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Have a Nerdy Specialty or Niche? Show Why It Matters

by Marcia Yudkin

In September 2012, if you counted all the number of political signs all around my neighborhood, you would have concluded that the hot upcoming election was not a race for the President, the House or the Senate but for Register of Deeds. I am not kidding!

Our county's current Register of Deeds was retiring after 23 years in the office. The four candidates vying to replace her debated one another, and the local paper published profiles of them. All this made me curious, because in my mind, Register of Deeds is the ultimate nerdy elected job. What in the world was there to care about, much less debate?

The candidates differed, I learned, when it came to what the Register of Deeds could do about so-called "robo-signed" documents, which played a role in many fraudulent foreclosures. One of the candidates had a vision of what could be done to make land records more usable by genealogy researchers.

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Another explained that as Register of Deeds, she would help protect the typical family's largest investment, their home. She also pointed out that old land records are often crucial in determining which roads in the county are public and which private.

This little exploration into something I'd never thought about before hammered home a few general marketing lessons.

1. No matter how nerdy your specialty, there are probably numerous possible ways to explain why it's important and why you care about it. Why is this service important for the person being served? How is it relevant for others in society? What values are promoted by the work you do?

2. See if you can connect your specialization to a controversy, an event or an achievement that the average person probably has heard about. This adds to the perceived value of your work contribution.

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3. Explain your ideas about getting the job done well. Had I been present at the Register of Deeds debate, I'm sure I would have gotten a clear sense of particular priorities emphasized by each of the candidates more than the others. Without realizing it, you can likewise come across differently from competitors just by the way you describe this factor.

Let's suppose now that you're a nutritional labeling specialist. For packaged foods clients, you analyze food products to determine compliance with all the federal regulations on printed food labels.

Instead of simply describing in a technical fashion which kinds of labeling information you provide, you could stand out vis-a-vis competitors with the kind of elaboration described above. Remind potential food entrepreneur clients that correctly analyzing the nutritional content of foods helps consumers obtain all the nutrients they need, comply with medically necessary diet restrictions and avoid triggering life-threatening allergic reactions. Proper food labeling saves lives, in addition to complying with the law.

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Don't take for granted that the person in a position to buy your product or service understands what's at stake. Probably they do not. By spelling out the factors identified above, you make "votes" - purchases - for what you sell much more likely.

Copyright 2013 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.

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