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Business Marketing

The Marketing Sweet Spot

concept from Harvard Business Review

What’s in the Sweet Spot?

What is in the sweet spot in your market? Several companies like Redfin are seeking a targeted sweet spot that they feel no one else can touch- in their case it’s techno types (although they swear it’s not). But what about in your market?

Is it lit sale signs? Is that unique enough that competitors can’t touch you? Or is it your email campaign, your blog, your television commercials, your print ads, your hosted happy hours, your involvement with social media, or your charity work? Is the sweet spot in the appearance of your marketing, your copy, your tone, your font choice? Is the sweet spot in your commission structure offerings, your rebates, your donating 10% of all income to Habitat for Humanity? Is it in your designations, your eco-broker title, your GRI, NAR, TAR, etc written on your business card? Is it in your wardrobe, your hair style, your awesome shoes?

Where exactly is the sweet spot for you? Could it be a multitude of the aforementioned? My feeling is that most people don’t realize there’s a sweet spot that their competitors can’t touch. Many think that business is simply going with the flow and simply trying to do things better or differently, but in every situation, there is always a sweet spot that no competitor can get to, no matter how hard they try.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Matt Wilkins

    July 7, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I agree that there is a both a market and personal sweet spot. Finding that target demographic through prospecting or spheres of influence that you are most comfortable working with and that create a steady stream of repeats/referral business is a key part of long term success.

    Example, I consider myself fairly tech savvy. I use a blackberry to be able to instantly communicate in several different mediums (many of my clients do not prefer phone communication). I also offer esinging of documents to streamline the preperation and delivery of required documents (also saves on gas and helps keep offers legible by the time they get to the listing agent to present to the seller). These are two of many systems I employ to attract clients who expect curent technology when dealing wiht a Real Estae Broker.

  2. Jennifer Rathbun

    July 7, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Commenting so I can see all the other coments…

    Commitment – Integrity – Diligence – Honesty – Energetic

    That’s why I would work with me. They may not be new ideas, but they are core values. Then I add in all the techy up-to-date gadgets, community involvement, Realtor board participation, training….

    And a heart to really help my clients.

    At least that’s why I’m here.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    July 7, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    As I am reading this post, I am in a hotel 3 hours from home, preparing to teach a Marketing GRI class for 8 hours tomorrow – 8 hours isn’t enough time to go over the marketing plan that agents should have.

    There are tons of consumer surveys out there, but mostly people are looking to know that you care and that you can communicate with them on a level that they can appreciate. What’s my “sweet spot?” Knowing that whomever I decide to work with cares about me and my family. Pushing to re-invent the industry is all fine, well and good – but if you leave the client out of the equation than the nicest personal brochure and all the “ribbons” you have on your name tag don’t mean a whole lot.

  4. Rich Jacobson

    July 7, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    It’s the CRAB. Lots of fresh, delicious Dungeness Crab…boiled up and chilled over ice. Dipped in drawn butter or cocktail sauce. Does it every time!

  5. Bill Lublin

    July 8, 2008 at 2:36 am

    I have to disagree with Rich (something that is fundamentally abhorrent to me) though I would agree that CRAB does serve a specific demographic, to me the sweet spot is a Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae served with a warm brownies, figh quality vaniall ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and fresh sliced strawberries.. Now that’s a sweet spot!

    On a business level it is where unique company specific marketing meets the needs of the consumer (at least to me)

  6. Matt Fagioli

    July 8, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Great Stuff. It’s amazing when an agent or a team hits that sweet spot. At that point they can stand head and shoulders above their competition — in that specific niche.

    I don’t think it’s one thing, like a blog or a logo or whatever. Rather, it’s a chosen set of features. So, you have to select 5 or 10 key things that — as a package — come together to represent your sweet spot niche.

  7. Paula Henry

    July 8, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I will err on the side of caution, by agreeing with everyone here.

    Crab w/ butter for dinner, followed by the sundae. Either of these would win my business.

    It is the moral, ethical values of caring about your client first, combined with the tech tools, blog, internet presence and market knowledge(pick your 5 or 10), along with the ability to clearly define the benefit to your client.

    I agree it’s not just one thing – every client has different needs. I’ve had clients choose me because of my marketing, others, my passion, while others just wanted someone to translate the data and walk them through the process.

  8. Julie Emery

    July 8, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Tom Peters put together an exercise for Fast Company magazine quite a few years ago now. The idea was to create a unique value proposition for yourself, one that captured who you are and what benefits that brings to a prospective client. (Somewhere I’ve still got a copy of that. Great exercise!)

    To me, that’s the sweet spot. It’s marrying the unique “You” proposition to what the unique needs of a client are. And, finding a way to market that proposition on a larger scale than just one to one.

  9. ines

    July 8, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Rick is Miamism’s sweet spot! 🙂

  10. Ken Smith

    July 9, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    “…but in every situation, there is always a sweet spot that no competitor can get to, no matter how hard they try.”

    You are looking for something that can be copied, but never duplicated. What can you do better then the rest that even when they attempt to copy your system they just can’t duplicate it. When you find that you know that you have found your “sweet spot” IMO.

  11. BawldGuy Talking

    July 10, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Yer generatin’ lots of thinkin’ out there, Lani. Good stuff.

    Josh and I have dedicated much of our time this year to totally retooling our firm’s marketing approach, and it’s goals. WAY time consuming.

    Bottom line though, is what it’s always been.

    The common denominator in all the different sweet spots out there is RESULTS. Results for your clients first. Do that well enough and long enough, and you’ve found your own spot.

    Sounds like I understand marketing, but truth is, I hafta look it up every time I talk about it. As we retool, we’re callin’ in lots of ‘guys’ to tell us which way is north on the marketing map. 🙂

    Nothing replaces results.

  12. Eric Blackwell

    July 10, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Very well said, Ken! Ask yourself “who is the customer that I can server BETTER than anyone else. The one I can reach the most effiectively and add the most value to.”

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