Marketing is About What You Are NOT

I have been lucky enough to work with companies large and small. Each does have unique challenges depending on market size, industry, and business life cycle. However, no matter the size of the company, it seems everyone struggles with many of the same problems. For instance, every company has to develop something worth talking about before prospects and customers will tell others about it.

One principle which is true no matter the size is that marketing is as much about what you are NOT as it is about what you ARE. No matter the size of the company, it seems everyone struggles with focus. This became apparent again during a recent workshop I conducted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for senior marketing executives at Pfizer, Abbott, and Phillip Morris. No matter what industry you in, the natural inclination is to cast a wide net. The prevailing thought is that if you focus your efforts, you risk alienating a portion of the market. In fact, the opposite is true in marketing. The more you narrow your focus, the more you broaden your appeal – because you mean something.

This means there is more power in being the company that specializes in software for the education market rather than the general market. There is more power in being the legal firm that specializes in IRS tax issues than the firm that does everything. There is more power in being a marketing firm that specializes in digital marketing rather than being a “full service” agency. It gives your employees a direction and your passionate customers something to tell their friends.

When you sit down as a team (or possibly a team of one) to create your marketing plan, don’t just determine what you are, decide what you are not. This takes discipline, self-awareness, and the slaughtering of a few sacred cows. However, especially when you are introducing a new product, division, or company, focus becomes critical to staking your claim and establishing a brand.

What DON’T you do?


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