Revisiting The Law of Raspberry Jam

Again and again, I’m drawn back to Gerald Weinberg’s The Law of Raspberry Jam.

The more you spread it, the thinner it is.

As indie consultants & freelancers, the law of raspberry jam is one that we violate at our peril. Think about the essential marketing items that you need in place to market your business, grow, and generate leads:

  • A narrow, specific target market for your positioning
  • An expensive problem that you solve for your clients
  • An ideal client that you’re trying to get in touch with
  • Specific marketing channels you’re consistently using to reach your target market

If you spread any of these out, your marketing starts to get… thin. Would you want:

  • A broad target market? (e.g., small business positioning
  • A not-so-pressing problem to solve for your clients?
  • Just a fuzzy idea of who your ideal client might be?
  • A new marketing channel each month (or week)?

The more you spread your marketing, the thinner your marketing gets.

But, you can always identify where your marketing is thinner than you want it to be and define a plan to improve (

That is to say, if you have a broad, ill-defined target market, you can look at your past clients and identify the best. You can then update your positioning (e.g., target market, tagline) to focus on this narrow, more specific target market.

Likewise, if you’re suffering from a general, vague idea of who your ideal client is, you can take the time to think through the attributes (e.g., market, maturity) and qualities (e.g., friendly, pays invoices on time) of your ideal client. You can then update your screening/application process to help you better identify who is a fit and who isn’t before you start working together.