Imagine two people are buying a mattress. We’ll call them Melissa and Thomas.
Melissa can practically sleep standing up. She’s never experienced aches, pains, or discomfort in bed. She doesn’t have any injuries or disabilities either.
Thomas, on the other hand, has severe back pain due to scoliosis. He needs something that caters to his situation to help reduce pain and allow him a good night’s sleep.
He has suffered long enough with a regular mattress and is ready to invest in something more suited to his needs.
Who is more likely to pay a premium for the mattress?
You guessed it. Thomas would probably pay 3-5x the price of a decent regular mattress in order to get a good night’s sleep.
To Melissa, however, mattresses are interchangeable. They’re a commodity. As long as it’s cheap and it works reasonably well, Melissa is happy.
But she will never pay a premium for a mattress since she doesn’t perceive any noticeable difference.
Who will go further out of their way to buy a mattress?
You guessed it again. Thomas would be much travel much further to get a mattress that fits his needs.
He knows the pain of a bad mattress and is willing to find the right one for him, even if it means searching high and wide.
Melissa, on the other hand, will find what she needs at almost any store that sells mattresses. It might as well be the closest one.
Who would be more likely to recommend their mattress to someone else?
All things being equal, people rarely recommend something unless it solves a particular pain or problem notably well. Chances are, Melissa won’t remember what brand of mattress she has, let alone think about recommending it to other people.
Thomas, on the other hand, has slept on a bad mattress before. He’s endured the pain and knows the value of a good mattress. He would be far more likely to recommend the mattress to anyone who complains about trouble sleeping with a bad back.
So what kind of coworking space do you want to be?
Would you rather sell mattresses to Melissa or Thomas?
If you sell basic mattresses (read: coworking experiences) to anyone who needs them, expect to charge little and be interchangeable with the competition.
But if you sell mattresses designed for back pain and scoliosis, expect to charge a premium and have people travel far and wide to do business with you.
A benefit of being highly specific to the demanding needs of your target market is that you can still sell general (and therefore less expensive) service offerings to those with less severe pains. You can capture anyone on the spectrum of a particular kind of pain without selling only niche services.
But you can’t do it the other way around. You can’t sell basic services and pretend it’s going to be A+ to anyone who wants it.
The only way to make your competition irrelevant is to know what problem you’re solving, ensure it is a painful one, and solve their problems better than anyone else.
You’ll worry less about the competition as a result.
And the only way you can know what painful problem you’re solving is to know your ideal members deeply, pick their biggest pains or problems to solve, and then over-deliver on it.
Your marketing will take care of itself.