Contact Us

Building Your Digital Utopia

Book - Building Your Digital Utopia
How to Create Digital Brand Experiences That Systematically Accelerate Growth

Building Your Digital Utopia

Book - Building Your Digital Utopia
How to Create Digital Brand Experiences That Systematically Accelerate Growth

Case Studies

Explore our past work and see how we help accelerate long-term, sustainable growth.
Read Case Studies »

Testimonials

Don't take our word for it, see what our clients have to say about their experiences working with Digitopia.
Read Testimonials »

HubSpot Diamond Partner Banner

 

I have worked with Frank and the Digitopia team for many years and have seen firsthand the great work they do for their clients.

Dan Tyre, Director at HubSpot

Events & Workshops

The Digital Utopia Podcast Nav Banner

Weekly Episodes - Listen on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, & Google.

The Digital Utopia Podcast Episode #3

Philosophy 2: Hyper-Specificity

Listen to the episode

 

 

About the podcast

The Digital Utopia Podcast is for SMB Marketers and Business Leaders looking to align their Marketing, Sales, and Service departments so they’re part of one powerhouse growth team.

Each episode will dive into the strategies, philosophies, and tools that will change your approach to organizational growth, give you renewed focus and clarity, and allow you to build a brand that not only helps you stand out—but win.

The Digital Utopia Podcast is produced by Digitopia and hosted by Frank Cowell and Joseph Freeman.

Episode transcription

Frank
Hey, gang. Welcome to the digital utopia podcast episode three. I'm your host, Frank Cowell. I'm joined by my co host,

Joe
Joseph Freeman.

Frank
All right, Joe. Good morning, how you doing?

Joe
Doing great. How are you?

Frank
I'm fantastic. Joe, today, we want to talk about hyper specificity. And for those of you who are here today, and you don't know what hyper specificity is, it's the practice of getting really granular with the buyer personas that you're engaging with, you know, throughout their entire journey, whether it's marketing, sales or service, and getting real specific about the pain point that you're solving for that particular buyer. And the reason this is important is because we live in a real crowded, noisy world today, whether they're your prospects, or they're even your customers attention, you know, is is a very valuable commodity these days. And the only way you're gonna cut through and grab that attention is if you're so specific to where the person engaging with your messaging, says, Oh, that's for me, you know, I get it, that sounds like something that that is my situation, or something I'm interested in doing. And so the hyper specificity is really critical today. It's gonna help you cut through the clutter and create that connection, and ensure that, you know, your your target audiences are actually engaging with your stuff. We're going to jump into some conversations about you know, how to apply hyper specificity. Joe, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on, you know, when you work with people, you know, where you see the pitfalls and where they go wrong. But before we do that, I think there's an interesting sentiment that I want to share. It's one of my most favorite quotes from one of my most favorite marketing sales brand gurus guy named Dan Kennedy legend. You know, he has this saying that, you know, I glommed on to, gosh, 2025 years ago, early in my career, and that is the phrase great brands repel as much as they attract. And so this sentiment, here's what I'm always trying to get people to understand about their businesses, you can't be all things to all people, and you can't even be extremely broad. If you're doing branding, marketing, targeting selling well, you should be turning away people by default of your messaging. And so that really is the sentiment that plays into this idea of hyper specificity. So I want to talk about it today, I want to talk about examples and ideas for how people can do this. And again, the pitfalls. But first, Joe, let's talk about some of the things that you're doing around hyper specificity talk me through, like how you get somebody to understand what hyper specificity is when you first start working, because I know when you first start working with with, with clients, they don't get it. They say they nod their head, they say they get it, and then what you get is not hyper specific. So first of all, talk me through how do you go about explaining hyper specificity? When you work with people?

Joe
You know, I think it's baby steps, I think you have to lay are on well layers of the explanation of hyper specificity, because pretty much 100% of the time when I asked somebody who do you sell to? The answer is something along the lines of we sell to CEOs, right. And that's good. That's good that you know, you're not selling to marketers, or you're not selling to, you know, the the frontline workers, you're selling to CEOs. But we need to go deeper than that. And so then, you know, if you're selling dashboarding software, a lot of them will say, well, we saw the CEOs that need dashboards. But that's not even true. Because most CEOs don't realize they need a dashboard. Most CEOs have a pain, they have a problem that they want to solve, and they don't know exactly how to solve it. So you are actually selling to CEOs who need to be able to forecast, you know, their finances for the next 13 months or something like that. And they don't know how to do it. And in fact, they might not even know that they need to forecast for the next 13 months, they just know that they have a, you know, a projection problem. And so when we start to uncover all of the details of really, what the pains are, we start to get nuances, we start to understand that it's not just any CEO, not every CEO needs that, you know, it's CEOs of certain types of companies that are either progressive or growing, or they're in a certain stage. I mean, there's all kinds of layers to this, that we can uncover pretty quickly. But again, if I were to hand somebody a buyer persona spreadsheet, or you know, a sheet that's blank, and say, fill this out, for me, it would come back very, very generic. And at the end of the day, we are not selling to generic, no face people, we are selling to individual human beings. And we need to understand the specifics of that human being, what their hopes and dreams are, what their their pains are and what they've experienced in the past that's led them to where they are today.

