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how identify target customer content marketingGot a sinking feeling your marketing copy is too “me too?”

If so, you’re not alone, according to content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi. He did an excellent post earlier this year arguing that many campaigns fail because the material they offer is too much like everyone else’s.

I’m always surprised when I push a client to tell me what makes them different and they tell me (as one did the other week) that “When you really get down to it, all of us do pretty much the same thing.”

Granted, this person works in the execution trenches of a global service provider, which makes it harder for them to take a strategic marketing view. But I really had to push them to describe the software tools and skills that help them win deals from the competition.

Niches Within Niches

Pulizzi has some excellent suggestions to fix this. Among them is the need to focus more closely on your specific market niche. I’d go further and say every business has a hyper-niche or it wouldn’t exist. Some of these hyper-niches, and their marketing implications might be:

  • Geographic: “We’re the only bar on the coast within ten miles of a popular beach.” Promote how easy you are to find and plaster the walls with local memorabilia and photos.
  • Skills: “We restore 18th century books, which requires specific skills to deal with the chemicals used in making them.” Show before/after examples and blog about how different types of 18th century paper age over time.
  • Geographic plus skills: “We do pest control in southwest Florida, where the breezes from the Gulf of Mexico bring in pests you won’t see anywhere else.” Blog about those local pests, the damage or diseases they cause and how to fight them.
  • Geographic plus skills plus real-time insights: “We sell real estate north of Boston. We have unique insights into what the latest plans for a rapid transit extension mean for housing prices along the route.” Blog  about your thoughts or, better still, develop an interactive map showing projected price spikes in each community.

Enough About Pests. How About Tech?

If bars, pest control services and realtors and differentiate themselves, so can we in the supposedly sexier tech industry. Try these hyper niches:

  • Customer service: “We put a director-level manager on site to manage our projects with you, and to coordinate with our off-shore team.” Link to bios of these on-site managers and case studies of how they sped implementation and reduced costs for your clients.
  • Geographic plus customer service: “As the only full-service Cisco partner in the Mid-Coast, we can reach your office within two hours with the equipment needed to restore your network.” Link to an interactive map showing travel time from your your site to local customers, and to  testimonials about the quality of your local service.
  • Skills: “We find the right human resources management software for you by evaluating not only different products, but your corporate culture.” Link to an interactive guide telling customers which platform best fits their needs in “soft” areas such as collaboration, quality of life and employee empowerment.
  • Real-time market insights: “With the sudden upsurge in demand for “digital” branding, we’re seeing massive confusion over what this means and how to explain your message.” Provide your own insights* for writing about digital in ways that drive sales.)
  • Skills plus real-time market insight: “We monitor the current performance and price of cloud providers such as Rackspace, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure and proactively recommend when to shift from one to another.” Link to a free sample assessment and case studies of how you helped others.

Differentiate Thyself

Given the complexity of technology, the rapid pace of change and the wide range of customers, there are plenty of micro-niches for us to work with – if we put in the time and work to identify and then exploit them.  To get started, download my free checklist for evaluating the  depth, originality and timeliness of your content.

*Shamelessly self-serving link to my own site.

 

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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Filed under: Content Marketing For IT Vendors

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