Local Focus for Growth

Sometimes we forget that the most powerful actions we can take to get customers are in person and local.

To be everywhere is to be nowhere.     — Seneca

Leap Challenge for this week:

  • How are you taking advantage of your local connections and communities to get customers for your new business?
  • How hyperfocused and hyperlocal are you in your marketing or sales efforts?

I was recently reminded that to get a business going with initial traction requires being hyperfocused and hyperlocal. The funny thing was that the reminder came in the form of me teaching my own lesson plan to my Berkeley class. That was a bittersweet experience to say the least – since I could have used that insight on the traction I’m trying to get for the game I’ve helped create. I’m grateful that I can hear myself and learn from the lesson plan I created – every time I teach I learn more by just listening to myself while I’m in the flow of making a difference for my students.

Being hyperfocused and hyperlocal is entirely counterintuitive. So much so, even marketers forget…

The idea is to get customers who will generate some referrals to other customers. The easiest way for that to happen is for your customers to be able to ‘run’ into each other. That means they travel in the same circles – they actually communicate with each other.

While it’s quite possible in the B2B world to do that by focusing on a very well-defined segment that sees each other at user group meetings and conferences, it’s not so easily done in the B2C market.

Digital also needs local

On top of that, lots of digital startups make the assumption that their target is defined by the internet, and not by anything local. That maybe true, but it likely falls into the same quagmire as any other B2C – people need to ‘bump’ into each other to pass the word. (The alternative in the online world is forums or other group discussion platforms – sometimes those are competitors and the situation gets tricky.)

So, we’re left with actually starting up with much of the same focus as a local business – getting the word out person by person or local group by local group. Then doing what it takes to make that word spread as rapidly as possible. Let’s not forget that this is how Facebook got its traction.

Win the market one piece at a time

So avoid the very common and very deep pitfall of going after too broad a segment of the market – better to focus too small and win it all piece by piece than fritter away time and resource and never make a dent.