Market Development Strategy: Unleashing Growth in New Markets

market development strategy

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the quest for growth is constant. Companies, both small and large, are constantly seeking new avenues to expand their reach and increase their revenue. Market development strategy is one such avenue that has gained significant attention.

What is a Market Development Strategy?

A market development strategy is a strategic approach adopted by businesses to expand their existing products or services into new markets. It involves identifying and targeting untapped customer segments or geographical areas to increase sales and revenue. This strategy leverages a company’s existing offerings and capabilities to reach new customers and create fresh revenue streams.

Types of Market Development Strategy

  1. Geographic Expansion: This strategy involves entering new geographical markets, either within the same country or internationally. Companies may choose to expand regionally, nationally, or globally, depending on their resources and goals. Geographic expansion often requires adapting products or services to suit the preferences and needs of the new market.
  2. Demographic Expansion: Demographic expansion focuses on reaching new customer segments based on factors such as age, gender, income level, or other demographic characteristics. This approach may involve tailoring marketing messages and product features to appeal to a specific group of customers.
  3. Product Diversification: In this approach, companies introduce new variations or extensions of their existing products or services to target different market segments. For example, a skincare company might diversify by launching a line of products specifically for sensitive skin, thereby appealing to a broader audience.
  4. Distribution Channel Expansion: Expanding distribution channels involves making products or services available through new channels. For example, a company that previously sold its products exclusively through physical stores might explore online sales, e-commerce platforms, or partnerships with third-party retailers.

The Four Market Growth Strategies

Market development strategy is one of the four primary market growth strategies, along with market penetration, product development, and diversification.

  1. Market Penetration: Market penetration focuses on increasing sales of existing products in existing markets. Companies may achieve this by attracting more customers, encouraging current customers to buy more, or raising prices. This strategy is relatively low-risk as it leverages existing products and markets.
  2. Market Development (which we are discussing in this article): Market development, as mentioned earlier, involves introducing existing products or services to new markets. This strategy seeks to tap into unexplored opportunities by expanding the customer base.
  3. Product Development: Product development strategy entails creating new products or enhancing existing ones to cater to current markets. Companies invest in research and development to meet evolving customer needs or preferences.
  4. Diversification: Diversification is the most ambitious of the four strategies, involving both new products and new markets. Companies explore entirely unfamiliar territories, often with higher risks, but also potentially higher rewards.

Market Development Strategy in Marketing

Effective marketing plays a pivotal role in the success of a market development strategy. Here are key aspects to consider:

  1. Market Research: Thorough market research is vital to identify potential new markets. This includes understanding the target audience’s needs, preferences, and purchasing behavior.
  2. Segmentation and Targeting: Divide the new market into distinct segments and identify the most attractive ones. Tailor marketing efforts to meet the specific needs of each segment.
  3. Positioning: Define a unique value proposition for the new market to differentiate your products or services from competitors.
  4. Marketing Mix: Adjust the marketing mix (product, price, promotion, and place) to align with the new market’s requirements. This may involve modifying product features, pricing strategies, advertising channels, and distribution methods.

Market Development Process

The market development process typically follows a series of structured steps:

  1. Market Analysis: Conduct a comprehensive analysis of potential new markets, considering factors like demographics, competition, regulations, and market trends.
  2. Segmentation: Divide the new market into distinct segments based on characteristics like age, income, location, and buying behavior.
  3. Target Selection: Choose the most promising market segments to target based on their growth potential and alignment with your company’s capabilities.
  4. Product/Service Adaptation: Modify your existing products or services as necessary to meet the unique needs and preferences of the selected market segments.
  5. Marketing and Promotion: Develop marketing strategies and promotional campaigns tailored to each target segment. This might include online and offline advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, and more.
  6. Distribution and Sales: Establish distribution channels and sales networks in the new market. This may involve partnerships, alliances, or setting up physical locations.
  7. Monitoring and Evaluation: Continuously monitor the performance of your market development strategy using key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales growth, market share, and customer feedback. Make adjustments as needed.

Market Development Strategy Advantages

  1. Revenue Growth: Market development allows companies to tap into new revenue streams, increasing overall sales and profitability.
  2. Risk Diversification: Expanding into new markets spreads business risk. A decline in one market can potentially be balanced out by expansion in another.
  3. Utilizes Existing Resources: Market development leverages existing products, infrastructure, and expertise, minimizing the need for extensive resource allocation.
  4. Brand Visibility: Entering new markets enhances brand visibility and reputation, potentially bolstering the company’s image.

Market Development Strategy Disadvantages

  1. Risk and Uncertainty: Venturing into unfamiliar markets can be risky, with potential challenges related to cultural differences, regulatory issues, and market dynamics.
  2. Resource Intensive: Market development can require substantial investments in marketing, distribution, and product adaptation.
  3. Cannibalization: Expanding into new markets may inadvertently cannibalize sales in existing markets, especially if the new market targets a similar customer base.
  4. Competitive Pressure: Entering new markets often means competing with established players, requiring intense competition and marketing efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is market development strategy suitable for all businesses?

Market development can be a viable strategy for many businesses, but its suitability depends on factors like market conditions, resources, and competitive landscape. It may not be suitable for businesses with limited resources or those in highly niche markets.

What are some examples of successful market development strategies?

Examples include Apple’s expansion into China, Starbucks’ global expansion, and Airbnb’s entry into new international markets.

How do I identify the right market for development?

Market research is crucial for identifying suitable markets. Analyze factors like market size, growth potential, competition, and alignment with your products or services.

What are the key challenges in market development?

Challenges include cultural differences, regulatory hurdles, understanding local customer preferences, and establishing effective distribution channels.

How long does it take to see results from a market development strategy?

The timeline for results can vary widely depending on the market, industry, and strategy. It may take several months to a few years to realize significant growth.


Market development strategy represents a powerful approach to achieving growth by expanding into new markets. It enables companies to leverage their existing strengths and offerings while tapping into fresh revenue streams. However, it is not without challenges and risks, and careful planning and execution are essential for success. By understanding the types, processes, advantages, and disadvantages of market development strategy, businesses can make informed decisions to drive their growth agendas forward in an ever-evolving business landscape.