A few weeks ago, this short post from Seth Godin caught my attention:
Demetri Martin tells the story of seeing a necklace for sale. It says, “Diana” on it.
“Wait,” he says to the owner of the jewelry store, “you’d probably sell more if it said ‘Not Diana’ on it.” After all, just about everyone isn’t named Diana.
The absurdity of this story is precisely why focusing on the smallest viable audience makes so much more sense than trying to make average stuff for average people.
Keep this story in your mind when you work on your positioning. The fear of turning down a market segment is one of the most common struggles for consulting firms. And this impacts their whole business.
Here's the equivalent, in the consulting industry, of trying to sell a necklace written "Not Diana" on it (quotes taken from the website of a real "business" consultant):
- "Business planning for entrepreneurs"
- "Expert support at any stage of your business lifecycle: HR, Finance, Sales and Marketing."
- "We are all about boosting your entrepreneurial potential, guiding you towards your measurable business goals and cheering you on along the way!"
This consultancy tries to appeal to the largest possible market. Would you hire them? Do you perceive them as experts?
Instead of "niching down until it hurts", most consultants believe all they need is a fairly unique value proposition. This is not differentiation, but shallow niching. The positioning process encompasses much more than that.
Take some time to look at your own specialization decision today. Have the courage to finally decide which business are you in. Understand how it impacts your offerings and marketing strategy.
The more superficial your positioning is, the less trustworthy you will be in the eyes of your audience.