Frank
So let's talk about a couple of things there. So you know, one is the pain point, right, getting specific on that very specific situation that person's dealing with, what is that pain? So that that's one of those things, but then you you mentioned some other things, which is, you know, what is their overall situation? So it's not enough to say CEOs who you know, have a projection problem All right, that's still very broad. And if we look at any company's offering, you could probably sell it to a lot of people. But there is a segment of the population, a segment of the universe that you serve, that you probably serve better than others. And so when we start going down that path, we can get into things around, you mentioned, whether they're like startup or progressive or in growth mode. So let's talk about that. What are some of the other characteristics that people should be considering to make their focus even more narrow to get that hyper specificity?

Joe
Yeah, I mean, we do a buyer persona sheet, you get all kinds of stuff on it, right? You get everything from the demographics, to the psychographics, to some real intangible stuff that that matters. You know, a lot of people will start out with, you know, they are a CEO at a fortune 500 company, they've got a certain salary, they live in Silicon Valley, they'll do all of the obvious demographic type stuff. And that's helpful, that's helpful if you're targeting on line. And if you're using any of the ad, you know, platforms, if you're using Facebook, or using LinkedIn, you need to know that stuff. Absolutely. But when it comes to the messaging, and when it comes to the actual relationship building above and beyond getting an ad in front of them, you actually need to know what these people think, and what makes them tick, and why they get up in the morning, and why they, you know, when they go to bed at night, what they're thinking about, and so, you know, starting to understand what their objections might be in starting to understand what their their daily challenges might be that that's important to go through. And that starts to craft a real person, or at least an avatar of a real person, as opposed to this generic, you know, ideal customer profile.

Frank
Yeah, you know, I, I often tell people, if you can also layer on top of that, you know, the vertical that they're in, even better, right, because then you can start to speak to them in ways where they, they feel like they're, they're receiving a message from somebody in their industry, it feels like oh, they're receiving a message from one of their kind one of their people. I remember hearing a story about a salesperson years ago, I don't remember where I heard this, you folks will have to forgive me, you're gonna hear a lot of stories like this, because I've had many, many stories for many years, and I forget where they all came from. But I remember hearing a story about a salesperson who would sell to podiatrists, it medical equipment for podiatrist, and this salesperson was so enthralled with his buyer persona, what he would do is he would subscribe to all the magazines and the trade journals that the podiatrist would subscribe to. And he read them front to back. And he was just so immersed in it, that podiatrist would swear that when he came in, they were talking to another podiatrist, right, because he was able to be so specific and use their language, that they felt like they were speaking to one of their kind one of their people, right. And so I think that's the thing that is important to keep in mind is that's the, that's essentially what you're after, when you engage with people, you want them to feel like it was written by someone in their tribe. You know, I often tell people a really basic example, you know, let's say you happen to be writing advertising or, or sales letters are some sort of, you know, marketing copy for a weight loss product, who's better to write that copy someone who's been overweight and had that struggle, and then finally beat it, or someone who's just a good copywriter, right, it's always best if it comes from a place of like intimately knowing who these people are. So that's why it's really important to dig into your client base, and really examine Who are these people, they're the ones that we serve better than anyone else. And I think it's real easy to get caught up in the 37 different products that you sell out in the in the 12 different regions. It's really easy to get caught up in that. But I think, you know, if we come back to the fundamentals of, you know, who do you serve better than anyone else, and starting there, I think that's where you start to find gold.

Joe
Yeah, and I think above and beyond messaging, even, you know, in b2b business to business selling specifically, you are, you are buying a person in many cases, you know, the person on the other end is buying your product, yes, but they're buying it from a person and and many times your product, you may or may not believe this, but your product is the same as three or four of your competitors products. And always, always, you know, and as much as you would like to believe that it has something special, and it may, you know, a lot of times any of the three or four of your competitors could serve the actual needs of the prospect equally as well. So at the end of the day, they're buying from a person they're buying from from a relationship kind of standpoint. And so, you know, unlike B to C that that happens in b2c as well. But a lot of times you just have a need, right? You need a toothbrush and you just go buy the toothbrush that's either the cheapest or the prettiest. But there's not a lot of human interaction there. But in b2b there is and whether that humor human interaction comes later like with an actual salesperson, And, or if it comes earlier in their journey through advertisements and through videos, they're watching an education that they are, or I guess, self education through the content they're consuming. It's all really important that the messaging throughout sounds authentic, and actually is authentic. You know, your, I think your example of the weight loss is is a really good one, because who better to write than someone who's been through the pains?

