The hills of San Diego and southern California are a bit greener these past few weeks. Recent rains have helped ease some of the drought conditions that have turned roadsides, hillsides, and backyards various shades of dusty brown the past few years.
I find all the green energizing, purifying, as though the area is undergoing a bit of a “fresh start.” All this regional reinvigoration makes me feel like there’s a great big world out there, which got this entrepreneur-for-life thinking about possibility and opportunity.
Thirty years ago, for most business owners, the world wasn’t so big. Unless you had a national company, distributorship, or franchise, you were pretty much relegated to serving a community of region with your business. Then along comes the World Wide Web, circa 1990s, and the size of your potential marketplace expands exponentially. You’re no longer relegated to servicing only Main Street USA, but rather the whole USA . . . and beyond.
Suddenly, you’re not only selling to the folks down the street, but to the folks across the state line, across the country, even across the globe. But should you be? Does the service or product you sell lend itself to delivery over a wide area, or are you (and your customers) better served keeping it local?
The answer, of course, depends on your product or service and your business model. Let’s face it, just because the Web gives you the ability to compete on a grander stage doesn’t mean you should. In theory, all things being equal, through the Web you could reach an audience as large as Amazon’s audience—but are you better off being a big fish in a small pond vs. a small fish in a big pond?
This is an issue many entrepreneurs face these days.
Big Fish Small Pond
When does your potential marketplace become so big that it prevents you from gaining the distinction necessary to stand out?
When Barrel O’Monkeyz first debuted, the world was my potential marketing oyster. I envisioned spreading my brand of digital marketing cheer coast-to-coast. Ambitious, yes, and potentially do-able, but trying to target the world-at-large and stand out from the crowd competing on such a grand stage was not necessarily the most practical approach. It all smacked of biting off more than I could chew—one or two banana bunches too many for this King Monkey!
Only when I narrowed the scope of my marketing sphere to the southern Californian marketplace, was I better able to wrap my brain—and my energies and my digital media strategy—around what would make my business more successful and valuable to clients. In other words, the “world” was too big a starting place. Narrowing my focus actually expanded my opportunities, allowing me to concentrate my marketing efforts and resources in ways and in places that returned results.
I might still tackle the world. I can see Monkeyz franchises coast-to-coast if I close my eyes real hard and dream. But starting there was just too big of a playing field, too ambiguous, for me to be able to provide value to clients and get the most bang for my marketing bucks.
It all gets back to the Marketing 101 steps of defining your target audience and articulating what differentiates you from your competitors.
- Who wants to buy your product or service?
- Where do they get their information to make their buying decisions?
- Where do they live or do business?
- What pain points does your product or service address that members of your target audience can’t get elsewhere?
- What are your competitors up to? What can you offer to potential clients that your competitors cannot?
- What is your value proposition?
Just because you can reach out to the whole world, doesn’t mean you should or that it’s the best thing for your business. Be a big fish in your local pond, a big monkey in your own jungle.
Digital Marketing Success: The 10 Questions You Must Answer
How do you define your service area? How has geography hurt or helped you? How has the reach of the World Wide Web made marketing easier or more challenging?
You can get a start on these and other answers with the Barrel O’Monkeyz “Digital Marketing Success: The 10 Questions You Must Answer” white paper in PDF format available for download at the BOM website.
Paul June is King Monkey of BARREL O'MONKEYZ, a San Diego-based strategic marketing agency specializing in Health and Active Lifestyle markets. We serve as a seasoned, outsourced marketing team for companies looking to ramp up sales and launch new products. Our barrel is full of talent and creative arms ready to prove we don't just monkey around!