Specializing is one of the most difficult strategic decisions you can make. Often a company’s need to consider this strategic change is driven by not achieving its objectives. Senior executives say, “We’ve got to do something differently than what we’re doing now!” This can be a less than perfect mindset to make this type of decision because expediency can rule the day where cooler heads might produce a superior strategy. On the other hand, sometimes the pressure of ‘getting something done’ now can be a valuable catalyst for driving positive change and innovation.
Why Specialization Is So Powerful
It’s a lot easier to become known for one thing than ten. Less to remember is a powerful strategic marketing tool. Often companies trap themselves with too many products compounded by too many services.
Mindshare is built on aided-recall growing into un-aided recall. If you hear, “Overnight delivery” what company comes to mind? For most, the answer is FedEx. Or if you hear “Favorite coffee place” it’s likely you would think Starbuck’s. These are terrific examples of companies that have moved their brands to an un-aided recall position to the point that if you reference delivery or coffee, you immediately think of their leading brand.
How did they achieve this? Did they employ the so overly used services description, “We offer you a wide array of products and services to meet your every need?” Actually no. It was because they offered one product or service, did it better than everyone else, and built a leadership brand and reputation as a result.
There is an interesting development at the gasoline pump that demonstrates how specialization can launch your company to heights it might not achieve using traditional sales and online marketing. Let’s look at “Gas Station Interactive Advertising.”
Have you ever come across a screen and audio broadcast on a digital video screen sitting atop a gasoline fuel pump? Motorists can watch an array of news, entertainment, weather, traffic information and yes, advertising, that is played in a loop as they fill-up. A typical fill-up time is five minutes. This gives marketers the time they need to introduce their product and push its benefits to each person that pulls up to pump some gas. It also allows them to specialize their message.
Gas Station TV (GSTV) is being offered on several networks and reports it reaches 32 million monthly viewers in over 110 designated market areas (DMAs), another way to specialize your brand message. Backed by GE Energy Business’ capital infusion of $50 million, GSTV is primed for take off.
Perhaps your company isn’t quite as large, but the same strategic principle applies. Specializing qualifies you to do something that your generalist competitors can’t. It’s why a company that specializes often grows faster than one that remains a generalist. GSM’s specialization certainly positioned them for high growth.