You know, the process of developing a product that has potential mass appeal, yet that is different enough to stand out among the competition, is a hard thing. It’s a target that every business is aiming for, but many can’t seem to hit. It’s also a big part of the reason that 9 out of 10 small businesses in America fail. So, let’s dig in to it today, shall we?
First, a brief exercise: Describe your target market. I’ll give you a minute. If you don’t need a minute, that’s a red flag. If your first thought was “25-35 year old parents” or “small to medium sized businesses”, you’re probably in too wide a market. Also, you’ve got way too large a field of competition. Let me elaborate.
The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
There are a bajillion other companies out there, and most of them target large markets. There’s a hugely lucrative opportunity in a market that is populated by 90% of the globe. But, let me ask you a question. How different are the people within that market. Think about how many ways that 25-35 year-old parents can be different. It’s really tough to market a “unique” product to a group of people who, on the whole, have very little in common. It difficult to do mostly because it’s difficult to achieve that uniqueness in your product. You see, a product that appeals to many is very generic, and therefore those other bajillion companies are probably doing the same thing you are. The more unique your product, the more you must alienate your potential market and shrink it.
Sometimes it might be better to build a product for the few instead of for the masses. After all, you can always expand your market later.
Here’s some great input on how you should go about deciding who your target market is. It’s offered by Dharmesh Shah, founder and CTO of HubSpot, so there’s probably a little truth to what he’s saying.