An act or instance of selecting; an alternative.
Like many words, the word choice has roots in Old French, specifically the verb choisir, which actually means to perceive. I've always had a tough time with choice. I vividly remember when I was about 5 years old, my mother offered me a whole candy bar...the holy grail of kid-dom. I just had to choose which one I wanted. Milky Way or 3 Muskateers? I weighed the options in my head, but couldn't decide. I took so long I got the threat of neither. I'm sure I did choose, but I remember to this day how choosing one of them meant giving up the other. I just couldn't give up the other.
Fast-forward to the real-world candy store. Yes, it's the world of making things and selling them. It's the world we're all in every day because we need to make a living. If only our choices were as black and white as my candy bar example. I find trade-offs especially challenging in B2B marketing.
If my mother had been particularly wise on that day (instead of worn out as I'm guessing - hence the bribe), she might taught me a lesson I've had to learn the hard way in business. She would have offered to split the candy bars and given me some of each. I would have jumped on it immediately! The best of both worlds! Ah, but alas, it's a cruel world. She would have given me a bit of each, but the bits would not been a half of each so the two parts would have been less than the whole I could have had if I had made a tough choice.
Here's the point. It's so tempting for us to sell to anyone who wants to buy what we offer. We perform market studies and, low and behold, there's a lot of opportunity in segments we don't yet serve. So we build it into our strategic plans to go after those segments...and the next one...and the next one. Before we know it, we're targeting ALL the segments. That's our focus...EVERYTHING. And guess what happens when try to be all things to all people? Our image is watered down, our message is hazy, and our differentiated advantage vanishes into thin air. We're left with good sales (not great) spread out over lots of places. Overall market share might not be bad, but it seems stuck in the mud. Then we wonder...what if we'd stayed concentrated on a few key segments? Would big share and margins in those segments add up today to more than "fair" share and margins in lots of segments? Could we have had a whole candy bar? Possibly. Maybe even probably.
So, the next time you consider how hard (and how much money to spend) to pursue an account, line of business, industry segment or even country....just stop and think about the candy bar choice. Going after something different while holding on to what you have is really hard...but maybe you could pull it off. Or, maybe you'll decide to go deeper into the business you know best. What do you perceive? It's clear that choices aren't easy. But making the right ones can be very sweet.
Chew on that for a few minutes,