Why Five is Greater than 50,000

Have you noticed the rules of the marketing game have changed recently? It used to be the broader the appeal of your product meant the greater number of customers you could attract. It also used to be true that the more people you were talking to the better the chances were that you would sell them your product. That was during the television age of mass communications. But today, we’re living in the computer age which means it’s a whole different ballgame.

For those of you not lucky enough to work in the TV age, we were able to harness massive televised networks and get our “message” out there quickly. Then, it was more about who could grab the most number of people’s attention and pull them in with our creative brand marketing campaigns while attempting to prove relevance within an entire marketplace. Big budgets, big markets. Boy I miss those days!

Today, on the other hand, and here’s where the big change is, it’s about marketing a product that is narrowly cast that meets the needs of an exclusive number of business buyers’ or consumers’ needs. So instead of a mass market approach today’s messages are (or should be) targeted to a highly-defined purchaser. The narrower the better.

The new marketing game is built on highly-focused product design that is congruent with thinly sliced vertical niches. Curiously, there are exceptions. Such as when one product is radically focused but appeals to many different types of people in many different markets—but that’s the exception to the rule.

Which brings us to the point of why five is greater than 50,000. To stay in business you need customers, not just interested parties. As a result, it’s far more valuable to have five customers who purchase your products with great regularity and are strong advocates for your brand, versus marketing to 50,000 different types of potential customers but not actually gaining the attention of any. Not too difficult to figure out which company is going to stay in business.
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Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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  • Melissa Sienicki

    A very interesting read. Would you say that this also falls into the matter of potential customers coming to businesses versus us now going to them and cultivating relationships?

    Thank you for a great article!

  • Maggie Young

    This concept is similar to the idea of giving away Starbucks cards to get people to connect with you on your website or social media. Sure, you may get volume, but who says these people are qualified to buy?