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To Be Successful, Young Companies Should Market Deep, Not Wide!

This is advice I have been giving entrepreneurs for more than thirty years. It's so simple and so obvious (when you step back to look at it objectively), yet missed by so many.  But it's the absolute key to early and sustained success.

From the early stages through the early years, the major challenge most entrepreneurs face is getting customers and driving revenue. Often, the wrong response to this challenge is to try to chase as many revenue sources as possible in the hopes that success can come from one or more of them. I've heard so many small business owners brag about all the possible ways they have for driving revenue. However, the "big miss" here is that for every revenue source you chase, you need to commit marketing resources, whether that be people (social media) or dollars (advertising, emails, etc.), to say nothing of sales resources.  Young companies always have limited resources.  Why wouldn't you concentrate those resources in one area instead of spreading them among many?  Same concept as the laser concentrating power or light at a single point for maximum effect.

Multiple sources of revenue sound like a good hedge because you are never dependent on one source for your success. However, the downside, and often the real roadblock to success, is that your limited resources are diffused, with the possibility that none is effective enough to drive sufficient revenue.

So here are some useful steps for how you can best focus your business on marketing deep versus wide:

Research the market; know where you fit.
It's given that whatever product or service you offer meets a need or solves a problem.  Know where that need or problem is most prevalent and who's trying to address or solve it today.  Are there multiple players?  How deep are their pockets and how well are they serving that market?

Find a niche to own or one you can become first mover.
Based on your answers, find a niche, a soft underbelly that maybe is too small (for the big guys) or too difficult (requires more technology or more service).  If the niche seems big enough (to build your business) and if there is segment of the market that isn't being served because of price or delivery or support requirements, maybe it's one you can own or where you can become  first mover, with a unique offering.

Concentrate your resources, protect and grow. 
Focus all your marketing and sales energies and resources on the niche.  Do whatever you can to continue to grow new customers and serve and protect old ones, better.   As competition enters the market (and it will if you're successful), use your market leader position to better price or package or offerings, even if it means a little less margin as you protect and grow.

Leverage your success to move to adjacent markets.
Start researching adjacent or affiliated markets (e.g., if you're selling into a specialized segment of manufacturing, an adjacent market might be materials planning) where you can potentially use the same marketing/sales channels that have created your initial success.  Research the market the same way you did for your initial market find a niche or segment that's  underserved or badly served and use your market position and your existing channels and resources to attack it.

Marketing deep versus wide means once you've found a market where you are succeeding, find as many ways to attack that market as possible. Concentrate your resources in that market.  And then, and only then, use your success in that market to expand into other markets.  

Marketing deep versus wide is critical, not only for early success, but is a strategy that will keep you focused throughout the life of your business.  While using it doesn't guarantee success, it surely does enhance your prospects.  Focus is never a bad thing!

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things.  He's been there.  May success be with you!

Have you been guilty of marketing wide instead of deep?  Please share your thoughts in your comments.  It can help another entrepreneur.

If you like this post, by all means, share it with your networks and colleagues.

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