Frank
Exactly

Joe
right, that you're not then just writing about the result on the other side that we all know, you get by, you know, taking the weight loss pill. Instead, they're writing about the emotion they went through on the way to that right. And people resonate with that. When you're at a cocktail party and you you hit it off with someone you didn't hit it off with someone because you talked in generics? generics is that a word?

Frank
is a word. It's a word on the show.

Joe
There you go. It's not because you talked, you know, in general terms, it's because you got down to the same level and you connected on something that you both experienced together. And that's what creates friendships, that's what creates relationships in business is no different.

Frank
Yeah, and you know, it just to illustrate this further, just think about, you know, anytime you've been on vacation, somewhere, you've traveled to a foreign land, and, you know, you're not around people from where you're from. And let's say you stumble across somebody who is from the same town you're in, you know, you immediately feel like, Oh, my God, you know, we need to grab a drink, like, what do you guys do, and later on, I had this experience happened to me in when I was in Puerto Rico. Lots of, you know, mainland citizens go to Puerto Rico. So the fact that you're going to come across a mainland US citizen versus a Puerto Rican citizens, that's not uncommon. But we ran into somebody who is from literally like, 10 minutes from where we live here in the San Diego County area. And immediately I found myself like wonder, what are they doing for dinner, should we get together for drinks like, this was like, I could have met anybody, like these could have been people that I would never hang out with in a million years. But because of that, like, similarity, the connection, hey, you're like me, in a place where they're, you know, you're not next to like people who are live in the same city and whatnot, and you don't have that common connection, like instantly creates this bond and insert instantly creates a tension and you want to pay attention to it, that becomes familiar. In fact, there's been a lot of studies done to show that when things look familiar, or they have proximity, in your mind, the importance you place on that information, or that person go up artificially, at times, you place more importance than it actually is. And so the hyper specificity helps create that helps create that psychological connection. Like this is important. This is for me, this is like me. And so that's why it's really important that, you know, your campaigns or whatever you're doing, you get much more specific with your messaging, you know, the tabloids have had this figured out for decades, man, right? I mean, you're in the grocery store, you look over, you see the tabloid, and they, they get it, they get the formula, they say something like, you know, 37 year old woman from, you know, Saskatchewan, you know, digs a three foot hole in her backyard and finds $47,000 worth of gold, right? Like, they like get real specific with the messaging. Because another thing happens when you get specific, by the way, it's not just the connection, but the believability. Right, the more specific you go in your messaging, the more believable it becomes. So now, this isn't a suggestion that, you know, you just start throwing in random, specific, "facts". But the more specific you can be in your messaging, it's also going to be more believable. So I want to talk about another thing relating to specificity is clients, companies sometimes have a hard time figuring out, okay, we're narrowing it down in a buyer persona. But we're trying to lead them to one of our offerings, and we have, you know, 37, different offerings. So which one do we hone in on? How can we lead them down the path where maybe we can sell them one of any 37? My answer is always No. Right? You have to figure out, where is your best opportunity in the marketplace right now in terms of your offerings? So let's talk about that. What are some of the ways that you find you, you know, you have to work through with companies to understand like, where are we going to start among all of our offerings? Where are we going to focus first?

Joe
Yeah, well, let's first start with with saying that this is one of the hardest conversations to have, especially when there's a sales team involved in the conversation, which there should be, because sales teams want every opportunity available to them, right? They want to have as many inroads in as many talking points as they possibly can to uncover where sale can be made Knight, I get that that makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense until you realize that what a lot of companies have been doing isn't working. Right? They're they're, they're spraying out messages that generically talk about all of the things that they can do. And it's really resonating with very few people and I always have to ask the person that we're working with sales team or not You know, would you rather have 100? People see the ad? And one zero to one people respond? Or would you rather have four people to the ad, and it's so specific to them that three out of four of them respond, that's immediately, you know, a bigger ROI on that. And

Frank
yeah, forget the percentage, right response percentage re is better than one correct.

