Tim Cook, COO Apple
Recently I presented the results of a great project at a townhall meeting to all employees of a client. Interestingly it felt like a déjà vu, because the tagline – focus, focus, focus – was remarkably consistent with some previous projects at other customers.
Especially in high-tech environments we typically see the belief that the more people that are aware of the product, the more will check it out and ultimately pay for it. This would work if the product was suitable for everyone and the company has a marketing budget big enough to reach everybody.
The trick to effective product marketing is to “focus, focus, focus” your efforts on the segments that are the best fit for your product and say “no” to the others. Those segments have the strongest need for your product and the best understanding of the value you offer. By marketing everything to everyone, the risk is that the prospects do not hear from you or when they do, can’t recognize the great fit your product is for them because it appears to be built for “everyone”.
Here are four insights on why you should focus your marketing efforts on specific segments:
- Getting heard is easier in a small room than it is in a stadium – Small companies are at a disadvantage when it comes to visibility in a particular market. The broader that market is, the more resources it will take to be heard above the noise and the more you are going to be head-to-head with the big guys. By specifically targeting smaller markets with a compelling offering, you have the opportunity to become a bigger fish in a smaller pond. So in the case of this customer, we decided to focus on the benefits, the big guys would never achieve like fast time-to-market and leveraging existing investments by adding the missing link.
- Word of mouth works best within communities – The best marketing is the marketing you do not have to pay for. So word of mouth is top of mind for all marketing efforts. Word of mouth travels through communities. If you are focused on everyone, chances are you will get a little word of mouth everywhere but not enough to really register within any particular group. If instead you focus on a particular segment it’s more likely that your story will get heard and shared within that community. Customer examples, references and referral programs are also more effective. People can see that folks just like them (or companies just like them) are using the product in ways similar to how they would.
- Make sure that the same message reaches a prospect at least seven times – Research shows that the human mind needs seven (plus or minus two) approaches to commit to know information. This is not a secret, but more of a habit to repeat the same marketing message and the same product key differentiators even although it seems boring to us. So instead of finding many variations of the message, try to spread a consistent message over as many channels as possible. So, to summarize, I’d suggest nailing down a powerful message and compelling key differentiators that you can believe in and repeat it again and again -- see, I just made this point at least twice in this paragraph. So if the messages and the key differentiators of your offering gets ‘boring’ for then both start to resonate in the customer’s mind.
- Momentum builds on traction – Acquiring customers is hard work when nobody knows who you are, but after a while your efforts to position your offering and yourself will be successful and you will start to be known in a market as customers begin to come to you rather than you having to always pay to get their attention. Get good traction in a particular market and that momentum will accelerate on its own.
As I am writing this blog, I got some emails and calls from the customer, that the momentum of focus, focus, focus reached the company. They are invited to three multi-million dollar pitches just by repeating the new story, the key differentiators and the product messaging at least seven times to a big partner. It made it’s way through the ecosystem of the partner and now we are looking forward to harvest the fruits of focus, focus. focus.