Digging deeper where you provide more value than anyone else in the niche you serve is the holy grail for differentiation.
The goal is to find a core audience that complement your beliefs, approach and knowledge. You then start to lean in.
Why find a bigger market, when there are those that are ready to be locked in where you take the lead?
This article is 100% influenced from hearing what Crimson Guitars have done (Ben Crowe was my guest at last weeks You Are The Media Lunch Club).
Crimson Guitars have built their business as a guitar manufacturer, in the heart of Dorset for over fourteen years and now has a team of 17 people.
I take my hat off to the sheer persistence and focus on video as the channel that has helped build the business. There are new shows six days a week and as Ben said, “people switch off and watch TV, this is what I do, I don’t think I have a social life.”
The area that I found the most fascinating was how the company goes deeper by not just resting their on their laurels as a guitar manufacturer (there’s plenty of others out there) but to break everything down into three focused areas: guitar making; teaching; tool making. Everything that they do falls into one of these categories and as separate revenue streams.
This is not a case of a company looking to find a bigger market, but finding as many touch points to serve those that buy into the Crimson Guitars approach. They are achieving content dominance within the world of guitar building, centred on a real commitment to finding a channel that they can find a rhythm with (the next channel they are investing in is podcasting).
The thing with Crimson Guitars is they don’t focus on the whole guitar industry; they concentrate on the world that they are part of and the people that buy into their approach.
So, What About Everyone Else?
Things start to change when you dig deeper into a niche.
What happens is that your content has more of a focus; a clearer voice and you have a steer in the direction you want to take things. This is how you build influence. For instance, manufacturers now ask Crimson Guitars to test products and record them.
Clearly from the world of Crimson Guitars, the ideas haven’t started to run dry yet and that’s after nearly 700 videos. In the words of Mitch Joel from a Talking Content Marketing interview, “No matter how niche your business is, there are always opportunities.”
You are making the world smaller for someone else, as you play a role within his or her belief system.
You become a sound choice and the products that you introduce are already trusted the moment they are available. Whether this is the Crimson Guitars podcast or if Ian Rhodes and myself decide to release a new Marketing Homebrew ‘gated’ start your own podcast series, like to think that there is an audience that are ready to step up and embrace.
Who Else Is Digging Deeper Into Their Own Space?
Global recruiter Monster.com is probably the case study that I have rolled out the most in 2016. The How, Now and Wow content approach has seen a return and a brilliant way to provide a clear structure, so where is 2017 heading?
Margaret Magnarelli, Monster.com Managing Editor, highlighted that 2015/16 was ‘all about getting content creation systemised and maximising organic reach. Going into 2017, this is all about scale.”
Similar to Crimson Guitars, Monster are another company swimming deeper within their own ocean and growing their own ecosystem that others become dependent upon. As we move into 2017, they are scaling in different ways.
Margaret highlighted the plan for 2017 is to, “market our content marketing (paid and native); better UX/UI for better conversions (merging content experiences into one), focus on video and also build the Jobsessed podcast.”
A lesson I have taken from 2016 and the examples of businesses digging deeper within their industry are those who control a niche, dominate the industry they serve.
What About You?
If you are looking to go deeper and have a responsibility where you create touch points that are rock solid with what you do, from education to product related, here are some traits that all play a role.
– Find the one thing you can truly stand for. It all comes back to this, the one thing that you truly believe in to give you the impetus to roam with purpose. Companies have to have a point of view. You can’t create a brand by merely reflecting back what people already think and know.
– Focus on one audience. A few years ago, I considered my audience to be everyone. From logo, to website, to print, to social, it could all be done in one place. I was wrong. The focus is now very much on those businesses that understand change and help them connect on a deeper level with their audience.
– Can you break your service offering down amongst that audience? Rather than one element, are there sub products that still relate to what you do? This year I have introduced the Lunch Clubs, This still ties back to the core belief of ‘ownership’ (my one word).
– Find that channel that is yours. We are now approaching 2017 prediction season, where people are proclaiming that podcasting/events/video/VR is where everything is heading. Whatever you do has to tie back to the objectives and strategy you set. When you dilute something you lose the essence of what it is in the first place. Adding too much water to something that originally had a lot of flavour, eventually becomes water.
– Fight that urge that says ‘try me.’ It is always going to be tempting to throw yourself into something that is new, but you have limited knowledge and any inclination to learn more gradually tails off. I say, embrace tomorrow with the skillsets you have today. As you build in confidence and audience, then the natural progression are the uncharted spaces that you become inquisitive about.’
– Know what makes your audience tick and let that shape your offering. You can’t create and distribute content with our heads in the sand, giving people what we think they want. There are signposts that are out there to guide us, from email feedback, to analytics, to just keeping the discussion going with people who are in your space.
Lets Round Up
Whether it is a case of additional revenue streams or ways to enable a connection on a different level, where you become the only choice, everything is focused on more value, not throwing the net out further.
Whilst the Gremlins multiplied when water came into the equation, there was always a main source to come back to. Similarly with your business, are there new streams that can start to see light of day that compliment the overall business?
If you can add tiers that leave a customer in a better place than when they originally found you and different ways to explore, puts businesses in a strong place. If you don’t have a niche and a role of responsibility, there is proof out there that it is time to start one of your own.