Sometimes when venture capital investors listen to pitches from a founder a product really wows the investors. They clearly see the value of the product. They even acknowledge that they may become an enthusiastic customer—but they don’t make an investment. Their reason is that the presentation was necessary in order for them to see the value. In other words, without the presentation, if they had merely seen the product on a store shelf, they would have walked right by. When understanding the value of a product requires education, the company is faced with a huge marketing problem. The need to educate a customer in order to communicate value is a challenge that the investors usually consider too insurmountable to make an investment.
Some products suffer from this challenge. But pretty much all creative services face the prospect education problem. When selling requires presentation, your marketing is not doing the heavy lifting that it needs to. In order to effectively market a creative practice, we must face this challenge head on.
What Your Prospects Already Know
At one level, every business understands their need for a logo, a website, and other supporting tools for them to operate as a business. We don’t need to educate them about that. But let’s reconsider the topic of competition again from this perspective. If your prospect knows that they need a logo, a website, and some other collateral, and they survey the landscape for sources to provide these services, how do they know the difference between your branding services and your competitor’s? Or, for that matter, how do they know the difference between your multi-thousand dollar offerings, and what they see that they can get for a few hundred on Fiverr or Upwork? Or generate using AI?
This gulf is your prospect education problem. And it’s a big one. It’s an uphill climb. Writing a couple of posts on the importance of branding, featuring case studies on Apple or Nike, is not going to cut it.
PinPoint Positioning to the Rescue
This brings us back again to the topic of PinPoint Positioning. There really is no solution to the prospect education problem for the generalist creative firm. If you were to pitch investor an with about the importance of branding, as a generalist, they would drop out.
Creative specialists, on the other hand, with strategic and tactical insights into specific applications of branding within focused industries, are able to communicate value and justify higher rates and fees.
The more readily your prospect can connect their needs with your solution, without long conversations, or in-depth presentations, the more your marketing will deliver prospects ready to invest in the value you offer. The more general your pitch, the more you will need to rely on your presentation. But getting to that all important presentation will not likely be aided by your marketing efforts, rather you’ll need to depend on other avenues such as referrals and recommendations—which leave you without control, and exceedingly vulnerable to competition.
Now when you specialize, you do reduce the overall size of your market (at least that which you actively seek) from anyone with a business to those within your niche. But as any expert marketer will tell you, “There’s riches in the niches.”
Don’t be a generalist, with a huge prospect education problem, with vulnerabilities from competition, with over-leverage and low margins.