I started out like many in the PR field, as a generalist Account Executive at a mid-size PR agency pre-Internet bubble. Once the sky started to fall and clients such as Neopets.com disappeared overnight, I was moved to start supporting large financial firms involved in venture capital and leveraged buyouts.
It was a rewarding job, working with these masters of the universe and becoming immersed in the financial media and learning how no news sometimes was a good thing. Two years later, I was lured to the wonderful world of Wall Street, working in PR for a large brokerage firm, promoting financial advisors in their local markets. It was great to travel across the country and drive media interest in local markets help build their brand.
A move across country to sunny San Diego allowed me to head the PR department for a similar brokerage and help craft PR campaigns with some of the larger and reputable independent financial advisors in the country. No one expected the great financial collapse of 2008 and before I knew it, my position had been jettisoned.
Eager to continue my love affair with the financial media, my former employer and I agreed that I would hang out my own shingle and offer my PR services to their clients. I was always an entrepreneur at heart and slowly started the process of founding my new firm, KCD Public Relations.
What I learned early on was that I had a very unique network of contacts and a former employer that was willing to market my business. These factors led me to the easy decision to position my firm as a specialty shop, working directly with financial services firms (and financial advisors) on PR campaigns, leveraging my 10+ years of industry experience. I have found that clients want to work with a specialist vs. a generalist – so every marketing piece for my agency (Web site, social media, brochures, etc) is geared to appeal to a financial services firm.
The results have been tremendous – KCD PR has grown from two initial clients to close to 10 and I’ve been able to leverage more industry expertise to work on behalf of the firm. In some ways it might sound counterintuitive that the more you specialize the more success you find, but that's certainly been my experience. Find what you do best and then reap the rewards.
What have you found in your own business? Are the benefits of specializing worth the perceived risks?