Perhaps the most common issue I see among all kinds of businesses, from startups to large, established firms, is a lack of focus in their marketing. This generally takes the form of what I call taking too broad a brush to the market — throwing broad, scattershot strategies at the market in the hopes that some of it will stick, instead of pinpointing the most lucrative opportunities and then choosing the right applications — the right brush, if you will — to get the most of out those opportunities.
The scattershot approach is often to blame when a company is generating insufficient revenue, or generating revenue only in certain segments, but the company's marketing efforts are spread so thin that it's impossible to really understand why some segments are thriving and others are flatlining. When we see signs of this going on, first we take a detailed look at how the company views its market. Then we focus on exactly where and how the product is being utilized in the more successful segments. Is that segment applying the product toward the same purpose that the company designed it for? Is there an untapped opportunity in marketing the product differently, in accord with how these segments are using it?
This information enables the company to throw its full marketing resources into the most successful segments — an especially critical ability for small companies that have to watch their marketing budgets. It also gives them a better understanding of the dead spots, including the effects of geography, pricing, customer demographics or other factors that affect how (or whether) you should sell to those weaker segments. Once you start applying your marketing with a fine-point brush, you stand a much better chance of creating a masterpiece.