How Excellent Niche Marketing Will Lead to Industry Leadership
Nearly everyone goes to the grocery store to stock up their fridges at home. But while some people prefer a classic meat-and-potatoes diet, others are looking for something more particular. They could be zeroing in on plant-based foods or items stamped with organic labels.
The latter are examples of niche markets — those characterized by consumers with narrowly defined needs and preferences.
Grocery chains, meal kit services, and entire product lines have sprung up to cater to those niche consumer preferences. Other companies, like L.L. Bean, have taken a basic need (i.e., clothing) and matched it with specific lifestyle habits.
They’ve built a brand identity on providing functional, high-quality clothing to outdoor enthusiasts through direct marketing tactics. And company leaders went with these tactics at a time when they were just emerging.
Niche marketing methods like these tend to go against the grain of current or general business practices. Instead of following the crowd, a niche approach seeks to establish industry leadership by addressing underserved, unmet, or unique needs.
Sometimes getting ahead means taking risks and making decisions about products that stand for one thing instead of everything. Below are some ways you can practice niche marketing in your industry.
Do Your Research
It’s not enough to know that an overall market exists. Sure, you’re aware that there’s a need for personal injury lawyers. But are there more focused needs within that category your competitors aren’t serving well?
For example, consider clients who’ve sustained traumatic brain injuries because of work-related accidents. Perhaps there isn’t a law firm within a 50-mile radius that’s willing to take on those clients.
Industry, competitive, and third-party research can help you narrow down the challenges that exist in broader markets.
It may be impossible to compete against a big-name law firm that handles a little bit of everything. However, that firm is probably overlooking something or someone by catering to the masses.
By learning what those gaps and pain points are, you’ll get closer to identifying your niche audience. You’ll also have a better idea of what topics and content will help reach them.
When it’s time to design digital marketing strategies, there are thankfully many references to turn to. The law firm in the example above might be especially aided with a source such as “Law Firm SEO“. In Hennessey Digital’s book, the information is there to tailor marketing strategies to your niche market and beyond.
Develop a Unique Selling Proposition
Most firms that excel at marketing develop some sort of unique selling proposition (USP). Think of brands that appeal to the emotional nostalgia behind products or the personal identities of target audiences. In crowded markets, USPs can sometimes be reduced to slight differences between the product and its competition.
Comparative advertising often highlights these variances, such as one spaghetti sauce that’s thicker than another.
With niche marketing, unique selling propositions aren’t optional or diluted. They form the foundation of why a smaller group of consumers will buy from you and keep coming back.
In short, it’s because what you’re selling isn’t available from a competitor. Even if the competition attempts to duplicate what you’re doing, it won’t measure up in the eyes of your audience.
The cult-like following behind Apple’s iPhone is an example. The iPhone only made up 13% of global smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2021. However, it managed to scoop up 75% of smartphone profits and 40% of market revenue during that same time.
The experience of using the iOS interface and the brand’s appeal with creative personalities are arguably responsible. In addition, the brand is typically the first to offer innovative smartphone features and capabilities competitors can only hope to replicate.
Like other products that get momentum from niche followings, the iPhone’s first-to-market features come with a premium price. It’s a markup the target audience is willing to pay for distinctiveness.
Narrow the Focus of Your Outreach Efforts
Narrowing the focus of your advertising efforts might sound counterintuitive. After all, the ultimate goal of advertising and marketing is to generate awareness and lead prospects to your door. Niche marketing, though, often involves reaching hidden or unseen segments.
This means that there may not be obvious or well-documented ways to reach those audiences. There’s probably data that would justify an internet company placing radio ads in rotation on certain stations or affiliates.
But it could be slightly more difficult to correlate media choices for an audience interested in vegan pet food.
You usually have to think outside the box or experiment with well-defined outreach efforts with niche segments. Maybe there’s a vegan lifestyle blog you can submit a guest post to, outlining the benefits of veganism for certain pets.
Perhaps there are certain cities with growing populations of vegans where you can send out direct mailers. You might also consider being a guest on a podcast for pet owners or one that discusses eco-conscious lifestyles.
Whichever outreach methods you choose, think about how your target audience might search for solutions to their needs. Sometimes successfully reaching your audience doesn’t look like marketing or advertising at all.
Hosting town halls, holding educational events, and establishing online thought leadership can be just as effective at generating awareness.
Finding Your Niche
Excellent niche marketing starts with discovering an underserved or overlooked audience within a larger market. Thorough research — including investigating what competitors aren’t doing to solve consumers’ pain points — can lead you to distinct audiences.
Within the preferences and unmet needs of these populations is the idea for your unique selling proposition.
That USP is something your company is willing to create that will gain traction among a smaller — but large enough — segment. And it’s something that others will find difficult to duplicate.
By standing out and narrowing your focus, your brand will begin to lead the way in defining new markets.