Power Niche Marketing: Turning Your Niche Into A Power Niche — Augmenting Your Power

As you follow the steps to create a Power Niche, your ownership of your niche starts to grow in strength. Even with just reading a few articles on Google, you are growing little bits of “power” after just a few hours of work. And, after several weeks, well you are becoming a know-it-all!  Now let’s talk about how to grow this to the next level:

Happily, this is the easiest and simplest part of all… you just start telling everyone about what you are doing.

As an example, for a lawyer, you start to tell everyone: “I am going into fashion law – I am the fashion industry lawyer”.

You tell everyone, and I mean everyone!

You tell your mom, you tell your dad, you tell your entire family. And, you tell your relatives and your friends. You can even use Facebook and LinkedIn and other social media (if you are good at that stuff). This is one of the places it might be very useful.

You of course tell your co-workers, including peers, subordinates and, once you have your footing, your boss too.

You tell your friends. You tell everyone under the sun, especially those in the fashion industry that you start to get to know.

And – this is SUPER important — you tell them again and again and again and again. One email that announces it will not cut the mustard. You have to repeat what you are doing again and again and again and again and again and again….This is not because people are stupid or don’t care; it is because people are all barraged with constant information hitting their brains and if you don’t repeat your message it will just be forgotten. So you have to over-repeat your message.

There are some statistics about three times in 90 days or something like that. I don’t know about that statistic, but I can say that that is not even nearly enough and the more times the better. And there is even a quote from a hypothetical coach who says:

“Before the game I worry that I have repeated myself too many times, but then when the game happens I realize I haven’t repeated my message nearly enough times.”

By the way, have you noticed I just repeated this message a bunch of times.

Along the way, you pepper the lives of your friends and relatives and co-workers with your Power Niche, because every time you see them you turn the conversation to talking about your Power Niche. You are a veritable fire hose of information and repartee about your new passion.

You work the Threebies in because you are out and about – you are crazy enthusiastic about your Power Niche – and you now have knowledge (power) in your growing Power Niche. And of course you don’t forget the fourth Threebie, so you follow up with everyone you meet that has potential interest in your Power Niche.

In any case, you keep talking about your message so much that people start to get (almost) sick of you. When they see you coming they can’t help but see the word FASHION tattooed across your forehead.

Having overemphasized this, of course, you should try not to be a butthead about it. You don’t want people to think of you as an idiot – but hopefully you get my point.

So as you keep on talking about what you are doing, then an amazing thing happens – all of these people start helping you!

It is the strangest thing but if you are like a broken record on the high end fashion industry legal stuff, people start sending you articles, links, ideas, connections, friends and, yes, even clients or job leads.

It becomes an incredible thing – a self-fulfilling prophecy – that because you held yourself out as an expert everyone helps you become more of an expert.

People simply can’t help themselves. They see a fashion industry article and they think: “Oh, Toby will want to see this” and they forward you the link. Or they meet someone in fashion and they can’t help saying:  “Oh you will want to meet my friend Toby. He just is SO into the fashion industry and he knows everything. I bet you guys will be fast friends immediately. He is a good guy too. Can I connect you with him?”

So, if you keep going with me here, in just a few weeks you know more than a lot of people on a topic. In a few months, you know more than just about everyone everywhere. Your power is growing and your niche is fast becoming a Power Niche.

Suddenly, without you realizing how easy it was, you are the best in the world at something. Wow!  Within your niche, everyone wants you around, and the more you are around, the more people you meet, the more your knowledge increases. It becomes an incredible virtuous cycle to grow the power of your Power Niche.

You not only are useful in your niche for “what you know”, but you are also starting to get to know everyone and therefore become useful also for “who you know”. You know people, and you have heard before that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  And trust me, that is very true. Now you know all the key players.

So your power grows and grows. There is no stopping you now.  You are the owner of a Power Niche!

Power Niche Marketing: Marketing Motivation — And Where to Get It

I am interrupting my stream of articles on Power Niche Marketing to talk about something that is incredibly difficult for most people: developing the motivation to actually do the sales and marketing that is necessary to develop a successful legal career.

To start, consider the reason not to do anything:

If you work eight hours in a day on billable legal work, you get paid for the eight hours – end of story. No particular upside, but not much downside either.

If you don’t work that day on billable legal work but do work in the nature of marketing, it may turn out to be worth nothing or, if it is worth something, it is nebulous and off in the future. This means that at least on a short-term basis you probably aren’t going to get paid for your work that day.

So it seems like a no-brainer. If you have billable work to do, you should put that first, and if there is leftover time, then you should do some marketing.

However – alas – that is a sure-fire recipe to keep your “job” but have long-term career failure.

Now here I am not telling you anything you don’t already know. All of my prior articles have touched on this concept – I have told you things like “get out and about” – “don’t just sit there” – “build a power niche.”

And, intellectually, you know full well that you have to do this or you will end up not having clients and toiling away in the back room, etc. However, it has been a long day – you are tired – you want to see your family – and you could always do the marketing “tomorrow.”  And so the years pass……

What do you do about this?

Being honest, I have absolutely no idea…..

This is something you just have to decide to do and just do it.

