Market research

David Wheeler got into business in order to ease his anger about his father’s murder and in an attempt to see justice done. A computer database expert, he designed a program that would sift through crime reports in an effort to link and pinpoint criminals. The first trial of the product connected several seemingly unrelated crimes and located a suspect. In 1991, Wheeler formed InfoGlide, Inc., to sell this software program to law enforcement agencies throughout the country. While the agencies found it a valuable tool and indeed used it to investigate successfully a number of crimes, as government agencies, few could afford it. Wheeler had a product that just didn’t have a market. In 1996, after struggling for several years to attract venture capitalists, InfoGlide reexamined all possible and potential markets. It discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars a year were lost because of insurance frauds— frauds that could be linked with Wheeler’s software just as police cases were. InfoGlide immediately retargeted its product and revamped its marketing plan, and by 1998 had raised $ 5 million in venture capital. Today, the company has 38 employees and is worth $ 100 million.

  1. In selecting a new target market, InfoGlide would have had to adjust all parts of the marketing plan as well. What changes could you envision in the product, the price, the promotion strategy, and the distribution?
  2. Can you identify other markets that could benefit from the basic concept of Wheeler’s software? What changes might need to be made for these markets?
  3. Researchers call this process transmigration, changing a company so it can enter a peripheral or related industry. Select a firm you know and brainstorm several transmigrations it could make.

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