In a quick, supplementary comment to Seth Godin’s blog posting “Not a Trick Question,” there’s a great little exercise we did the first day of Product and Brand Management in b-school that breaks down your target market based on frequency of purchase. So let’s say you sell soda. You have consumers who drink it every day, a few times a week, a few times a month, a few times a year and never.
Unless you either have a fantastic product or you created a monopoly, the vast majority of your possible market lies in the never used category, and the smallest count lies usually in the most frequent users. What does that then mean? You don’t want your more frequent users to buy one more can of soda, because they have the smallest number of people available to boost volume.
In this instance, it’s not a trick question. You get non-users to buy one can of your soda, and your volume sales sky rocket. But will you convert them into loyal consumers?
As Seth said:
The advantage of mass is that it’s big. The advantage of the devoted is that they are paying attention and have a desire to spend.
Most times, it’s not obvious which one to pick. But you need to pick.