I’m well aware of the fact that businesses have a lot of options for the types of services that I consult on: Businesses can hire an advertising firm, a brand consultant, a PR firm, a social media consultant, a digital ad firm, pay-per-click admins, an email marketing manager, an ecommerce director, digital producer, et cetera. All of these people will promise you that they are the very thing that you and your business have been missing. With unlimited time and money, of course, each of them might be right. But I doubt it. My niche: I speak all of those languages fluently.
A friend of mine does all the video production for a number of topflight fashion designers – names we all know – and for months my friend tried to understand what it is I do exactly. Regrettably, I was of little help to him in this endeavor. He’d call me and ask, “How do I figure out what’s working?” or “How do I know who’s watching my videos?” He knew his clients needed help prioritizing and implementing their new media initiatives. He also knew that I could be trusted because I regularly answered these digital marketing questions. He even invited me to speak in front of his students (he also teaches a course at Parsons, as if he wasn’t cool enough already). His clients were already spending big bucks with him in addition to a handful of digital agencies on everything from content placement to viewer metrics. He didn’t trust the reports they were receiving, that’s why he was asking my advice. But nobody was asking the essential question: Are our efforts promoting sales?
It wasn’t necessarily in my friend’s best interest to raise such questions; however, if he could convince these fashion/media giants of the ever-increasing value of their video campaigns he could prove his value to them. That is to say, they would reward him with more business if they agreed his videos were effective. Plus, he’s a good guy and he wants to see his clients thrive. Plus, he’s a good friend and he wanted to help me find some great clients and see me succeed. It had been a year of this answering questions and still no runway models or ad execs were beating a path to my door. It seemed I was destined to answer marketing questions on everybody else’s behalf. I was the proverbial suitcase without a handle. And we all know it’s difficult to pick up a suitcase without a handle.
So what is my niche? What is my handle? My niche is executive level consulting on new media that is aimed at monetization. This means testing and measuring and prioritizing to the greatest extent possible. If digital marketing were real estate, I would be a cross between the architect and the general contractor. I plan and I do. Things get done on budget. The frames get hung before the windows and doors are delivered. And I know some very experienced digital plumbers, welders, paint suppliers, et cetera. I also know how to work with your existing development teams, sales teams, and marketing teams without stepping on toes.
It’s easy to romanticize digital marketing but I’d rather settle for excellent results – that means working with the right service providers, knowing what things cost and how long they should take, and making sure everything is done in the interest of clear, measurable goals. That’s an easier niche to grasp, I hope.