What is SOM (Serviceable Obtainable Market)?

A Guide to Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM)

Within the realm of market analysis resides the Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM), a concept that helps businesses refine their target market and estimate their achievable market share. This guide delves into the essence of SOM, exploring its definition, relationship to SAM (Serviceable Available Market), key characteristics, and practical applications. By understanding SOM, you gain valuable insights for identifying your most attainable customer segments and developing targeted strategies to capture a realistic portion of the market.

What is Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM)?

Imagine taking a slice (SAM) from the entire market pie (TAM) and further refining it to identify the most attainable portion you can realistically capture within a specific timeframe. That's the essence of SOM. It represents the achievable market share within the Serviceable Available Market (SAM), considering factors like:

  • Competitive landscape: The specific strengths and weaknesses of your competitors within the SAM.
  • Marketing and sales capabilities: Your company's resources and expertise in reaching and converting potential customers.
  • Short-term goals and objectives: Your focus on capturing a specific market share within a defined timeframe.

Key characteristics of SOM:

  • Focuses on short-term achievability: Represents the most attainable portion of the SAM within a specific timeframe.
  • Considers competitive landscape: Takes into account the presence and strategies of competitors within the SAM.
  • Informs tactical execution: Guides short-term marketing, sales, and product development decisions.

Understanding the Relationship Between SAM and SOM

Think of SAM as a broader market segment within the TAM that you can realistically reach. SOM, on the other hand, is a more specific and refined portion of the SAM that you can capture within a defined timeframe based on your unique capabilities and competitive landscape.

Here's an analogy: Imagine you're a baker selling cupcakes at a local market. The TAM represents the entire market for cupcakes in your city. The SAM might be the segment of health-conscious individuals who frequent the market. Finally, the SOM could be the portion of those health-conscious individuals who are most likely to be enticed by your specific cupcake recipe and pricing.

How to calulcate SOM?

While there's no single formula for calculating SOM, a common approach involves:

  1. Identifying your SAM: Estimate the Serviceable Available Market using the methods explained in the previous SAM article.
  2. Evaluating your competitive landscape: Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors within the SAM.
  3. Assessing your marketing and sales capabilities: Consider your resources, budget, and expertise in reaching and converting potential customers.
  4. Defining your short-term goals: Determine the specific market share you aim to capture within a defined timeframe.


Building on the cupcake example, let's say your market research suggests the SAM for health-conscious cupcake consumers in your city is $100,000 annually. However, upon further analysis, you discover a strong competitor targeting a similar audience. Considering your limited marketing budget, you estimate you can realistically capture 20% of the remaining market share within the next year. This translates to an SOM of:

SOM = (SAM - Competitor Share) x Your Achievable ShareSOM = ($100,000 - $20,000) x 20%SOM = $80,000 x 20%SOM = $16,000

Note: This is a simplified example, and real-world calculations may involve additional factors and considerations.

Why is SOM Important?

Understanding SOM offers valuable insights for businesses by:

  • Identifying your most attainable market segments: Helps pinpoint the specific customer groups within the SAM that you are most likely to convert and retain.
  • Setting targeted goals: Enables you to set realistic and achievable sales and market share targets based on your SOM.
  • Developing focused strategies: Guides marketing, sales, and product development strategies tailored to reach and convert customers within your SOM.
  • Evaluating marketing and sales effectiveness: Allows you to measure your progress against your defined SOM and evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies in capturing your target market.
  • Prioritizing resource allocation: Helps allocate resources (marketing budget, sales force) efficiently to focus on the most promising customer segments within the SOM.

Expanding the SOM Landscape

The concept of SOM is not static and evolves alongside the business landscape. Here are some additional considerations and future trends to keep in mind:

  • Market dynamics: The SOM can fluctuate over time due to various factors like changes in consumer preferences, competitor activities, and economic conditions. Regularly monitoring and adapting your SOM based on market dynamics is crucial.
  • Data-driven insights: Utilizing customer data, market research, and competitor analysis can refine your understanding of the SOM and identify emerging opportunities within your target market segments.
  • Future of SOM analysis: The future of SOM analysis is expected to see:
  • Focus on customer lifetime value: Considering not only the market size but also the lifetime value of customers within the SOM to optimize resource allocation and customer acquisition strategies.
  • Integration with marketing automation: Leveraging marketing automation tools to personalize communication and engagement with customers within the SOM, improving conversion rates and customer retention.
  • Evolving considerations: Incorporating factors like changing consumer behavior, the rise of new technologies, and global economic trends into SOM analysis for a more comprehensive understanding of your target market.

By understanding these considerations and staying informed about future trends, businesses can leverage SOM analysis to its full potential and make informed decisions that maximize their reach and impact within their most attainable market segments.

Conclusion: SOM - A Focused Approach to Market Capture

In conclusion, SOM serves as a powerful tool for businesses seeking to refine their market focus and capture a realistic share of the market. By understanding the definition, characteristics, relationship to SAM, and practical applications of SOM, you gain valuable insights for:

  • Identifying your most attainable customer segments and setting targeted goals.
  • Developing focused strategies to reach and convert customers within your SOM.
  • Allocating resources effectively and evaluating your marketing and sales effectiveness.
  • Adapting to market dynamics and staying ahead of the competition.
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