“We Specialize in Everything!” So….. nothing?

When you’re a communications nerd, married to a marketing nerd, you have hour-long conversations about a sign on a beauty shop pronouncing “We Specialize in Everything.”


This happened at least five years ago, yet it sticks with me today.

I also cringe when asking for a particular audience I hear “The general public – really it’s everyone.”

The thing is, this broad-brush approach to saying you’re everything to everyone in essence says you’re nothing to no one. It shows little-to-no strategic planning or empathy for your audience which is ineffective at best and off-putting at worst.

It’s a common mistake and an understandable one. When you’re so close to your product, message or content, to you it all shines like a favorite child. You see each piece as critical because it’s a service you perform well or a piece of your message you reaaaaally want to sink in.

Here is when you need to take a step back and ideally get an outside mind to help hone what you’re really looking to do.

The owner of that salon needed someone to ask, who is your ideal customer? What is important to her? Why would she come here instead of the shop down the street?

She needed someone to help her form a strategy and tailor her message. Speaking to a group to gain the attention of some select members is never as effective as speaking to those individuals directly.

Which is more likely to get your attention:

“Hey, everyone currently inside of a building, I have something that will interest you.” Or:

“Mid-career professional who could use some tips on how to communicate more effectively, this will help.”

Putting aside the improper use of “specialize,” reading “We specialize in everything” on a store front or between-the-lines of a brand’s communication, won’t make your customers think you do everything well. On the contrary, it says you do everything OK-ish.

But, who’s looking for OK?


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