Specializing Often Creates Stronger, Faster Growth

Specializing is one of the most difficult strategic decisions you can make. Often a company’s need to consider this strategic change is driven by not achieving its objectives. Senior executives say, “We’ve got to do something differently than what we’re doing now!”

This can be a less-than-perfect mindset to make this type of decision because expediency can rule the day, whereas cooler heads might produce a superior strategy. On the other hand, sometimes the pressure of “getting something done” now can be a valuable catalyst for driving positive change and innovation.

Why specialization is so powerful:

It’s a lot easier to become known for one thing than 10. Less to remember is a powerful strategic marketing tool. Often companies trap themselves by offering too many products compounded by too many services.

Mindshare is built on aided-recall growing into un-aided recall. If you hear the phrase “overnight delivery,” what company comes to mind? For most, the answer is FedEx. Or if you hear “favorite coffee place,” it’s likely you would think Starbuck’s. These are terrific examples of companies that have moved their brands to an un-aided recall position to the point that if you reference delivery or coffee, you immediately think of their brands.

How did they achieve this status? Did they employ the so overly used services description, “We offer you a wide array of products and services to meet your every need?” Actually, no. It was because they offered one product or service, did it better than everyone else, and built a leadership brand and reputation as a result.

There is an interesting development at the gasoline pump that demonstrates how specialization can launch your company to heights it might not achieve using traditional sales and online marketing. Let’s consider “Gas Station Interactive Advertising.”

Have you ever come across a screen and audio broadcast on a digital video screen sitting atop a gasoline fuel pump? Motorists can watch an array of news, entertainment, weather, traffic information and, yes, advertising that is played in a loop as they fill-up.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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