And it is really hard to do – i.e., to change your behavior to exit what is likely a comfort zone into a place where you are uncomfortable.

Even though I don’t have anything to say here that is different from the typical “motivation” or “how-to” book, I will make one point, which is that it is a lot easier to train yourself to do what you need to do on marketing early in your career than later. The more you get set in your ways the harder it is to change behavior.

So maybe that is my advice here…. pretend that on the first day of work your boss told you “if you don’t bring in a client in the next twelve months, you will be fired…..”

Pretend that is what happened and act accordingly.

If you are more senior in your career, I guess you could do the exact same thing but it will just be harder to do. Pretend your boss/managing partner came in and said you have twelve months to bring in a client or you are out!

In either of these cases, of course you don’t know if you will actually be able to bring in a client; however, I suspect you will do what is most important; namely, change your behavior to be an appropriate mixture of legal work and marketing.

And your career will be enhanced.

If I were Tony Robbins, I would end by saying here, “You can do it!”

The Latest Bubble

Here are further thoughts about Amazon and its effect on the retail world, which I have named “The Amazon Retail Distortion”.  See the article I wrote in my last Real Estate Philosopher.

I note that roughly fifteen years ago – in mid 2001 – Barrons wrote a perceptive piece that, in one article burst the internet bubble.  It pointed out that no matter how many “eyeballs” internet companies were getting, almost all of them only had a few months left of cash to burn and if they didn’t raise more money by then they were broke.  And so it was.  Between three and six months later virtually all of these companies disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Of course, I am not Barrons, and I don’t see Amazon going bankrupt any time soon, but I continue to wonder when the Amazon bubble will burst.  When it does there will certainly be a mass celebration in the retail world.

Consider my last article where I made the point that Amazon has been given a now twenty-year gift from Wall Street and investors that it doesn’t have to make money.  And this still continues, incredibly.

Their last quarter – which came out after my last article – put them at breakeven or worse when taking out stock based compensation and losing significant money if their cloud business – which has nothing to do with their retail business model – is excluded.  Indeed the article I read said they made 40 cents a share (for a stock trading at $1,017 a share), they expect somewhere between a small loss or a small profit next quarter, their income fell 50% from last year, and their operating costs were increasing.  The same article – incidentally – mentioned that Jeff Bezos was temporarily the world’s richest man…

Face it – Amazon makes no money in retail!

Yet retailers that used to make money – or are making money – are getting clobbered by it.

My – continued and reinforced — view is that Whole Foods will reveal the lack of clothing of Emperor Amazon.  Consider a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “Amazon Rewrites Rule Book for Grocers.”  The second paragraph starts with “while Amazon doesn’t need to make money from its grocery division yet, food sales are crucial for traditional players like Kroger, WalMart and Target….”  Seriously?  Amazon doesn’t have to make money on food but WalMart does?  Seriously?

And then a few days later what appears to be a “shocking” headline that Amazon is lowering some prices at Whole Foods crushes grocery stocks.  Again, I ask, seriously?

Whole Foods is known informally as “whole paycheck” and is struggling, so they lowered some prices.  Gee – wow.   I looked at the article and the price changes on some vegetables wasn’t enough to change my shopping patterns.  Amazon’s (brilliant?) strategy in groceries is to take on experienced behemoth players in a razor-thin-margin business and lower prices against WalMart?  Seriously?

If you are going to bet on WalMart – which makes something like $15B in cash a year — versus Amazon – which makes nothing – and you bet on Amazon, your bet has to be based on one thing; namely, that it will continue to have a free pass on making no money in its core business.

My last article generated a lot of responses – some favorable and some implying I had no clue.  The ones telling me I had no clue mentioned that a huge percentage of Americans use Amazon and they are brilliantly run, etc.  My response is that even if that is true, Amazon is still losing money or at least not making money.  Plus, I don’t know why the fact that you use Amazon to buy a book has much to do with groceries.

Maybe the theory is that someday, once they have put all the retailers out of business they will have a monopoly and raise prices then?

It is a lot like my partner coming in and telling me about a new client that wants our pricing so low that we are losing money.  He then says to me “Bruce, don’t worry, we’ll make it up on volume!”

I reiterate my prediction that Amazon’s ability to destroy the retail world is based on mis-placed hype and an irrational stock market valuation.  I do have to admit though that irrational stock market valuations can persist for a long period of time.

My advice to retailers is the same as in my last article:

  • Don’t freak out – this is a temporary phenomenon – albeit a long one – it will end at some point, and I think pretty soon.  Sooner or later someone more respected than me – like Barrons maybe – will poke at the same hole in Amazon I am poking.

  • Set up your business so that you can survive until the Amazon Retail Distortion ends.

  • Perhaps follow the other suggestions in my previous Real Estate Philosopher articles; namely: (i) don’t try to be “better” than others and instead try to be “different” from others, (ii) sell only exclusive branded goods in your store, (iii) consider yourself as much in the distribution business as the retail business, and (iv) don’t go nuts setting up expensive structures to enhance the consumer’s “experience” in the store, which I bet will get old awfully fast and be intensively expensive and difficult to maintain.