Having trouble finding a market for your PowerPoint work? Perhaps you’re struggling to find students for your training service, or clients for your design work. Microsoft MVP Tom Howell says you shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet!
When we pitch to clients and run through our portfolio, there are two phrases I often hear:
“I didn’t know PowerPoint could do that,” and “Do you guys do training?”
So while there is a market for PowerPoint, finding it is not easy. In fact, I’d say your product (or service) is only about 30% of your journey. Most of your journey from there is finding and attracting your market. Here are some tips for finding your market:
Work Out Which Lifecycle Phase Your Product/Service Sits In
Is yours a completely new service no one has heard about? Has your product matured to a point that people are only interested in price? Are you at a midpoint of finding niches for multiple services?
Knowing your market phase will help when you start positioning your product/service. If you’re introducing people to a new concept, it’s a different approach than telling people why your product/service is better than the next persons’. If you’re introducing designers to a new concept, do it with a soft approach from an educational perspective.
Any other way and they will become defensive, especially if they feel any part of their profession is under threat. For instance, if you were selling PowerPoint training, a soft approach might look like this:
How to design for the most dreaded program in the world: PowerPoint.
PowerPoint. We all hate it. But if you’ve ever worked on pitches or debriefs, you’ve probably had to grapple with the beast. This guide steps through the similarities and differences between PowerPoint and the Adobe Suite, and there are a lot!
You would need a soft approach here because PowerPoint training for Graphic Designers/Artworkers is in an immature lifecycle. Very few are willing to consider the program without too much coercion. This is the nature of the immature market lifecycle; people need to be told why there is any value in your product/service before they’ll consider it. However, if you were offering Advanced Photoshop training (which is in a mature lifecycle), your pitch would be more towards the specialisms and pricing of your course. For example, you could offer an advanced photo-retouching course with a free toolbox of brushes for 10% less than any other retouching course. These are all valid approaches for a mature market, where consumers purchase based on value and specification.
Create a Competitor Quadrant
I can’t stress this one enough. Creating a competitor quadrant gives you so much clarity, helping you solidify your offering and how you position it. You can also make competitor quadrants in three easy steps:
- Work out your core solution, such as enabling users to produce animated Ads.
- Find out what key levels you want to measure against. This could be a variety of things depending on your approach. For instance, key levels for a mass-market approach include cost and accessibility.
- Plot where your competitors are. All of them. You’ll likely see them start to group in one area, such as higher cost and easier service. Once you do, look for gaps and see if you can fit. Let’s say you’re selling PowerPoint design services, and your biggest competitor is Canva. By plotting them, you could find that Canva has a high learning curve. Your proposition could then be “Easier to use than Canva”. Or you could find Canva costs more, so your proposition could be “Better than Canva without the monthly price-tag.”
If you create a competitor quadrant, you’ll find it much easier to articulate your business proposition.
Identify the Psychographic Attributes of Your Target Group
Once you identify your gap, you can identify the traits of people in your gap and target that group. I say traits because psychographic attributes are more powerful than demographic attributes. A good example of demographics being weaker than psychographics is “fifty” vs “thrifty”. A target group like “Fifty year olds” covers only one age group, but still has to cover different personalities and lifestyles. A target group like “Thrifty people” covers many age-groups, but unifies many diverse people based on their actions, opinions, interests and so on.
If you were selling PowerPoint design services, your target group could be “People who want
to develop low-cost, repeatable animated ads using software they already know.”. This is only an example, and I wouldn’t recommend such a simplified target group. Only you will be able to articulate your target group, based on the market maturity and your position on the competitor quadrant. Once you have an idea of your target group’s psychographic attributes, go looking for them. This is the next big step in promoting your business, and the topic of an entirely different blog post.
Tom Howell runs a small, successful agency which uses PowerPoint to create animations, apps and printed work for dozens of clients.
For the past decade, Tom has been designing innovative, persuasive presentations. As the founder and creative lead of Synapsis Creative, Tom develops solutions that offer clients beautiful, professional graphic design that is delivered in usable, editable PowerPoint documents. From big screen presentations to iPad interactives, animations to printed presentations and reports, Tom works at the cutting edge of presentation design. Tom regularly writes on presentation design on his blog and provides free resources for other Presentation Designers.
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