David Greiner talks about focusing on a small core market [a Getting Real excerpt] 37signals 29 Mar 2006

14 comments Latest by Dave O'Brien

David Greiner, founder of Campaign Monitor, on why narrowing your market is better than trying to please everyone.

The decision to aim Campaign Monitor strictly at the web design market was the best call we ever made. It allowed us to easily identify which features would be genuinely useful and, more importantly, which features to leave out. Not only have we attracted more customers by targeting a smaller group of people, these customers all have similar needs which makes our job much easier. There are loads of features in Campaign Monitor that would be useless to anyone but a web designer.

Focusing on a core market also makes it much easier to spread the word about your software. Now that we have a tightly defined audience, we can advertise where they frequent online, publish articles they might find interesting, and generally build a community around our product.

[This is an excerpt from Getting Real, the new book from 37signals on the smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web app.]

14 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Andrew Donaldson 29 Mar 06

I’m sure Simon Pegg said something similar about comedy…

Frank Bongers 29 Mar 06

That’s a perfect attitude — finding “niche” markets and filling their needs is something that is long overdue. Too many people have been focusing on “do right for everyone”, while their is market enough in a smaller and more focused user group. With Fuud.com, we are currently doing the same thing for the music business market, by creating several small apps that get rid of tedious tasks and problems musician’s and promoter’s experience every day. So far it seems to have hit a soft spot with many fellow musicians, as we have experienced a grateful welcome from them :) It’s a great time to be small and think big!

erwin blom 29 Mar 06

By the way, how many books have you sold sofar?

Tomas 29 Mar 06

Spaced is a Comedy that has a very small but focused and loyal following. Just in reply to the Simon Peig reference.

MH 29 Mar 06

> problems musician�s and promoter�s experience every day

May I introduce you to my new product, Apostrophe-Away (Small business edition)? ;-)

Frank Bongers 29 Mar 06

@MH — you “got” me there … :)

jonnie 29 Mar 06

I agree,

We are doing well because we specialiase on the Australian osCommerce Market.

I am actually surprised i can’t find more information on the net regarding niche businesses. There is some, but not to the quantity it should be.

I wonder how niche a business can become. Any examples out there?

Cheshire Dave 30 Mar 06

I would like to add that Campaign Monitor is not only very good at what it does, but the customer service is also top-notch: smart, friendly, helpful, and diligent. They really seem to embody the “do one thing, do it well” ethos.

Dean 30 Mar 06

When is the hard copy coming out? I just can’t read a whole book on screen, and I’m sure a lot of people haven’t bought for that reason.

Matt Lee 30 Mar 06


Print it :)

I’ve been reading mine in the pub.

F. Jason 30 Mar 06

Campaign Monitor is an essential solution for web masters. But there are some more products out there which fills more needs and even quite successful. For example, oemPro (www.octeth.com) or 12all (www.activecampaign.com) are two downloadable PHP based email marketing softwares and quite good even they try to fit all needs. So, what is the best way?

Matt Johnson 30 Mar 06

Niche markets are all over the place. You just have to look for where the customer is experiencing “pain” in a given process. It is usually in an area that the bigger firms/companies have overlooked as being too small of a market or to specialized a feature in their software. We identified a niche market in doing compensation consulting work. We developed a solution that does one thing very well (and simply). I love the book. I keep it on my desk and read it when I need some inspiration. Great work!

Hubris Sonic 30 Mar 06

How about left handed Alpaca shears? but how to do I Ajax it?

Dave O'Brien 04 Apr 06

Target a niche market - this is a basic conclusion of Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm”, a seminal (and delightfully short) book on developing high-tech products. Highly recommended.