Joe
And, and it's, it's an easy concept to grasp when you say it that way. But it's hard to actually let go and let that happen. Because that actually means that as you focus on building messaging, and offers and funnels and whatever you're going to do around a specific pain point, and you know, usually that's tied to a specific product, you're kind of leaving the other ones out to dry for a while. And that's just the cold, hard truth, they are going to kind of have to survive on their own while you optimize to create a sales funnel around a specific product, and this is specific pain point. But again, you're going to go deep on that, and you're going to get more return on that, which will then allow you to take you know, whatever you whatever monies you get from that to go, you know, start doing more campaigns on the other ones as well.

Frank
And here's my here's my take on that is that, you know, this fear of like, we're not going to be marketing to those people. Look, when you're trying to spread your marketing across, you know, a dozen different markets and personas and whatnot. newsflash, it's actually not that effective anyway, you're probably not getting much from it at all, chances are the stuff you're getting is a result of some your sales teams networking, maybe some of your other past activities, and past relationships, referrals, you know, especially when it comes to marketing. Right? If you're really broad, I guarantee you, you're not getting much from each of those audiences individually. And if you were to collectively, point all that at a specific audience, you're gonna have, you know, way more opportunities.

Joe
Yeah, yeah. You know, in a very specific example, you know, working with an IT company, where they sell managed services, right, this is, this is setting up your networks, and then monitoring them remotely and making sure that they're proactively keeping everything up, you know, so you have a 99.9% uptime on everything. And I said, Who do you sell to, and they say, well, we sell to CEOs, and we sell to essentially, office managers, right. And so as we start looking at the ads and the messaging and the content they've created, sure enough, all of it speaks to both of them at the same time. And it speaks to both of them in such generic terms, that it kind of just becomes a homogenous noise of we sell it. And we sell it is obvious by the name, it's obvious by the logo, it's obvious by, you know, the homepage. But people don't want to just buy it, they want to buy specific solutions for their specific problems. And the problems that the CEO has that were related to it are very different than the office manager, right, the office manager is part of the day to day, and they are the one who's getting all of the requests from the team saying, my computer's not working, it needs an upgrade, it needs a, you know, it needs an administrative password, so that I can, you know, install new software, they're getting the the day to day they're on the front lines, those pains are very different in the CEO who's potentially trying to, you know, build an infrastructure that is cost effective, and is increasing his margins. And so he's looking at very different things, when he's evaluating it company, then the office manager is, so they cannot be handed the same brochure, the same sales slip, they cannot be sent to the same homepage that speaks about everything, they actually have to be handed messaging that is talking about the pain they're currently experiencing. And when you are currently experiencing a pain, and you get handed a solution, nine times out of 10, you're actually going to pick up and listen and take advantage of that, you know whether or not you buy it, but at least you're going to listen, and you're going to take the next step. Yeah,

Frank
I think that speaks to this idea that, you know, we're always preaching, which is, you need to develop a digital experience for each one of those, you know, it's not enough to just have one that you think, you know, is a catch. All right. In fact, for years, you know, we would help people develop websites. And one of the things that people just didn't understand, and I think largely don't understand that, that hopefully, that we can shed some light on is that I think when people obsess over their website, they're actually that that homepage is probably not as important as you think it is. You know, it's not like everyone ends up on that page. And oh, by the way that one page couldn't possibly address, you know, all your different buyer personas and the pain point situations, you actually need curated specific experiences for each one of those. And yes, you're gonna have some traffic drive into the homepage and some of the other pages organically. But you know, if you're doing it right, those specific audiences will end up in their specific experience by how you're engaging the marketplace proactively. And so that's what's really important is that this I think, hopefully people should will understand that. It's not just about the one website with the one homepage right you need digital experiences for each of these folks. So we were talking about offering, though. And so how would you, let's talk through some examples or like your process for helping a company figure out which offering to focus on first, right? So I have some thoughts, but I want to hear yours first. Like when you work with these companies, we've got, you know, these four different divisions and all these different offerings. Where do we focus first?

Joe
Yeah, that can be different for every company that we work with. Because there are just different internal things going on, you know, whether it's budgetary issues, or departmental discrepancies, what we usually tell people is, let's start with the quickest win, whatever you have the easiest time selling, when you get the opportunity, whichever one closes the fastest. Let's work on that first. And we kind of we kind of snowball it, right? So we work on, we work on whatever they can close, quickest, we'll build a persona around that and around a pain point that they know they can, they can sell easily. And then we step back and do it for the next one. That's the next quickest. And we end up over time, you know, we get some quick wins out of that. But over time, we end up with a funnel with a solution with with messaging for each of the the buyers, each of the pain points, you know, around each of the different products. And so that's usually where we start. Now, again, there are so many intricacies to that, because sometimes the easiest one to sell isn't the one with the biggest margin, right? And so sometimes, depending on why they engaged us in the first place, they're actually trying to get the most bang for their buck right away. I mean, there's a lot of complications.

