Market share is a key to profitability, but before we can get there let’s discuss mind share. The debate over my comment about career stages: that the first job is for money, then the next for fame, then influence and finally for joy, continues. I am so happy that I sparked this discussion! There is no hard and fast rule to this – but it does depend on where you are on Maslow’s hierarchy. If you’ve moved past the “survive” phase then you have far more flexibility in what you can do.
What about fame?
Some readers wrote in to ask whether their work would not speak for itself. Growing up we may have had notions of “modesty” and “humility’ drilled into our heads. One of my mentors even told me that when I won an award or recognition, I should have someone else share it on Facebook or LinkedIn, not do it myself. Those norms have now been superseded by the art of the humble-brag. So much so that David Brooks has written a lovely article on how to do it and why “I am humbled” is the new “I am proud”.
But I digress.
If you’d like to be a bit more famous here’s a great article on a GTM strategy for yourself.
Why do you need fame?
The recommended route for brands is mind share -> market share -> profit share. People cannot buy a brand that they don’t know exists. Hence the importance of mind share. Market share is key to profitability but we need to work on mindshare to get to market share.
In B2B we also have a phrase called “solus win” which is where we are the only brand under consideration. Again, it is a function of mindshare. You don’t have to be Alia Bhat or Billie Eilish or Dove soap level famous. LinkedIn famous or Sebamed-post-banned-campaign level will also do.
So how much fame is enough?
That depends on your target market. If you can define your success to be built on a small audience then you just need to have mindshare within this group. This is why brands and companies often start with a niche market and then expand. You just have to be famous in your chosen audience – whether that be IT companies or all-people-with-sensitive-
In the pre DIY-there’s-an-app-for-that days the marketing department at Infosys had an “office boy”. I know, I know, sounds cringe. Anyway, he was very enthusiastic and was constantly – and noisily – on the move, a very busy person indeed. He became famous as a very busy person and, one lucky day, was rewarded for his industriousness with the magical ESOPs!
Which leads me to the consequence of fame – market share!
If you have a lot of mindshare, then people will be inclined to give you a try. In the B2C world this can be achieved through celebrity endorsements, in the B2B world through testimonials, and in the individual case by references. If you’ve wondered why the crypto industry spends so much on visibility, there’s your answer. For example, when Ankur Warikoo, in return for Rs 4.7 Lakhs talks up Vauld on his YouTube channel at least a tiny percentage of his million mindshare will buy into it. More on him in a tiny bit.
As an individual you might say that why do I need marketshare when I just need one job. Fair enough, but more demand for a scarce resource generally pushes up the price for that resource! And if you are an entrepreneur of any sort marketshare is definitely a great thing to have, because, like Ankur, you can monetise it into profitshare!
Market share converts to profit share
In many industries there are top 3 players and they control a disproportionate share of the profits. They use these profits to further fund the growth of mindshare and the cycle repeats. Why does this happen? If you are the best known brand and enjoy the largest marketshare you tend to have more leeway and clout in pricing than the wannabes.
If there is more demand for your product or service or you than you can supply then you can inch up the price a little bit.
Of course the cycle is not infinite – the customer has a tipping point and there can be a competitor that comes in and beats you at your own game. That’s why business is so exciting, no?
Business by Design
As my UI disaster with Indigo Airlines shows design can help make or break the customer experience. It can also determine profitability and longevity of a brand. Ease of use, agility – in the digital world these are easy to measure, compare and improve. I’ve been thinking of launching a podcast for a while but have been stuck with the fear of a new media that does not count on the written word. So I am clutching to my co-host, Vaishnavi Reddy, who is way more of a multi-media thinker as we start recording our podcast series.
I really want this podcast to be a fun take on business and not a dry and boring discussion with no soul. Something that you’d want to listen to liven up a boring team meeting (shhh! I won’t tell) or an endless wait for the cab-that-always-cancels.
We recorded the first one yesterday with the oh-so-sweet-and-magical Nakul Shenoy who is a communication scientist, a design consultant with multiple patents, a user researcher and a mentalist. He is currently Director – User Experience at Clear (erstwhile ClearTax), and head enterprise design.
While we work on the launch of this podcast, I’d love for you to listen to the Mrigashira podcast where Charu Raizada discusses liberalisation babies and why teens wear sweaters in summer with me.
The Weekend Is Here!
Yay! I’m off on a tiny holiday to a little island but will be back next week with a list of 25 books on marketing that India’s top marketers recommend that founders read.