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Why Specialization is Incarceration

Why Specialization is Incarceration

We live in an age were advanced specialization is not only rewarded but is required. In technology, engineering, medicine (and nearly every other field), it’s necessary to identify and articulate the exact thing that you’re best at with immense granularity. The principle of specialization has several positive consequences including more production, lower production cost, and faster advancement, permitting consumers to benefit from greater quality and quantity of available goods. This is not the type of specialization that we’re refuting.

As a digital marketing company, we’re highly specialized ourselves. We have to be. However, specialization becomes risky when the person or company is so focused on granularity they no longer stay up to date with the field at large.

So, pay attention.

More often than not, this is what we find when we compete against other digital marketing companies who focus on a specific vertical i.e. we’re (fill in the blank) agency and we only work with (fill in the blank industry). The minute I hear this, I’m immediately suspicious. Does this other agency have actual credible expertise? Is this field so highly specialized that it might require specialized strategist or content writers? Or, is this ‘specialization’ code for “we’re going to treat you like everyone else, and you’ll get what everyone else has gotten”? At a certain price point, chances are you’ll be receiving the same royal treatment as the company that signed on before you and after you.

Find the right marketing partner

If you’re seeking a digital marketing partner and you’re zeroing in on a company that specializes in your field, you need to ask these specialists the following questions:

  1. How did you determine this field of focus?
  2. How do you mitigate conflicts of interest?
  3. How do you keep your content and design unique and original for each of your clients?
  4. Is everything original? Or, is everything templated?
  5. How do you stay up to date in your general field? After all, it’s tough to be a master of 2 industries.
  6. What was the last project your company worked on outside of the industry? How did it go?

If the answer to any one of these questions gives you pause, you may ask yourself if their focus actually matters to you at all. Don’t get me wrong, when you do well for one hair salon, their competitors will come calling. Familiarity with various industries can happen by accident, but the systematic decision to exclusively work with (fill in the blank industry) has never appealed to us. Here’s why. It’s because this type of specialization is incarceration. It’s a trap of monotony.

Specialization at this level can lead to:

  • Routine thinking and process.
  • Prioritization of the specialized field over your own. You can be too close to the forest to see the trees.
  • Assumptive recommendations and decision-making.
  • Lack of creativity.
  • Advanced content, but not advanced execution.

Ultimately, if one of your criterion in choosing a marketing partner is that they specialize or have had lots of experience in your given field, understand where that desire is coming from and ask yourself if it’s a real need, or not. In our experience, specialization can come in handy in the content creation process; however, if you can align yourself and the project with the best writer for the client and execute every other digital marketing component with ease, you’re experiencing the best of both worlds.

Not sure if your project requires specialization? We’re happy to help you find out.

Brooke Heffernan
Brooke Heffernan
Partnership Director
Apr 5th, 2018 • Business Development, Marketing

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