Most of us who work for or own a business are engaged in constant pursuit of one or both of the following two things:
And especially if you are a marketer, the latter often takes precedence because after all that is our job. So as we try to grow the company, we invariably need to think about what customers we want to market to. And that's where I see most marketers make the cardinal mistake (and one I have made myself) of defining the target customer way too broadly. It's our natural inclination. If we have an amazing product that we believe in, we see it being "usable" in all kinds of situations and for all kinds of different industries and people.
A comically narrow audience to maximize growth is counter-intuitive for most people. The thinking usually goes, "the more people that try the product, the better the chance for growth." However, especially in the early days, this has grave consequences that are as far reaching as being able to make or brake a business.
Think about this for a second. Every time you are expanding your target group to another segment, you are making it less specific and less relevant for all the others:
Despite all these problems, you obviously also can't take it to the extreme of niching down so extremely that you end up being relevant to only a handful of companies or customers. And neither can you deny your sales team to have only one customer segment forever. So what do you do?
How do I find a niche that's both not too small — where I'm customizing features to a single client — and not too big — where I'm becoming a wandering generality?
Andy Johns, ex growth manager at Facebook offers advice:
When entering an existing market you must think through two key questions:
(1) Who is the precise customer I am attempting to serve?
(2) What can I offer them that is 10x better relative to the alternatives?
He offers the early days of Tesla as an example:
I also found some great advice from Reforge founder Brian Balfour on the topic:
In his article How to Launch a Product or Feature To Maximize Growth, he outlines the following REPEATABLE process:
Cycling through this loop should lead you to expand into adjacent audiences. You can think about it as layers of concentric circles. Understanding this in order of operations is key.
I have to emphasize the following though: