Conventional wisdom would say that in order to maximize sales, you need to appeal to the widest audience possible. Anything less would mean lost potential sales. As marketers, we know that appealing to the masses is often a terrible strategy and leads to bland unoriginal products and advertising that doesn’t really say anything compelling.
What we say “no” to is just as (if not more) important as what we decide to include in our product offering.
Whole Foods is not for everyone. They’re fairly expensive and do not carry many of the brand name staples you’d find at your typical grocery store. They choose not to sell a lot of things. And by choosing to sell only natural and organic products they alienate a lot of potential customers. However, by doing that, they also gain loyal devoted fans, who are willing to pay a premium for the items they do offer.
Disney became one of the world’s most valued and profitable brands because they stand for family entertainment. They can’t stray from that ideal without damaging their brand. In fact, they even created a separate company, Touchstone Pictures, to release movies with more mature themes because they knew they couldn’t release them under the Disney brand.
Twitter allows users to only post 140 character messages. Vine only allows 6-second video clips. Instagram only allows people to post images from their mobile phone. Rather than being limiting, these constraints actually make these services more useful because it simplifies the offering and clarifies the purpose.
What are the lines your business won’t cross? What is non-negotiable? What will you say “no” to?