There is a fine line to walk when it comes to positioning your company within its market. When your segment focus is too broad, you risk wasting marketing budget. Feeling too “general”, your branding and imaging will not appeal strongly enough. On the other hand (disregarding genuinely specialist products), too narrow of a focus can endanger the brand’s opportunities for natural growth beyond the original audience.
Having worked on marketing a startup originally focused tightly on the college-student segment, I’ve seen how important market focus really is. Early on, it absolutely made sense to keep our aim as tight as possible on this single demographic. All branding, marketing, and design were engineered with this customer in mind. However, we routinely ran into an interesting problem. Customers outside of our intended demographic were interested, but felt that the product wasn’t for them based on our branding and marketing. In essence, if the product was more “them” they would be more likely to use it. We had a bad case of too much focus.
It is surprisingly easy to turn a non-specialty product into a specialty product simply by serving it up in the wrong way. There is an art to developing a brand that addresses the correct audience without alienating “peripheral demographics”. The trick to successfully accomplishing this is to constantly evaluate your current buyers and compare them to your interested prospects and other interested parties. Make sure that your marketing language, images, and strategies are defined to a level that prevents you from ‘pigeon-holing’ your product. I truly believe that too tight of a focus can stifle genuine organic growth.