Depth vs. Width – Don’t go for the Mile Wide Trap?

If your companies sales have stalled after a period of rapid growth, you may have fallen into The Mile Wide Trap.

Jane (not her real name) runs a public relations firm. After studying marketing at school Jane went to work at a big advertising agency and over ten years learnt a lot of marketing disciplines, including public relations, advertising, direct marketing and social media.

Jane was ambitious and decided to start her own public relations firm. Her knowledge and network allowed her to quick gain a blue chip account handling their regional dealer events. Hiring some employees the start-up agency quickly began to grow. The events were a great success, so the client asked her to handle the annual sales conference. Again this was delivered with style and creativity.

Impressed by Jane’s approach to the event, the client asked her to handle some of the creative for their next advertising campaign. Jane now had a problem, her company was in PR, not advertising, but this was a great client, so she agreed to help out with the ads.

Then the client asked her to take a look at their website. Jane’s employees had no experience with web design, but Jane had done some website jobs back at the ad agency. So not wanting to disappoint the client, Jane started to personally handle projects that her employees didn’t have the ability to execute.

Jane didn’t worry about new business development for her because the more the client asked Jane to do, the busier – and more profitable – the business became.

Then one day Jane looked at her monthly P&L statement and realized that, for the first time, their sales were flat. The next month it happened again and then again. Jane had run out of hours in the day to sell – she had inadvertently fallen into The Mile Wide Trap.

The Mile Wide Trap
The Mile Wide Trap is dangerous when you do an excellent job serving