Frank
Yeah, so what what I like to tell people is that you need to take a look at the marketplace, look at your competitors, do an examination of what you're really great at internally, and go with the opportunity that exists between who's underserved. Where do you have a chance to excel and differentiate in the marketplace? Because let's face it, across all your offerings, you're not necessarily the best in every single one of them. Right? So I would first start with prioritizing. What do you the best at? And truthfully, like, look yourself in the mirror? Not like, you know, the typical, like, chest puffing? Like we're great. And everything we do is great. It's like, no, what are you great at what, you know, what, one or two things. So I would start there is where I always tell people, and it may not be the biggest economic opportunity. But the critical thing we're after is we're after early success, we can create momentum, we talked about that in another episode,

Joe
right? And by the way, you're not the best at customer service. Because everybody's the best at customer service,

Frank
or integrity

Joe
or right

Frank
or family owned.

Joe
Yeah

Frank
or any of those things,

Joe
You're not the best. And even if you actually are the best at that nobody cares, and you can't really prove it.

Frank
People only care about those those qualities after they buy. Correct, right. They don't buy because of customer service, they might stay because of it. In fact, a great book I highly recommend our listeners reading is a book called uncommon service. And Morrison Francis Frye wrote a wonderful book. It's one of my favorite books on this very concept that the reasons people buy aren't the reasons people stay. And then how do you choose those those reasons to promote and really emphasize, you know, your essential, essentially, they're your brand promises. You know, I want to talk about something I mentioned a moment ago about this idea of creating individual experiences for people and why it's so important. Not only is it important to be able to resonate, but it's also kind of an experience that people expect today. And let's talk about why people expect them. So I have an interesting stat here that from Accenture in 2017. In a study that was done, 73% of b2b buyers say they want a personalized, b2c like customer experience. So I think this is a real important thing to take a look at because we have the Starbucks of the world, the Amazons of the world, the Domino's Pizza of the world where the ability to interact with those brands is really seamless. You know it the popular word today is frictionless, the tap tap and you know, pizzas at your door, right? And so those experiences are creating demands in on the b2b side. You know, there's another great book, Joey, never lose a customer Joey Coleman never lose a customer again, talks a lot about this, right? That, that the experience has to be something that's frictionless and delightful. So this is this is creating the need to make sure these experiences are tailored because not only does it psychologically resonate better, but people are just expecting it. You know, Domino's Pizza absolutely creates an expectation for your b2b brand. Right when I can like tap tap and pizzas out my door in 27 minutes like I you know, I start to get spoiled by that as a just a human. And so those expectations Don't you know, confine to you know, in their mind all this is b2c versus they don't think that way. And so for your b2b brand, you have to get specific and create those experiences tailored. Just For those specific situations,

Joe
you know, in b2b world, one of the things that I see happen the most is the breakdown between marketing, to sales and then to service. And I think we talked a little bit about this on a previous episode, but, you know, marketing promises the world, sales promises the world, but it's not always in alignment with what marketing said, and then service gets it. And they don't always deliver the same world, they might deliver a really good world, but it's not the same world that everyone was talking about. And I think that's really important. In your example, it was b2c, but what's really important is that, you know, their ads, say they're gonna do a thing. And then you buy the app, or you get the app and you order the pizza, and you experience it, just like they said it would. And then you go and tell your friends and they experienced exact same thing. So it's seamless across the actual advertising and the, the sales part of it and the service part of it. And if we can move that into a b2b world, it's gonna make your net promoter score go up so much,

Frank
Joe, on that point, that is a great point to end on, as we're running out of time. But that that point of really what you're after is to align that buyers journey experience across marketing, sales and service. And the more specific you can make that to a somebody, the better off you're going to be, the more that's going to resonate, the more they're going to enjoy that experience. Stick with your brand. Buy again, from your brand, have a long, you know, tenure with your brand and tell other people about your brand. So that's ultimately what we're after. For those of you who are listening today, and you know, if we can bring it full circle around hyper specificity, that's why you're doing it right. You're trying to create an experience like no other so that we can develop raving fans. that's ultimately what we're after. Right, folks, thanks for joining us for this episode. Really excited our next episode, we're going to be talking about philosophy that I call slowing down to speed up and so you don't want to miss that episode. If you want to learn more about some of the philosophies and topics that we talked about today, go to buildingyourdigitalutopia.com. We have more information there along with some freebies and downloads and whatnot. But until then, enjoy yourself.

Topics:Podcast

Subscribe to Updates