Death by Distribution: Will You Tempt it?


Don't put your advertising everywhere.More often than not, people are relentlessly trying to distribute their products and services. Some people even go so far as to using spam and spreading junk mail all over the place – many of which end up dying. Furthermore many small business and website owners don’t know when they’re crossing the line in terms of distributing their advertising, products and services. This can lead to people associating negative thoughts with your brand depending on where you choose to promote it and sell your products. So, where do you fit in the picture?

What is distribution?

Distribution and Marketing go hand-in-handDistribution in the marketing world is an interesting term. It refers to the extent of your company’s reach, in terms of where you choose to promote your business, where people can buy your stuff from and even where your brand can be seen. Most business owners aim to up their distribution but often, they are unjustified in doing so. It’s a common belief that increasing your distribution can lead to more sales but like anything there comes a point where it becomes arduous for entrepreneurs to manage such a large-scale brand distribution. Do you follow?

I’ll give you an example – Say for a moment that you’re juggling 2 balls. When you increase it to three balls you need to put more concentration into following where those balls are going and if they are landing into your hands. When you add a fourth, you might be able to reach more customers, but you may not be able to deliver the ball to your hand in the right way. You are so focused on one ball that you totally ignore the other ball.

The same goes for managing your marketing and brand distribution – the more channels you use and people to please, the harder it is to deliver a consistent message to your most profitable target market.

Google-Like Consumer Brains

Another thing you need to take into account is a nice little theory we like to call “proximity influenced perception”. Yeah I know, ‘blah blah’, more marketing jargon. What this refers to is, that people make meaning from things which are close together. Much the same way in which search engines rank pages. Any SEO guru out there like Cristian or Yaro, will know that if you send enough of a certain type of text-link to a page on the internet, they will get Google-bombed and turn up in search results under bogus key terms. Our brains work in a similar way, in that if we see something close to another thing regularly, we associate them together. So if you continually see rave reviews about a local restaurant from established sources, you will begin to associate that restaurant with high quality.

My Advice

1. Don’t be everything to everyone
If you try and target everyone your brand will lose value. For instance, if you are a clothing designer and you want to target everyone then you might be scratching your head wondering why your most profitable target market of teens don’t find your brand ‘cool’ when they see ‘grannies’ wear it around.

2. Find out what your best assets are and how you can use them to become more attractive to your target market.
If you’re good at making shoes but you’re unable to market something – why do it yourself? Furthermore, if you’re a marketer and you want to start up a shoe business then you’ve been studying the wrong degree for a few years. You don’t go to your local Subway to buy website designs, nor should you offer something completely random and out of the picture from your brand unless it’s warranted.

3. Develop and convey a consistent and appropriate identity.
If you want to sell the most prestigious and classy tea cups in your country, then convey an identity which projects the image of a prestigious brand, like Mercedes. Do you ever see the homeless zipping around in a brand new SLK? Well, you only want to have the most prestigious people in town, using your tea cups. To do that you’ll also need your marketing to tell those people in a way which appeals to them.

4. Don’t risk de-valuing your brand through greater distribution if you don’t need to.
Avoid spamming at all costs and have a second thought about whether advertising your adult shop outside a kindergarten is appropriate. Spam at your own peril, your consumers are just more intelligent forms of Pavlov’s Dogs – build up a habit of spam and they’ll see all your marketing as spam.

5. Follow your goals.
Like with anything, goals give you directions and can guide you along a path to achieving them. If I go for a run without a goal in mind, what will I do? What is my purpose? I am not going to achieve anything if I don’t have a goal to achieve. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have a clear path to take. So, if your goal is to penetrate “X market by Y percent before Z” then you’ll have a clear path to take to achieve that goal. If you haven’t done so before, try setting some simple goals in your calendar – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Use this article as precautionary advice to the immense power of distribution in conveying your brand’s value to your customers. I understand if you don’t ‘get it’ at first but I know it’ll click when you see it happen in your own purchasing behaviour. As per usual, feel free to ask me anything or leave a comment below.

Best Regards,
Robert Kingston.

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  1. Speaking of Google bombing, I (or anyone else) can rank a blank page (0 bytes), or any other page on the internet (no matter it’s contents), for any term I want, if I add enough links towards it.

  2. Thats funny…

    I wonder what search engines will use next? It almost looks as if they’re modeling consumer brains – and often times it works!

    People too, can be made to believe that an object is actually worth something if you associate it with other things which are valuable. Have you ever wondered why premium services are called ‘Gold Class’?

  3. Have you ever wondered why premium services are called ‘Gold Class’?

    or why the MasterCard Gold is called MasterCard Gold ?

    It didn’t offered me nothing else, but beeing golden. When I asked the dude that made it for me, what offers me other than the standard MasterCard, he said:


    Go figure.

  4. “Don’t be everything to everyone.”

    Amen to that! The term “niche” is a huge marketing buzzword at the moment for good reason. If ya don’t find your niche, you won’t find any success.

    Brad Williamson

  5. Hey Brad,

    I couldn’t agree with you more about “niches” and not being everything to everyone. When you find a niche that you operate extremely well in that is the ultimate.


  6. Absolutely guys… The same thing happens in biology, if you have two species of plant living in close proximity and sharing the same resources to each other – one will eventually have to die out.

    Therefore if you’re in a saturated market you’ll have difficulty finding a niche. So the only way to go about creating the perception that you’re different is by using a tactic we call positioning. And one of its tools just happens to be distribution.

  7. Rob, one other technique to consider in a saturated market is to re-define your category. This eliminates all competition. Mind you, you have to re-structure your operation to accommodate the new category, but given the advantages it is worth it.

    An example I love to use refers to a large pawn broker in the States who after doing research trying to discover what differentiates him from the other pawn brokers discovered that his is the least sleazy of all the rest. Of course this wasn’t a great solution, so…

    …he re-categorized himself as a clearing house. Now he is the only clearing house in the market, (no competition), the public had no negative stigma associated with clearing houses and so he increased his market share substantially.

    I’ve used re-categorizing recently with private club branding. The result reinvirgorated the members, by eliminating some negative perceptions that dogged and frustrated them for years. Now they are restructuring to accommodate the new category.

  8. Good idea, Ed. I didn’t think of that one.

  9. “Don’t be everything to everyone.”

    Yes yes yes.
    Niche marketing is everything.

  10. Niche marketing is the basis of the internet commerce.