In social business, the market is the group of consumers interested in your products, services and social output.
It may consist of a number of smaller groups, or segments, that you need to address separately.
The success of your social business depends on the market’s ability to support it, so it is vital that you understand your market. Without members of the community buying into your offering and generating regular custom, you will lack the funds to pursue your social mission. This is why your products and services should be informed by your market knowledge.
It is important for a social business to distinguish between customers and clients:
Customers, or purchasers, are the individuals who pay for your goods and services.
Clients, or beneficiaries, are those to receive the social product of your business.
What is market research in business?
Research activity which provides information relating to marketing operations.
The term embraces conventional market research as well as motivation studies, advertising effectiveness, packaging effectiveness, logistics, media research and any analysis of internal and external statistics of relevance.
Defining your social business markets
Your social business will likely have a number of markets, including one or more of the following:
- Customers who are also clients and purchase services for themselves. They may use their own money or funds provided to them by other organisations to buy from you.
- Funders who give you money to recruit and serve beneficiaries.
- Customers who pay you to deliver services to their own clients.
- Commercial customers paying full rate, possibly in part persuaded by the fact that some of the profit made will be applied to pro bono work for beneficiaries that you select.
Describe all of the markets you intend to operate in and how you intend to engage with them. At this stage you don't need a full-blown marketing plan, but you should provide evidence that your markets are capable of supporting your enterprise in the long term.