You missed the *real* message, Philip!

List member Fuad totally skooled me on something I completely missed in one of my recent examples RE: positioning.

Last week I sent an email with the following picture and I told you it was an example of lacking the courage to have a sharp focus:


Fuad told me what’s actually going on with that picture:

In the case of the Halal grocery store, they are also targeting a very specialized niche market.  The english text on the sign is actually totally irrelevant and will be ignored completely by the target audience.  Think of it as cultural backlog, i.e. the innate cultural need to put some english words so they can look cool in front of their peers who also barely have a decent handle on English.

The real message is the arabic & english in the circle in the middle that both say “Halal”.  This is a halal grocery market and everyone who they are targeting instantly knows what they sell inside – basically everything from “back home” plus probably a halal butcher shop in the back.  Their customers also expect to go there and stand in a long line waiting to get their meat or another long line waiting to get through the checkout process. 😛

There are several really interesting things that emerge in light of Fuad’s clarification.

Market Specialization vs. Problem Specialization

This picture has turned from an example of poor focus on solving a problem to an example of good market specialization.

Narrowing your focus to a single target market is what I, in the newly updated Positioning Manual for Technical Firms, refer to as the Narrow Focus strategy.

It’s the first step I recommend that generalist take because it combines many of the benefits of a narrow market position with easier implementation and lower risk.

Coded Message

Fuad points out that the real message in this sign is essentially a coded message. I sorta understood that “Halal” meant “Arabic food”, but that was the extent of my understanding until I got Fuad’s email.

Now I understand that the single word “Halal” carries a lot of meaning for the intended audience.

Your target market will be the same. There will be certain key words that resonate with additional levels of meaning beyond what the general public will understand.

If you know these words, you should use them in your marketing. They’ll position you as an insider, which will increase your credibility and trust with your target market.

If you don’t know those words, you should learn more about your target market. Research is an excellent way to do that.

The Complete Bundle of the newly updated Positioning Manual for Technical Firms contains a thorough guide on how to research your target market:

Talk to you soon,

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