Marketing Success Favors the Specialist Over the Generalist

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With Online Personal Branding (or any form of marketing for that matter), your marketing messages must answer 3 questions from the perspective of your target market audience:

    1. Why should I care?
    2. What’s in it for me?
    3. Why should I believe you?

In our previous article Why should they Care, we discussed question 1, and the importance of being dramatically and meaningfully different (that is, if you want to have any chance of standing out from the crowd and capturing the attention of your target market audience in the first place).

The next step is to answer question 2.  Now you must clearly and simply state what it is that you do – or more specifically, what is the benefit for them to do business with you?  Studies show that your marketing will be far more effective if you offer 1 or 2 benefits at most, and state them in blunt, simple terms that a teenager could easily understand.

In my experience I have seen far too many people make the mistake of offering too many benefits or services – thinking that by passing themselves off as a “1 stop shop” they will attract more business.  Actually it is just the opposite. Offering too many choices just creates confusion.  Sorry folks! Nobody is going to believe that you can be an expert at everything. The golden rule: Marketing success favors the specialist over the generalist.  If you can succeed in making yourself known for doing 1 thing really well – you are far more likely to be remembered and recommended.

Also, it is OK for people to say “No” because what you offer doesn’t apply to them.  They were never going to be your customer anyway.  However, it is inexcusable for someone who fits your target customer profile to say “No” to you and walk/click on by, because they don’t understand what your personal brand stands for, when you are in fact the perfect solution for their needs.

How much business have you missed out on because you have not been blunt enough about what you do?

To be successful with Online Personal Branding you must make what you offer easy to understand.

My blunt, overt offer is “to make you look good online.”  What’s yours?
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7 thoughts on “Marketing Success Favors the Specialist Over the Generalist

  1. Right you are! Three years ago, I rebranded my marketing agency as Maternal Instinct, specializing in helping clients who target moms as consumers. Not only have we grown in a down economy, but it’s more gratifying for me to keep my brain in one space, reading and blogging about one critical demographic, than trying to know a little about a lot of different segments.

  2. Hi Kat,

    That’s terrific news! Thank you for sharing your specialization / focus efforts. You raised a good point: freeing up ‘mental space’; specializing really helps with this, enabling us to spend quality time/focus on business strategy and its execution.

  3. This is a wonderful piece! Personally, I’ve thought of offering more services to my clients. However, I feel that what I bring to the table is exactly what they need and a service that I can accomplish well. I’m glad to hear that I don’t have to be that one-stop shop because I’m not.

    My offer is to make your business be heard socially.

  4. Hi Terez

    Thank you for sharing your experiences – yes agree, do one thing and do it exceptionally well!

    It takes courage to really specialize, on occasions I’ve had to refer clients to another service provider, as what they were wanting i.e. corporate branding was outside my area of specialization – yes I can do it, but it is not my businesses focus nor target market (nor my passion) etc…

    Congratulations in staying the course with your business focus and avoiding the often (rather tempting) ‘one-stop-shop’ trap.

  5. Hi Bianca,

    Do you think this might happen because when we are first starting out you want to be able to do everything and not turn away potential customers? I’m still working on defining and narrowing in on my specialty and what I want to offer and I find myself often at a crossroads where I want to do too much.
    Sandy

  6. When we are first starting out in business, it seems like any customer is a good customer – after all, it is money that puts food on our table. However, after a while it can become a trap. We can end up getting pulled “off target” – serving customers who are not right for us, and/or performing services that take us further from our core competence and away from what we are truly passionate about. It takes courage to say “No” – but sometimes that’s what we need to do.

    Perhaps also see:

    Who is your target audience:
    http://shetakesontheworld.com/2010/07/who-is-your-target-audience.html

    How to define your target audience:
    http://shetakesontheworld.com/2010/08/how-to-define-your-target-audience.html

  7. When we are first starting out in business, it seems like any customer is a good customer – after all, it is money that puts food on our table. However, after a while it can become a trap. We can end up getting pulled “off target” – serving customers who are not right for us, and/or performing services that take us further from our core competence and away from what we are truly passionate about.

    It takes courage to say “No” – but sometimes that’s what we need to do.

    In addition perhaps also visit articles: How to Define your Target Audience and Who is your Target Market Audience: http://shetakesontheworld.com/author/bianca

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