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Are you a specialist and no one knows it?

Posted by Ilise Benun on

I was recently in Toronto where I had the privilege of speaking at the 9th Annual Design Thinkers conference put on by the Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario. During my talk, called "Design Your Niche," I evangelized about the importance of developing one or two or even three areas of expertise so you can position yourself or your company as the "go-to" experts and charge a premium for that expertise.

I sometimes feel like I'm on a mission to persuade my prospects and clients how much wider the world opens up to you as soon as you start to focus. It's a bit of a paradox.

But creatives are notorious for avoiding focus, especially when it comes to focusing on a market. Why? Here's what I see: 1) You don't want to alienate any potential clients; and 2) you don't want to get bored doing the same work forever.

One excellent point about specializing came out of a conversation I had over dinner with Marketing Mentor clients, Jennifer Neal and Norm Lourenco of K9 Design before the event started (which was good because that way I could integrate it into my presentation). Norm said he thought many people probably already specialize in one or two areas but don't know it or, if they know it, don't position themselves that way, don't demonstrate it in their marketing or on their web site.

That's so true. In fact, sometimes all it takes is a reordering or the categorizing of your client list to show your areas of expertise.

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