Herbert Bayard Swope was the Editor of New York World. In 1917, he won the first ever Pulitzer Prize for Reporting, an award he won three times in his illustrious career. He is famously attributed with the quote:
“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: Try to please everybody.”
Are you offering everything to everyone? Are you finding it hard to define your target audience and their needs? Are you struggling to get your customers to choose you over your competitors? If this sounds familiar, you may need to rethink your strategy and focus on positioning your expertise.
Speaking from personal experience, our branding agency failed many times in the past by trying to offer too many services to too many people. Eight years ago, we offered everything from various branding services, to design, photography, videography, social media management and (way too many) more. As you can imagine, this plan sailed straight into a cliff and we had to let many great people go.
What were we thinking? I’m not sure haha… We were trying to provide everything our customers wanted.
Eventually we realized that we couldn't have the whole world as our audience and decided to focus on two things: brand strategy and identity design, and only target startups. By doing so, we have evolved into startup community experts for brand building activities, both strategic and visual.
Now with offering two services for a niche audience, it’s much simpler to explain our company and offerings and tell others about ourselves. “We are experts in aligning teams, building a strong foundation for startups, so you can have a successful launch”.. DONE (makes sense right?)
This story teaches us that positioning is crucial for success. Positioning is about choosing the market niche where you fit best and how you represent yourself inside that market segment. To start, you need to identify the market niche where your services are needed. You can do this through research and by understanding your customers' pain points and needs.
Let’s quickly talk about the difference between niching vs positioning:
Niching is the exercise of choosing what market is right for your business; Positioning is how you present your company and your message to win the hearts and minds of the target audience, eliminating competition in the process.
Positioning starts with creating several fictional potential customers (“personas”) and figuring out how you can make their lives better with your product or service. The more unique you are, the less competition you will have.
Focusing on just one or two services will bring clarity to your market positioning, helping your customers make the right decision to choose you over your competitors. Remember that most customers don't have much time and will not read your entire about us page or landing page. Therefore, you need to be clear, simple, and efficient in what you do, why you do it, and who it is for. Over time, you will discover that the better you become at delivering on your highly-focused offerings, the more you will build your expertise and reputation, you will occupy a position of authority, and you will provide greater value to customers, allowing you to charge higher prices for the value you provide.
In conclusion, positioning your expertise is key to success. Focus on one or two services, target a specific group, and do these few things extremely well. This is no guarantee of success, but you will be off to a great start.
Focusing on a specific niche market doesn't mean that you cannot accept or do work outside that scope, but you simply do not promote those segments. At Gohan, we occasionally do other work, but we will not publish the case study on our website.
#Positioning #Niching #Focus