If you're working in a B2B service business, and your target market doesn't have an obvious convention event, there's a good chance you have a positioning problem.
Event organisers create conventions when there's value in bringing together a like-minded group of people. Value to the audience in networking with each other, value for external providers looking to access the audience.
If you've selected a target market, and it doesn't have a convention or association, it probably means one of the following is true:
- The audience you're targeting is so broad that there would be no networking value for an attendee as there is no pre-existing community. For example, 'B2B business' is not a community. It's too broad, and an organiser would struggle to create an event that offers real networking value.
- The audience you're targeting is too small, which means there isn't any money to be made for an organiser to create an event that brings these people together.
Seth Godin would call this a viable audience. If you can't identify the convention that brings your target market together, either you don't have a position, or the market doesn't exist.
From day one, if your positioning is centred on a horizontal position (the audience, e.g. architects) rather than a vertical focus (the service, e.g. SEO), you're setting yourself up for a struggle if you don't select an audience with an established convention event.
If there's no convention, there's no community, which means you'll get no word of mouth or referral business. You'll have to do all the heavy lifting yourself, and your great work won't gain any natural momentum. People won't share what you do among their network or take you with them when they work for another employer that will likely need your service.
H/T David C Baker for the idea in The Business of Expertise
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