In this post, we will go through the basics of Niche Marketing and discuss how it can be used to bolster your brand through strategically planned campaigns.
Niche Marketing: The Basics
What is Niche Marketing?
In the simplest of terms, a targeted marketing plan that focuses on one specific section of the market is known as Niche Marketing. That specific section is targeted by companies since they have a high potential to become customers or users of certain products and services. Niche marketing strategies focus on strategically selected venues and media platforms to reach out to the targeted consumer base. Niche Marketing strategies don’t require marketers to cast wide nets in the world of mass-media and large-event marketing.
What are some Niche Marketing Strategies?
Word-of-Mouth Campaigns: These types of campaigns are heavily reliant on the conversation among consumers. Advertising or marketing the product in the traditional way isn’t an important factor in these types of campaigns. In word-of-mouth campaigns, brand exposure tends to be low key and subtle. An example of that is a giveaway program at events and establishments where the target audience is usually available. The result of these circumstances is that word of mouth campaigns take a significantly longer amount of time to develop and yield the desired results. On the flipside, the returns can be extremely fruitful as word-of-mouth recommendations are extremely valuable for most customers.
Trusted-Messenger/Endorsement Campaigns: These campaigns hinge on finding some important influencers in the niche market. Once the influencers are identified, a company can sign them up as ambassadors or spokespersons for the company’s product or services. An influencer’s endorsement can go a long way in providing returns. A great example of such a niche marketing strategy is the signing of Wilford Brimley (a beloved actor among the senior citizen age group) as the brand ambassador for firms which make medical products for the elderly. The success of these campaigns is highly contingent on the credibility of the spokesperson and the sincerity with which the endorsement is delivered.
Targeted Collateral Campaigns: These campaigns are reliant on the targeted niche market getting a consistent brand exposure. For example, a radio station which only plays heavy metal and hard rock, will be a great place for electric guitar makers to run targeted collateral campaigns. The reason behind that is that almost every listener of the heavy metal radio station has an interest in guitar-oriented music. Such a specific audience is more likely to pick up an electric guitar as a result of a well placed and well designed advertisement. The brands that implement targeted collateral campaigns can also choose to distribute collateral and attend concerts by artists played frequently on the radio station. The brands can also choose to advertise in local music magazines or entertainment publications.
Who can utilize Niche Marketing?
Niche marketing strategies have been employed by many brands as an integral part of their overall marketing campaign. Niche marketing strategies are especially useful for small firms which make niche products. Since their products are so specific, it wouldn’t make much financial sense to spend money on advertising to the general public. It will be much better to run a niche marketing campaign which targets a specific section of the population.
Even large companies and organizations that offer products and services that are widely used and mass marketed often use niche marketing techniques. Most major car companies, for example, now offer energy-efficient hybrid models of their automobiles that appeal to niche segments of the population i.e. environmentalists and urban drivers with long commutes. They hone in on that smaller segment of their market with high visibility on city highways and in the stores, magazines, and online sites frequented by especially “green” consumers.
Niche Marketing is a great option for reaching out to customers after targeting them because of certain characteristics. These characteristics can include things such as demographic, hobbies, occupation, or commitment to social or political causes.
The following are a few examples of customers who could be specifically targeted during a niche marketing campaign:
- Couples planning for a wedding
- Young professionals
- Pet lovers
- New homeowners
How to develop and implement a Niche Marketing plan?
Before a firm chooses to implement a Niche marketing plan, it has to come up with certain answers about the prospective campaign. Which magazines does the target audience read? Which radio stations do they tune in to? Which websites have they bookmarked? Who do they follow on Twitter? Are their product choices more likely to be influenced by traditional advertising or word of mouth?
A good example of this process is the niche marketing campaign of Pabst Brewing Company.
Pabst’s marketing director decided that he was going straight to the source when researching the brand’s potential niche market. In Portland, very informally and unannounced, he learned what the bike messengers liked about the PBR brand: old school, not flashy or mass marketed, hip and off the beaten path. He learned about how their customers spent their free time, their fashion sensibilities, and their aversion to all things “corporate.”
Once there is a strong familiarity with the targeted niche, the marketing plan can be developed. Every aspect of the plan, beginning with the look and feel of the branding, to the marketing tactics employed (event sponsorship, advertising, giveaways, brand ambassadors), is tailored to the sensibilities and preferences that were discovered during the initial research.
The ongoing niche marketing plan can either be subtle or more obvious depending on the niche’s values. PBR’s marketing director started distributing small pieces of the Pabst swag (buttons, hats, pins) to customers to thank them for their business and to help the brand spread. The company also began sponsoring small events that drew the same crowd. There were no billboards, no commercials, and no big advertising splash. The research indicated that the niche appreciated subtle, restrained marketing that relied on word of mouth over aggressive, in-your-face commercial marketing. That familiarity with their niche customers and the company’s fidelity to its word-of-mouth marketing plan led to the 168-year-old company building an impressive following among young beer drinkers.
What are the types of Niche Marketing Professionals?
Market Research Analysts
What do they do?
Market research analysts research, analyze, and report on key components of the targeted niche market with close attention to identifying trends and competitive insights to help inform the marketing strategy. Effective market research analysts have a strong familiarity with the different types of research options, expertise in gathering and analyzing data, and excellent communications and presentation skills.
Most market research analysts hold a bachelor’s degree in business, statistics, or one of the social sciences and have 1-3 years of related experience.
What do they do?
A marketing coordinator assists with market research and in the execution of the marketing plan. The duties include overseeing events and sponsorships that are geared toward consumers in the niche market, gathering and organizing research data, or helping to write and design marketing materials that are consistent with the overall plan.
To be considered for a position as a marketing coordinator, candidates will generally need a bachelor’s degree in marketing or communications and 1-3 years of relevant experience.
What do they do?
The marketing manager provides oversight on all aspects of the marketing campaign, from research to execution and evaluation of effectiveness. Marketing managers take a leadership role in identifying the niche market, determining the most effective methods of research, and developing the overall tone and tactics of the campaign.
The position of marketing manager is a senior position. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in marketing or communications is required, and some positions will require a master’s degree. Candidates for the position of marketing manager will be expected to have at least 5 years of experience in the field.