In Prep for SBIR: What is TM?

  • September 21st, 2020

Are you getting ready to prepare your SBIR/STTR proposal? If so here’s some quick guidance on what you may want to be conscious of and address in your proposal. Taking this into consideration may help to strengthen your application.

Total Market (TM) is a new way of looking at a company’s addressable market. While TAM, SAM, and SOM take into account market segments of interest given certain factors, TM takes a more accurate and personalized look at a company’s most valuable and most attainable market segments. The TM approach also recognizes the need to apply different marketing tactics to different segments of your available customer base. A large focus on this is cross-cultural marketing. In a global economy, it is important to not alienate market segments by only marketing to one culture. This may mean developing a regional approach to your ad campaign. Your customers in northern Michigan are likely to be quite different culturally than your customers in Southern California. Know your audience and tailor your approach to the local culture.

TM is also a more collaborative process that involves the input of the entire team and more in-depth customer discovery. The larger corporations we are all familiar with do Total Market advertising well, think soda, and fast food conglomerates for example. Market research has led to the conclusion that small businesses can increase their success in converting prospects to customers using the same methodology.

How is this important for SBIR?

Often an overlooked component of SBIR proposals is the marketing and commercialization section. SBIR reviewers are looking for more than just a great invention. Applications are judged in part on how likely the business is to commercialize its product following Phase II activities and generate revenue. Improving your understanding of how to capture the greatest market share and by demonstrating your knowledge in your proposals, can gain you a competitive advantage over other applicants and increase your chances of winning an award.

SBIR deadlines approach quickly, so the time to educate yourself on commercialization, customer discovery, market segments, and revenue forecasting is before you apply. If you think a proposal is in your future, do yourself a favor and research these important topics.


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