Find Your Tide Pool: Benefits of Specializing in an Industry

Have you ever stopped to kneel down and look at a tide pool at the beach? Crabs, starfish, snails. They’re very, very small, easy to step over – but each one is its own fascinating, beautiful world, full of creatures singularly adapted to live in that very niche ecosystem. Okay, I’m sorry – I’m not bringing up the beach to make you wish you were on vacation. I bring it up because of a bit of CMW history. Years ago, CMW focused on the work we did (slide presentations, event signage, graphic design, etc.) far more than who we were doing it for. But the truth is, each industry is its own ecosystem – its own beautiful tide pool; each one is nuanced with little details that you only discover if you really get to know it. Why take the time? Well, here are some of the rewards CMW has found in specializing.

  1. Those little details. Barnacles. As far as sea creatures go, they’re…not the most fun. Compared to a tide pool’s brightly-colored sea sponge, they’re dull wallpaper. As it turns out, there are over 1200 different species of barnacles. And did you know they have tiny hairs on their limbs? Did you even know they had limbs? One of CMW’s current services is scientific posters, and with scientific posters, knowing those hairy little details of the industry is essential. We were once laying out a poster and the client supplied to us the board dimensions. We made the poster smaller than the board. Our client questioned this and we assure them that this is our normal process. When the congress supplies the board size that isn’t necessarily the available space on the board. If the poster is larger than the available area the hanging of the poster becomes difficult and there will be tacks covering the content of the poster. We would have never known this had we not been well-versed in the industry, from making scientific posters like this one.
  2. You can’t be “general service.” The ocean is huge – I’m not making a breakthrough here. And while that does mean it’s full of possibilities, it also means – as anybody in Finding Nemo can tell you – that it’s very easy to get lost in. The idea of being a general service model can be appealing; there’s the potential of reaching more clients in more industries, and seeming more adaptable. But it also hinders you in creating a stronger, more unique, more personal brand. With that level of specificity, you don’t get lost in a sea of businesses with similar faces and you shed that vague label of “general service.”
  3. The industry can view you as the best. When a species spends its whole life in an ecosystem, it’s only natural that it grows to be the best at surviving in it. Turban snails draw into the shells and shut their doors to avoid drying out come low tide. Starfish have hundreds of suction cups to cling to the rocks when strong waves crash in. CMW? We invested in color-matching technology to ensure we can exact the splash of our client’s brand down to a science. It’s industry-specific quality control, and clients will take notice – hopefully spreading the word.
  4. Pricing. So, I’ll be honest – there’s not a great tide pool analogy for this one. Sea creatures don’t deal with money or even know what it is. That’d be the easy life, huh? But for us business humans, it’s important. When all these things are combined – your attention to detail, your unique services, and your excellent reputation within a specific industry, firmer pricing for expertise is almost guaranteed. You want a return on investment for the effort you’ve put into getting to know this industry inside and out – and you will get it.

As a business, you want a clear brand, you want a great reputation, and you want your client to see your work as the best that they can get. Specializing in an industry is a perfect way to achieve all of these. Get to know those crucial, product-saving details. Show clients you’re unique, and not only unique – but above the rest. And expect an excellent return on investment. Next time you’re at the beach (I know – I hope it’s soon, too!) take some time to really admire one of those beautiful little, living tide pools. Then, come back to the office and find your own.