About Vickie Sullivan
Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.
Written by: Vickie Sullivan | July 23, 2015
The Difference Between a Niche and a Platform
Had this interesting conversation with a client who was in the throes of implementing his turbo charge findings. He’s working with an agency on getting his marketing tools and sales program out to the market.
He’s hit a snag that we all face: implementers who unintentionally veer off the strategy. In creating the website, no mention was paid to the platform. Instead, killer copy was directed at an industry the client wants more work in. The result: my client looks competent (which he is) but not unique. Because the web designer ignored what differentiates, they’ve accidentally positioned my client as one of many. Bummer.
How this happens: many implementers confuse a market niche with the overall platform. Example: working with xxx (either an industry, such as “software companies”, or a demographic, such as “millennials”).
A platform is the container for what you or your company stands for — the idealized future, the journey, or the impact of your work. The niche is a decision of where you will pitch that platform. A very important choice, yes. But the positioning is based on the platform.
Example of doing it right is an oldie-but-goodie: thought leader Jim Collins. His “from good to great” platform spawned many follow-up books and learning. Notice his niches: large companies, non-profits, etc. But every niche gets the platform adapted to them. The platform takes center stage.
Strategies and implementation are both critical. The problem occurs when one gets in the other’s lane. It’s our job to keep the strategists and the implementers from veering off. Our business depends on it.
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