One of the fundamental things that every marketing professional learns early on is the importance of targeting an audience with your content. In addition, trying to be everything to all people rarely leads to results due to competition increases and individual expectations. After all, it’s hard to justify a brand if it doesn’t connect with you.
However, something that doesn’t get talked about nearly as much is when the opposite situation happens, and you get too specific. For example, if you target a very distinct niche of customers, you may grab their attention, but you also may be building your company on a flimsy foundation. If something happens to lower that pool of customers or competition appears, suddenly, you may not have enough conversions to sustain your business.
Figuring out how to manage this is a tough balancing act for many marketers, but it’s also time well spent. Here are some of the elements you need to consider when deciding on a narrow or broad marketing focus.
Narrow Marketing: Pros and Cons
Narrow marketing primarily uses the idea of “being the best to a certain audience” and takes it to the next level. Essentially, all of your marketing content is going to be tailored to a particular niche. For example, if you are an educational software provider, you’re going to try and choose a subset of education to try and reach out. Do you expect your target audience to be mainly teachers? Administrators? Students? Parents? A narrow marketing focus would generally take 1 or 2 of these options and focus on those. If people from other niches get on board, that’s great, but more of a bonus.
The main pro of a narrow marketing focus is that you’re much more likely to get qualified leads and results this way. By putting out more specific content/marketing material, the people who end up reacting to it likely already have either deeper ties or a greater understanding of the niche you want to service. Following up on our previous example, if you were trying to market educational software to teachers and focus a lot of your messaging on teaching-related issues, that audience knows you understand their needs. A focus like this builds authority for your company and increases your opportunity for conversions.
An additional benefit of going narrow that may not be widely known is that, in some ways, it can be easier to put together materials. By comparison, working on broad marketing requires you to draw on information for a variety of different customer segments, which can be difficult if you don’t have the experience.
With narrow marketing, you can focus all of your data collection and research on one particular customer niche. Know them inside-and-out, and you’ll be able to put together the marketing materials that interest them.
The major drawback of using narrow marketing, though, is that you’re going to see fewer results overall. Fewer results make sense, considering that your targeted marketing, by nature, isn’t going to be addressing some of these other niches and customer segments. The major issue here, though, is that if your marketing misses the mark with that segment, you have nothing to fall back on. The margin for error is far smaller with narrow marketing.
Broad Marketing: Pros and Cons
Alternatively, broad marketing casts a wide net when it comes to putting together materials. As mentioned before, you can’t be all things to all people. However, you can market a product or service on traits that have as broad an appeal as possible. Good examples of this include competitive pricing and ease of use.
Let’s revisit that educational software example. The niches of administrators, teachers, students, and parents may all want different things out of their software. Therefore, a broad marketing approach might focus on things like pricing or the number of options within the software suite. These are traits all four categories will find appealing.
The major benefit of using a broad marketing focus is its ability to provide an abundance of results. Giving something for multiple customer segments to latch on to means that even if you don’t reach everyone in that segment, you’re likely to have more interest and impressions overall. Multiple impressions are important for companies in the starting stage that need to build a large customer base at first. In time, that base will likely whittle down to a few major customers, but you’ll want to have as large a pool as possible to start your foundation for selling.
Another advantage of the broad strategy is that it may provide insight into new marketing demographics for your business that you don’t currently know. This approach is often common for pieces of hardware, where you may be targeting one customer segment, but an entirely unrelated one finds it useful for a purpose. The ability to unintentionally stumble on a new audience is an appealing draw for any marketer.
The major issue with broad marketing, though, is that no matter how powerful your message is, you’re only going to get a fraction of those interested customers to convert. As they go through the sales funnel, customers might be interested in your competition or realize that your product/service isn’t exactly what they need. With a narrower campaign, customers that enter the funnel are more likely to convert.
Focus On Viability And Need
So, with all of this said, how should you approach deciding whether to go narrow or broad? In some cases, it may be a case of using both. Many marketing strategies for new campaigns will intentionally go broader at first. An approach like this is often used when launching a new product because it can provide pivotal information to gauge interest in your campaign. In some cases, going broad and then very narrow may be able to provide interest from customers outside of your primary audience. For example, an initial email blast can be a great way to apply this approach.
If you need to get customer attention and continue to work on persuasion, a more detailed and tailored message to drive that persuasion will be required. For example, if you plan on using content marketing to drive conversions, you want to focus on material that’s tailored to a more specific niche. Trying to go broader here will lead to weaker results because your topics have likely already been covered.
It’s important to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of “winner vs. loser” when it comes to making a decision on a narrow or broad marketing focus. Also, based on your budget and resources, one may be more viable than the other. The best way to decide on your focus is to have a well-thought-out plan when it comes to your desired objectives and how to reach them.
If you find that your marketing plan, broad or narrow, isn’t giving the results you want, you may want to consider outside help with a skilled marketing agency, like Glint Advertising. By taking a look at your current goals and marketing plans, we can help you determine if a narrow or broad focus is best for your needs. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or, better yet, give us a call at 817-616-0320 to get some additional insights.
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