Markets for publishing: criteria

In the previous post, I was exploring the starting point for establishing an imprint. I concluded that the initial step was to identify a market that was amenable to the kinds of marketing a micro-business could realistically aspire to do. So the question is, what characterises such a market?

Three qualities. First, the market has to be identifiable. That is, one has to be able to demarcate the market – in particular, by saying who the target customers and giving a description of them.

Second, the market has to be locatable. That is, one has to be able to say not only what kinds of people constitute the market, but also where they are to be found.

Third, the market has to be either contiguous or at least networked. If the market is to be found in one place, that’s where you and your marketing go. Whereas if, as is more likely, it is scattered, that potentially creates a problem in that marketing becomes more complicated and less efficient – unless the market, though scattered, is well networked, in which case one can use the networks to overcome the scatteredness, as it were.

These criteria – identifiability, locatability, and (let’s call it) ‘unscatteredness’ – provide a set of structural criteria for selecting a market. Set out like this, they might sound rather arid. But we found that because we had only such criteria – and were not wedded to a subject area – this gave us the freedom to range widely over potential markets. Which is fun.

Next time I’ll try to show the criteria in operation – how in practice they serve to highlight some potential markets and rule others out of bounds.


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