Marketing Focus - What You MUST Know

"I had NO how important it was to focus on a niche market. Sure, I read about it a lot, but it just never made sense or sunk in. Since reading your book, I have dramatically narrowed the focus on my marketing and just as you said - seen tremendous results. My sales doubled within 45 days!" 
Clare DeLeon 
Gift and Garden 

Online Course: Lesson Three

First, just what is marketing focus and why is it critically important to your small business marketing success? Well... let's figure that out.

First, it’s a no-brainer.... businesses usually sell more than one product or offer more than one service, and your business is probably no exception.

For example, a bakery might sell breads, muffins, bagels, pastries, coffees, juices, and donuts... whatever; they can also sell catering services, custom birthday cakes, wedding cakes, cookie bouquets... you get the idea. (Another example would be a small business consultant. Their services can range from seminars, one-on-one consulting, accounting and marketing plan assistance, to tax assistance… just about anything they can think of to generate profitable revenue.)

From a business standpoint, selling lots of things works – but from a marketing standpoint, it can be a huge problem. If you confuse what you are marketing with what you are selling... it’s going to cost you!

Yea, I thought that was a crazy statement too, until I understood, first hand I might add, the true power of a tight marketing focus (a niche).

So, the first rule of really effective, good marketing, is limiting your marketing focus. Why?

Because the more specific you are about what you market, the more clearly you can define your target market – and THAT is the first key to marketing success -- total marketing focus!

It’s key because it dramatically increases the number of prospects that respond to your marketing.

Now, I agree (because I have been there, done that)... it feels completely counter-productive to define a narrow marketing focus! WHY on earth would anyone think that NOT marketing everything someone might possibly want or need, could be a better way to market? What is it about a tight marketing focus that could possibly make it a better - in fact, the best - way to market?

It works because psychologically, the more specific the message, the better the chance it will noticed by the prospect who needs to, wants to, and is ready to, buy from you – and that is the whole point of marketing – to get them to buy from you... to close the sell.

One VERY important clarification here... limiting what you market (or limiting your marketing focus) does NOT mean limiting what you sell– it simply means that you carefully select which products or services will be the focus of your marketing (but you continue to sell all those things that are profitable).

I found that the following “Top 10 List” drives this point home. I recommend that you take five minutes and memorize the list now. Being able to recall this list comes in handy when you find yourself in danger of being sucked back into old patterns and old ways of thinking.

For me personally, I like to picture David Letterman reading the list – the visual and audio seem to help make it seem that much more important.

(Drum roll please...)

The Top 10 Reasons to Carefully Select Your Marketing Focus

10. Lack of clarity confuses prospects

9. Too much information confuses prospects

8. Prospects have little time – grabbing their attention quickly is imperative!

7. Lack of focus creates marketing inefficiencies (in time and money)

6. All services and products are not equally profitable (and why market something that isn’t profitable?!)

5. Just because you CAN (market) doesn’t mean you should

4. Today’s prospects want the quality that only specialists can deliver

3. Generic messages fall on deaf ears!

2. Generic messages fall on deaf ears!!

1. Generic messages fall on deaf ears!!!

So maybe I went overboard repeating the last three, and certainly David Letterman wouldn’t make such a move, but I’m trying to make a really important point here. It’s the marketing equivalent to the real-estate mantra "location, location, location".... only in marketing, it’s not about location, it’s about getting the prospect to hear the message... and focusing works because psychologically, the more specific the message marketing (say it with me now...) "the better the chance that it will be noticed by the prospect who needs to, wants to, and is ready to - buy from you!" And isn’t the whole point of marketing -- to sell?

Okay... so you get the point and buy into the theory, but when you really sit down to figure it out and you have to select which of your great products and/or services to focus on, it feels impossible. Again – been there, done that. In fact, I’ve been there, done that with literally thousands of small businesses. From that experience, I have discovered that there are several very specific questions you can ask that will help, literally, "drive out the answer" for you and identify what products and services should be the focus of your marketing.

1) What products and services do you sell? And what are you considering adding in the near future?

2) Which of these products or services does your marketing focus on now? Which ones do you like doing/making/selling? (After all, it makes no sense to marketing for business you don't enjoy delivering!)

3) Now review your lists -- what do they have in common? Which direction does this point you in?

4) How does this stack up against any marketing research you have done? What is the market demand for those specific products or services? How saturated is the market (meaning, how many competitors would you have focusing on those specific items?

Finally, take a look at the answer to all of these simple questions. Sure, it is not an exact science, but it really helps you determine which products or services should be the focus of your marketing.

Exercises and Examples for Determining Your Marketing Focus