I’m Just Not That Into You: Exclusivity or Bad Marketing?
28 Aug 2019

I’m Just Not That Into You: Exclusivity or Bad Marketing?

Traditional Product Adoption vs. Targeting the Masses

Apple, Google, and many large tech brands have decided that the traditional product adoption curve is outdated and that the best bet is to target straight to the masses. Further, these large brands have the money to market to the general population. In addition, advertising to the masses allows them to beat the competitors in the adoption of their product. However, should your brand stick with exclusivity or target the general population?

In some cases this mass adoption works, such as in the case of Apple’s iPhone. However, in other scenarios, it becomes an epic fail, such as Google Glass. Above all, the product fell short due to the lack of clarity on why the product existed. Moreover, the general population did not need any of the functions that the glasses provided. However, warehouse workers and surgeons found the technology behind Google Glass beneficial to their jobs. For instance, warehouse workers could easily see and access information about a package by merely looking at a container with the glasses on. Similarly, doctors, when operating, can be better informed by wearing the glasses. This product is now marketed to niche audiences and it has a better chance of survival. 

Niche Targeting

Several brands target a niche audience. For example, a backpack company may target hiker enthusiasts or an expensive shoe brand will communicate to women who live in an area with an average household income of $200K+. Many of these brands fear that broadening their target audience will isolate their core audience and ultimately, hurt brand equity. The exclusive feeling that the brand portrays may dwindle if promoted to everyone. 

How to Expand Targeting

For example, brands such as Ralph Lauren, BMW, and W Hotels have sub-brands or different models with lower price points to generate additional sales. However, does this methodology hurt the parent brand? If a brand wants to abandon exclusivity and expand its target audience and start targeting the general population, here are the key questions to ask:

  • Who is your current audience?  
  • How does this audience differ from the new target in regards to demographics, psychographics, and media habits?
  • Where is it acceptable for your brand to be distributed?  
  • Are there new retailers in which you are looking to sell? How does this differ from your current distribution method? Is this retailer acceptable to your core target? 
  • What price is seen as too inexpensive that the product’s core audience will begin to question the quality? What pricing is acceptable for a broader audience to pay?
  • Will you sell a different product line to this new market?

Market research such as surveys, focus groups, and secondary research are essential to help find the answers to these crucial questions. So, the risk is too high not to research before making such a critical business decision. Maybe it’s time to consider exclusivity or targeting the general population. 

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