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Market Analysis

Jo Ellen, The Media Consortium’s Executive Director, approached Catchafire with an idea for a new program that would help the organization diversify revenue sources. To avoid losing money on this venture, she knew it was crucial they conduct a market analysis.

The challenge

The Community Journalism Training Institute (CJTI) is the Media Consortium’s new business idea that will empower individuals to communicate more effectively about their own activism. Jo Ellen’s initial analysis found that the project has potential to be lucrative but having never done a market analysis needs help understanding if the organization is headed in the right direction.


  • Outline the current and future market potential
  • Determine whether or not the cost-benefit analysis is realistic

The match

  • Jo Ellen posts a Market Analysis Project.
  • Justin, a media and technology executive, applies to the project.
  • After a two-way interview call, both parties accept the match.

“I knew that Justin would be perfect. He had an MBA, so I knew he was trained and he had worked in media before. It was important for us to find someone who understands the craziness of a non-revenue rich sector.”
~ Jo Ellen

“One of the reasons that I took the project is that I know that much of independent media Jo Ellen works with aren’t as resourced as other types of organizations yet they are facing the same types of challenges. This project was an opportunity to think about the same issues I think about professionally but in a context where some of the ideas were useful in a social dimension.”
~ Justin

The solution

  • Jo Ellen delivers all available background information on the project
  • Justin and Jo Ellen discuss the CJTI and identify potential customers
  • Justin walks through what the market analysis will look like
  • Justin segments target addressable market based on most relevant factors, i.e. geographic, psychographic, behavioristic, etc and gathers potential customers to interview
  • Justin shares his methodology and plan for interviewing big name organizations such as the American Heart Association
  • Together, Justin and Jo Ellen conduct interviews with potential customers to determine their needs and the market potential of this project
  • Justin and Jo Ellen identify all potential competitors and outline the strengths and weaknesses of all competitors as compared the Media Consortium
  • Together they discuss findings and next steps

The Result

After interviewing potential customers, Jo Ellen and Justin decide that the market wasn’t quite ready for this idea. People understood the need but were not ready to pay an external source to provide them with training services.

“We realized essentially that the market wasn’t ready for the idea yet. We weren’t wrong about the need but about the service that needs to be provided--the customer needs a hand-holding consultant and we can’t make money off of the work of a consultant like that.”
~ Jo Ellen

“This project was a really useful exercise and it saved me a lot of money. If we tried to pay for this outside of Catchafire, I don’t think we could of gotten someone so knowledgeable and eager. Sometimes failure is success. I was glad to learn that this wasn’t the right direction so that we didn’t go down the wrong path. In the end, we came up with another plan for sustainability.”
~ Jo Ellen

“First off, Jo Ellen’s obviously extremely bright and is doing a great job. It was just a pleasure to work with her. We are on different sides of the country so we were on google hangouts at different odd hours but it was fun. I tried to help her with a methodology for thinking about how to do new projects because she’s looking to innovate her business model and figure out ways to offer some additional services that would make The Media Consortium thrive. I’ve continued to keep her in my mind as she continues to work on what she’s doing and I continue to run into the same themes.”
~ Justin

The Impact

Not only did Justin’s help with the market analysis save Jo Ellen from spending precious time and resources on a project that isn’t sustainable, he helped her identify a methodology to apply to future business ideas.

“I have no doubt at all that what I learned during this project is going to be useful to me through my career and through the history of this organization. It made me a better executive director.”
~ Jo Ellen

“I can’t say enough about Justin. He’s a really busy guy and I was overwhelmed by his generosity. When you have a volunteer with that level of expertise that believes in you and wants to give their time, that is beyond valuable, it powers you forward.”
~ Jo Ellen

Justin’s 35 hour project resulted in $7,000 saved for The Media Consortium.

The Organization
The Media Consortium is a network of independent news organizations whose mission is to support and grow the independent news sector. The Media Consortium supports members by offering: an annual meeting where members can network and learn from each other and invited speakers; innovation and incubation labs that provide hands-on learning around new technology and business practices; and cross-promotion via social media feeds and a social media listserv.
The Volunteer
Justin is a media and technology executive currently working as the Director of Membership at NYC Media Lab. He has a background in business development, market validation, commercialization and innovation strategy.