It's not often that a company finds success outside of its intended target market. But that seems to be what is happening with the makers of Slingbox.

If you're a TV junkie like me you likely have a TiVo. But it's the real junkies that have a Slingbox sitting right on top of the TiVo box.

If you have not heard of Slingbox, here is the quick rundown. Its a unit that connects to your TV, cable box, satellite receiver and/or TiVo so you can both control and watch your programs through the Internet. I bought my Slingbox because when I travel I hate being limited in what I watch. If I'm gone for several days my TiVo programs pile up while I'm stuck watching whatever gets piped into the Hotel room, commercials and all. My Slingbox lets me tap into my TiVo at home so I can watch my recorded programs. I am SlingBox's target audience. But recently SlingMedia, the makers of Slingbox, found something interesting. Between 35 and 45 percent of Slingbox users don't use it away from home.

What? If they are not using their Slingbox to connect to their TVs via the Internet from the road, how are they using them?

The answer to that question has provided Slingbox with a whole new marketing demographic they didn't know existed. When fully tapped, this opens the doors to far more Slingbox sales than they had ever anticipated.

Okay, enough suspense. These 35-45 percent of Slingbox users are actually connecting to their TVs from within their own homes. In essence, Slingbox has become a portable TV.

But I already knew this because I'm also one of the 34-45 percent! I got my Slingbox for traveling. But since I don't travel I thought I would not get many opportunities to actually use my Slingbox. Not so. Instead of letting my Slingbox sit idle I now use it to watch TV in other parts of the house, the hot tub, or even sitting outside on a warm summer night. OK, I have not done that last one yet but I certainly plan to once we stop getting our traditional April snow showers. Actually, my primary use is in the bedroom. My wife will watch her TV and I'll be there next to her watching my TV via laptop via Slingbox.

But the potential here for Slingbox is incredible. It's currently being marketed to people who travel extensively. That's a pretty limited audience. With this realization Sling Media can develop a whole new marketing campaign to target an audience that doesn't travel but simply wants to watch TV wherever they are in their house.

So here is something to think about: If you're already reaching your target audience, perhaps there is another audience out there that you don't know about and are just waiting to be introduced to your product or service. If you can find that new audience, go after them fast!

April 19, 2007

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

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