One of the biggest stumbling blocks my clients have struggled with in maximizing their online marketing efforts is this whole notion of differentiation. You won’t see that word anywhere in this post at the DIY blog, guest-authored by Mars Dorian, but that’s just what he’s writing about here.
Mars is right, in my opinion … up to a point. He’s obviously young and exuberant and truly passionate about what he’s doing, which is great. But allow the “big sis” to throw up the caution flag for a moment and offer the following caveats:
Mars Says “Go to the Edge.” Annie Says: “… A Few Feet Away Is Better.”
Going to the edge is a young person’s natural default state, right? And it’s absolutely true that no innovation ever popped up in the safety zone. You have to play near the edges if you want to grow and conquer new territory.
But getting too near that edge is just as bad for business as not going near enough to the edge.
If you don’t keep your business plan in mind, it’s all too easy (especially for solo biz owners) to start striking out in new, uncharted endeavors. That’s fine, as far as it goes, but if it’s not anchored with some planning and strategic thinking, you’re going to end up where I was a few years ago — basically doing the digital equivalent of throwing spaghetti up against the wall to see what would stick.
It’s not a productive or profitable place to be, my friends.
Strike out towards the edges, sure, but do it with purpose.
Mars Says “Go Beyond the Niche.” Annie Says: “… But You’d Better Not Completely Ignore It, Either.”
Look, I know marketing speak gets really old after a while. I wish we had better words and I wish people would start talking about the old words in fresh ways. But “niche” is one of those concepts that’s just foundational at this point. Ignore it at your peril.
Ignoring a niche, as Mars suggests Chris Guillebeau does (and I’m not so sure about that), might work for a time, for certain kinds of businesses (lifestyle brands, maybe). But the whole point of niche-ing your marketing efforts is tied firmly to the reality we all live in: there are a LOT of people, a TON of businesses, and only so much attention to go around.
If you want a piece of that pie, you’d better know exactly who you’re talking to, what they want to hear, and how they need to hear it.
That? Is your niche, guys. Sorry. ‘Tis true.
Mars Says “Go 3x YOU.” Annie Says: “… Only If You’re Absolutely Sure You Have No Annoying Traits Whatsoever AND It’s What Your Customers Want.”
OK, here’s the thing: I’m all in favor of being authentic online. Hell, I’ve done it to my own detriment at times. But none of us are perfect, and all of us have aspects of our personalities that have the capacity of annoying the crap out of someone else.
It’s just a fact of human nature, you know?
What if “you x 3” results in completely inappropriate overshare?
What if your market HATES pink?
A few words of wisdom from your big sis, Annie.
Now, go, run, be your special snowflake selves. Just be smart about it. That’s all I’m saying.