A market is composed of three major elements: customers, competition, and technology. Customer needs are anticipated and filled through the use of technology by the enterprise and its competitors. A market must have, in addition to customers, competition, and technology, a time frame, geographical reference, scale, and scope. In a market, money, goods, services, and/or information are exchanged.
Markets have evolved over time. In its earliest use, market referred to a place, usually a juncture between roads where people were likely to meet. In time, markets became more specific places for exchange within towns and villages. However, in today's environment markets are no longer always tied to a concrete locale; instead the term has come more to represent a set of conditions. These conditions generally are descriptions for each of the elements mentioned above. Defining a market is not a linear process.
The methodology described in this article assumes that the enterprise has at least a vague sense of direction. It assumes that there is an ongoing purpose and that the enterprise is attempting to make decisions about whether to:
• Stay where they are
• Develop new markets
• Develop new products or services
• Integrate their operations either forward or backward in the supplier-customer value chain