The Only Way to Succeed in a Crowded Space

Like a room packed with strangers, a crowded industry can be daunting. It's intimidating wondering how you can possibly get all these people to notice you.

The truth is, you won't. At least not at first.

If you want to get to know people at a party full of strangers, your best bet isn't to stand up on the table and announce your entry -- it's to find one of the circles of three or four people and start a conversation. That's your chance to give them a reason to remember you, to relate to them through mutual relationships or interests. By the end of the night you won't have the attention of the whole community, but you'll have a few new friends who can introduce you to others.

Unfortunately, many brands are impatient; they want everyone's attention, and they want it now. In the classic marketing book Positioning, the authors call this folly The Everybody Trap.

The Everybody Trap is deceptive because of its apparent logic. More people means more sales. Niche marketing means niche sales. Go big or go home.

But this line of logic leads to failure for everyone besides the already established leaders. Companies like Google, IBM, or Coke can afford to pander to everyone, and they often do. The rest of us are challengers, and the only way to succeed is to build our business one niche at a time.

Written by Chris Allison on April 13, 2010


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Chris Allison