Chapter 4. Expanding Your Business By Narrowing Your Focus

Companies of all stripes make the mistake of assuming that narrow is the same thing as small; that if you're focused in one area, you somehow limit your growth potential.

While seemingly logical, this is simply not true. Starbucks is narrow—coffee—but it certainly isn't small. Intel is narrow—mostly microchips—but ranks as a Fortune 500 company. In professional services, some of the largest firms are some of the most focused. For example, while most other advertising agencies attempt to position themselves as "full service," a firm called Zimmerman headquartered in Orlando, Florida, is focused on the retail category. The firm calls its specialization "brandtailing," which it defines as the combination of strong expertise in both branding and retailing. As far as ad agencies go, this is a pretty "narrow" focus. But the result is anything but small. With billings of around $2.5 billion, Zimmerman employs several thousand people.

Table 4.1. Narrow Is Not Small

Marketing Communications Firm

Focus

U.S. Revenue

Acxiom

Direct marketing

$632,000,000

Razorfish

Digital marketing

$317,000,000

Carlson Marketing

Promotional marketing

$172,000,000

CommonHealth

Healthcare marketing

$141,000,000

InterBrand

Branding & identity

$120,000,000

iCrossing

Search marketing

$79,000,000

Dieste

Hispanic marketing

$45,000,000

Table 4.1 shows some other examples from the world of marketing firms.

Of the top 25 advertising agencies in America, more than 60% are specialist firms, ...

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