The most TOXIC niche advice? | STFO 🤘

Published 3 months ago • 1 min read

Last week, Lori, a Toronto-based marketing consultant I've known for years, told me she was super overwhelmed. Her client base was too broad, ranging from local businesses to big corporations. She felt like she was juggling multiple niches, which isn't practical for a solo consultant.

I suggested Lori's issue isn't positioning, but framing. Her brain was playing tricks on her; she was too fixated on the differences in her client segments.

You see...

A niche isn't just about industry (such as B2B tech), role (such as marketing managers), demographics (women over 40), or growth stage (like pre-market-fit startups). That view misses the point entirely.

A niche, or segment, or whatever else you want to call it, is a group of people you can serve in a way that gives you a distinct advantage against existing alternatives in your category. This group has unmet needs/struggles/problems in common that you, and only you, can solve in a specific way.

Ideally, this group is accessible (you know how/where to find them), joyful (you like working with them), has money to spend (I do NOT mean who spends A LOT of money; I mean, who spends a big % of their money), and its population is growing.

I advised Lori to ignore demo/firmographics and ask herself those three questions: Are there any differences in her market she could take advantage of? What needs do her best customers have in common? And who really, really, really cares about those needs being met?

To answer those questions, list the attributes that could define your segment, then find the most meaningful intersection—that's what your niche really is:

  • Context: where, when, with whom, with what, why
  • Occupation
  • Vocation
  • Interest
  • Belief
  • Health
  • Family status
  • Company size
  • Company structure
  • Revenue
  • Industry
  • Location
  • etc.

(The more specific the attributes, the better.)

In Lori's case, it was something like, "Marketing leaders who started at their company recently, who needed support to do their job well."

For accounting software, it could be "Small companies with no accounting department."

For discreet toilet fragrance packets, it could be "Young women suffering from Chron's disease."

As you can see, we're only looking at the attributes that could give them a true competitive advantage. You may not have a positioning problem, you may just be looking at the segment you seek to serve the wrong way.



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