If you’re barking up the wrong tree are you making a sound? No. It’s not the quality of your product or the caliber of your service that matters. If the people you are targeting have no use for your carbonated, super-caffeinated beverages or sets of luscious 1800 count Egyptian Cotton Bed Sheets then:
- You are wasting time and money trying to engage them
- You are competing for market share you will never get
It is virtually impossible to be everything to everyone. And believing you’re the answer to everything is a costly mistake made by both start-ups and established businesses.
While a noble law of marketing, our Go Niche or Go Home Rule does not only apply to those businesses across America that started out of a kitchen or a garage. For example, Bloomingdale’s marketing team is not after Target’s customers. Bloomie’s has their niche. (Although they also have the money and the goods to launch a line of brick and mortar outlet stores to attract the bargain hunter looking for a taste of couture.) But you get my meaning…
Do you own and operate a Mary Kay business? Do you know who and where your clients are? Who is your target market? At a networking event I once heard a Mary Kay representative say that her target market is “anyone with skin”. Mmmmm…might be a bit of a stretch. With that lack of focus, to whom is she talking? If she is trying to capture everyone’s attention, her message will be lost. The shame is that while her conviction is seasoned with passion for the products, she wasn’t targeting the people who wanted to listen. If you are trying to talk to everyone, you will likely fall on deaf ears.
So how to thrive? In the absence of the existence of a universality of needs, adopt the niche.
- Your competitive advantage will come from your specialization within the universe of products and services.
- Your business will come from your ability to then saturate the market to yield a high share of a comparatively smaller segment.
Smaller is bigger in business, and smaller is not all over the map; it’s highly focused.
According to Entreprenuer.com:
“Many people talk about ‘finding’ a niche as if it were something under a rock or at the end of the rainbow, ready-made. That’s nonsense,” says Lynda Falkenstein, author of Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market and Make Customers Seek You Out. Good niches don’t just fall into your lap; they must be carefully crafted.
Rather than creating a niche, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of falling into the “all over the map” trap, claiming they can do many things and be good at all of them. These people quickly learn a tough lesson, Falkenstein warns: “Smaller is bigger in business, and smaller is not all over the map; it’s highly focused”.
Customer acquisition is a goal. To achieve any goal, you need to visualize. Most of us can visualize our success in our heads — whatever that looks like. But all the inspirational quotes and dream boards in the world aren’t going to get you there if you can’t visualize your clients. When you can see them and really know them, only then can you create what they really want and understand how to convey your solution to them.
You wouldn’t give the same speech at your industry’s annual convention as you would on Career Day at your child’s school. You will succeed when you have a very narrow definition and focus on the needs of a distinct market segment.
Know your audience – it’s the first rule of public speaking, and the only rule in a successful marketing campaign. If you understand who your audience is, they’ll pick up what you’re putting down.