You simply cannot do that without funding. So if you are truly a “startup” and not just a new business, you may be in the phase when you are acquiring your first few clients to build your cred so you can go raise money. If that’s the case, you’re not ready to focus on brand. You should be winning deals out of your network. No budget, no brand.

Q: How can we keep an eye on market share even when there’s profit-strategy pressure? What do we say to senior leaders?

This is an existential issue. You cannot pursue a market share strategy and a profit strategy at the same time. It’s one or the other. Companies that truly care about profit are less concerned with growth than companies who truly care about market share. As Cozy Carlisle said in Dead Again, “Someone is either a smoker or a nonsmoker. There’s no in-between. The trick is to find out which one you are, and be that. If you’re a nonsmoker, you’ll know.” So instead of thinking about what to say to senior leaders, think about what to ask. Find out if they care more about profit or growth. And if the answer is “both,” tell them to call me.

Q: How soon do we establish metrics for measuring our market share impact? What changes should we be looking for?

The moment you decide that you have a market share goal is the moment you should start measuring brand recognition, functional association, and brand attributes. You only need to measure market share if an analyst in your space is not measuring it (by the way … they are not always the most accurate). Measure what you care about.