Philip Morgan

I learned a new word recently: e-peening.It's apparently the verb conjugation of e-peen, and it's a word that's used to describe someone who shows off online, usually making themselves look ridiculous in the process.If you need more detail on this exciting new addition to the English language, Urban Dictionary's got you covered.Specialization Hack #8: Test Your Value PropositionWhen I used to write white papers for Microsoft, I used to imagine the person reading whatever I wrote sitting in an aisle seat in the coach section of a completely full airplane flight with a screaming infant directly beside them and a bratty kid in the seat behind them kicking their seat back every 2 minutes and a rude teenager in the seat in front, suddenly reclining the seat with no warning and a lot of turbulence in the sky.I would try to write in a way that kept that person's interest and avoided the cognitive overload of long, complicated sentences (like the one directly above this one hahahahah).I certainly didn't succeed at writing well for a super distracted reader every time, but it was a great goal to help guide my writing.When I'm thinking about how you can get prospective clients to pay attention to you when you're marketing online, I have a similar image in mind.I imagine a busy management-level or C-level person sitting at their desk. Papers are strewn everywhere, and every 8.9 seconds they get a notification from their smartphone for something that actually is important and that actually demands a slice of their cognitive budget for the day. There is a constant, low level roar of people talking in the background, and one of the rollers on the laser printer near their desk has a squeak so that every time it outputs a page it makes this annoying, impossible-to-ignore squeaking sound. Oh, and they're looking at working another weekend because they're behind on a ton of shit that needed to be done last week.I know this is an exaggerated picture, but you get the idea. You're competing against a LOT of noise when you try to get attention for your services or products online.And the bad news is, there's no "magic bullet" for this other than finding the right combination of the following ingredients:

  1. Relevant, compelling value proposition
  2. Audience that finds your value proposition compelling
  3. Marketing channel that provides reliable access to that audience

The right combination of these ingredients will get your buyer to "look up from the stack of papers on their desk" and give you some of their most precious (and probably scarce) resource: their attention.I file this idea under the category of "positioning hacks" because if you're considering specializing, you'll find yourself in one of two situations:

  1. Previous client work has proven to you that there is demand for your new, specialized market position. IOW, the specialization you plan to move towards is a subset of your current client work, and therefore you know that there's demand for it and you may have a rough idea of how to get more clients around this specialization. Your main question is whether you can successfully expand this subset of your current client work to be your primary marketing and business focus.
  2. Your new specialized market position is aspirational. You believe or hope that there is demand for it, but you have collected little or no evidence to prove to yourself that there is. Your main question is how quickly you would go out of business if you bet the farm on this new specialized positioning and your bet turned out to be wrong. :)

It's this second situation where some sort of test of your ability to get a prospects to "look up from the stack of papers on their desk" is a good idea before you go all in.I've described at least one way you could approach this in this article: /a-market-pentest/ It's certainly not the only way you could do this.I can work with you individually to help you design a "market pentest" that's customized to your situation. Reach out to me about that here: /form/31Talk to you soon,-P