I conducted a workshop a few months ago in Ft. Lauderdale and was approached by a member of the audience that was the CEO of a local computer services (LAN Integration and Desktop Support) company.  He asked me to take a look at his marketing material and give him my impressions.  His material basically said his company was great at everything.  My response was to yawn.

 

So I asked him, "So, what are you really good at?"

He said, "Everything"

I then said, "Well, within everything, what are you REALLY good at?"

His answer was, "Really, everything"

 

Well, that simply isn't going to work!  Unless a prospective buyer is dying for a new vendor when you call on them, a "we are good at everything" isn't going to crack open the prospects natural defenses particularly when you need to overcome an incumbent relationship.   That pitch will bounce right off their "shields" and go nowhere--there will be no traction.  The only exception to this is that if your company is the market leader and is super widely recognized as the true best at everything.  In other words, IBM can get away with saying they are the best at everything, some little guy from Boca Raton can't!

 

You need to be the best at something.  If you can't think of any way in which you are the best at something, you need to redefine your category until you can say you are the best or the leading company in or at something.  For example, if you can't claim you are the best in Boca Raton, then maybe you can claim you are the best computer integration and support company for CPA Offices in Boca Raton.  It is more effective to pitch a law firm telling them you are the best computer integration and support company for CPAs and discuss the similarities and how you can make it work in a law firm than it is to say you are the best at everything for everyone including law firms.  Nobody want to be lumped in with everyone else.  Saying you are the best in CPA firms is believable, saying you are the best at everything isn't!  Also, saying you are the best in CPA firms may very challenge the prospect think about the difficulties of working in those types of environments and then project those environments onto their own environment.

 

The criticism I hear of pursuing this type of marketing specialization is that there is a perception that by specializing in a technology or sub-market, you exclude yourself from opportunities.  If, for example, you say you specialize in one technology, you exclude the chance of winning deals focused on other technologies.  I say that is not true for two reasons.  Firstly, because it simply isn't believable that a small company with a handful to dozens of people can be great at everything and, secondly, saying you are the best at something won't actually exclude you from the other opportunities.  A great pitch for this guy might be: "We are really good at all areas but we specialize in Windows 7 migrations" or " We work with companies of all types, but we specialize in working for CPAs offices."  These positioning statements will not exclude you from working with a law firm or a shoe store and they are believable.