In my view there are two types of businesses: those that sell to everyone (or almost everyone), and those that sell to someone. Your business, whether in B2B or B2C, is either aiming to sell to a lot of people, or only a handful. Either mass market, or niche market. In my view this is one of the most important marketing strategy questions to consider. Sell to many, or sell to few. The strategic impact of the size of your potential market on your marketing boils down to these two concepts: attract, or find.

If your offering has a large market, your marketing strategy should primarily be to attract some of those buyers to come to you. There is already a steady stream of prospects flowing in the proverbial customer river, and you just need to make sure you can convince some of them to come to you.

Alternatively your strategy should be to find customers. The number of potential customers are small; spread out and hard to find. In this case there is no river flowing, rather just loose standing puddles of water hidden amongst the savannah. You need to go and find these.

Mass market, or niche market. Attract, or find.

Typically in a consumer focused business (B2C) you find many potential customers and your marketing strategy should thus be to attract. For example, launching a new cereal means you need to get yourself listed by a retailer (not such an easy task by itself) and then stand out on shelf. By simply doing this you will see sales. On the contrary, if you are selling mill liners in the mining industry you should prepare a shortlist of potential customers that you’ll actively target.

Of course, whichever strategy you follow needs to be properly executed. If the job is to attract, then your marketing and sales engine needs to be geared towards standing out in a crowded market and crowds of potential customers. If the job is to find, then you need to build a marketing engine that can effectively scan the market and find a needle in a haystack. Your marketing is almost a mining operation, trying to find a diamond amongst tons of dirt.

The effectiveness of your business growth strategy depends on the type of marketing job you need to do, and whether you have adequately put in place the right tools for the job. Build the right type of marketing – sales engine.

Are you trying to attract business, or find business? The answer will determine how you do marketing!