Have you been struggling to try to differentiate yourself from others? Did you just hear about the term niche marketing and are wondering what is niche marketing? Well, worry not because today’s blog is all about niche marketing and how to brand yourself differently to become an industry leader.
The term niche market has been thrown about for quite some time, you might overhear a few brand analysts talking about how razer just blew the computer accessories market wide open with niche marketing.
What is niche marketing? Well, according to the Economic Times, niche marketing is a marketing tactic where you channel your resources towards a specific class of people. This tactic helps you create a new market segment.
Although since this strategy is so common you end up either crossing niches with other companies or picking up such a specific niche that your demographic is not enough to support your company.
Most of the time you pick a niche and compete with the other companies in the niche for example, as soon as razer came out with their first gaming mouse, Logitech followed suit and started marketing their high-end mouses as gaming mouses. This keeps happening in the industry but nonetheless, you’re going to have less competition when you start targetting a niche and hence you could end up getting enough paying customers in a particular niche that you can move to other niches or expand your line in the current niche.
Either ways niche marketing is the way in the 21st century and anyone who is not doing this is losing out.
Why niche marketing?
In most markets, the big players have the upper hand. Imagine trying to sell general-purpose computers in 2005, it was really difficult. Every tech giant was selling computers, IBM, Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Intel and so many more companies that it was almost impossible to sell computers unless you had millions of dollars to spend over marketing.
In this scene, razer made the bold move of selling nothing but a mouse, a computer accessory so basic that most computers came with them. To differentiate themselves, Razer branded themselves as a gaming brand, they created a new segment that had so far been completely blindsided in the race to make cheaper, more affordable computers.
As soon as the mouse hit the market, the product was an instant success. Within a few years, everyone knew about this company that sold nothing but gaming mice. With the profit from gaming mouses, they decided to expand their gaming lineup to establish themselves as a gaming tech company that sells everything that a gamer can need.
This obviously worked out for them since their market valuation has now reached close to 500 million dollars and the gaming accessories market is now worth 7.5 billion dollars and is expected to rise up to 15.4 billion dollars by the end of 2026.
Looking at this case study itself, you can tell that niche marketing has quite a few unique advantages over other types of marketing. The one thing you gotta be careful about is how specific your niche is, you might not want to pick a very specific niche since the more specific your niche the lesser the potential customers.
As a small business, you could start focusing on extremely specific niches that you’ve seen around you, this way you can provide a unique value to your customers while evading competition from other players who might be able to provide a similar service or product for cheaper.
Again, when doing this you need to be careful and make sure that your audience is increasing and keep extending your line so that you can target more audiences in the specific niche.
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How to market to a niche audience
First off, you need to understand your own product and have the farsight to see what all your product or service can be used as. Then you have to draw up a plan to see whether you can sustain yourself with the smaller crowd or not. For many companies, scale is a huge factor, so you need to make sure that you check your financials and potential customer base before entering the niche.
Secondly, you should try revolving your brand around the niche, try not to diversify too much into other segments, since your core userbase might not like it. Imagine buying a gaming computer and cosmetics from the same company, it feels wrong.
Don’t just dip your leg in niche marketing, get into it fully. Use targetted ads to reach your target audience. Try building a community around your brand that identifies with the niche for example a gaming accessory company can host multiple gaming tournaments to promote their products.
The less popular way of niche marketing is to design individual products for different niches and market the products to the niches. In this way of marketing, the campaign might be viewed as a gimmicky sales drive rather than an honest community-building attempt.
So far, we’ve been talking about communities and how they are very sensitive to any change. This same audience can also be very loyal. They will buy all your products and share the news with their friends as well. These customers can be turned into ‘fans’. If you do it right, you don’t even need to spend on advertisements, your userbase will themselves advertise for you.
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Case studies in niche marketing
Razer was established in 2005 to make gaming mice. They felt that the industry did not have enough gaming accessories on the shelves, so they started selling gaming mice to start off. Upon the initial success of the mouse, they diversified their lineup to include more than just accessories, not RAZER sells top of the line gaming computers, mice, keyboards, monitors and anything else that can be gaming related.
Razer was founded in 2005 by MIN-LIANG Tan and Robert Krakoff. They set up their headquarters in both USA and Singapore. They released their first flagship product in this period, the black diamond gaming mouse as well. This mouse was marketed as a low latency gaming mouse that boasted more interactive gameplay which brought all the gamers rushing in through the front door.
The mouse was so popular that their next product was a collaboration with Microsoft in 2006 which was a huge hit. Eventually, razer decided to launch keyboards, headphones and finally gaming laptops.
The company sponsored multiple e-sports teams and organised a few e-sports tournaments as well. This helped them solidify their position in the market as an industry leader.
They have now diversified their lineup to include digital wellbeing products, mobile gaming products and gaming laptops as well. This gradual change in the company has so far been greeted with appreciation in the community.
This is why RAZER has been so successful in a segment that they were first to.
2. Flavoured curd
It is difficult to assign a brand who did this first but everyone can agree that it was a brilliant move.
In India, most people believe in making their own curd from milk hence selling curd is deemed as a bad business idea but all of this changed when flavoured curd hit the market. Flavoured yoghurt was no longer marketed as yoghurt with health benefits, rather it is marketed as a sweet refreshing snack.
This idea completely revolutionalised the market. Every company came up with new flavours and new tastes. This way, the companies were able to sell curd at higher prices since sweetened curd was viewed to be more valuable than normal curd.
A similar tactic was applied by Amul to sell more milk. They figured that selling sweetened milk will be more attractive to the younger audience and hence made fruity milk drinks. This idea helped Amul expand on its line of dairy products without having to diversify against its original consumer base.
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3. Whole Foods
Whole Foods is an American supermarket chain that focuses on selling health-conscious products to its customers.
Even within a market that was already saturated with other brands and retail chains, Whole Foods was able to carve out its own niche and succeed in that. They manage to sell healthier products to the customer at a premium which helps them stay afloat and keep their margins high.
As a customer this tradeoff makes sense, healthier products need more care to be made and hence the premium that they pay is an assurance that the product is healthy and good for consumption.
Other retailers such as Target and Walmart still can’t compete with Whole Foods since for health-conscious customers the brand Whole Foods signifies trust and which other brands have not been able to do so far.
This segment of the market is growing at a healthy rate since the number of people realising the importance of a healthy meal is growing every day. Whole foods just made $16 Billion in revenue this year which can help you understand the magnitude of their success.
An often forgotten section of the market is the lefty’s, it’s almost impossible to find stationery that was made for Lefty’s.
Keeping this in mind lefty’s was established to make stationery for left-handed people.
It is estimated that about 12% of the population is left-handed and hence this qualifies as a niche market. Even though just 12% of the population is left-handed, Lefty’s has managed to completely capitalise on this market which gives them the unique advantage of being unbeatable.
Other stationery chains can try and compete with Lefty’s but it makes more economical sense to just sell lefty’s products at your store instead since the company has built a community around itself.
The way Lefty’s reaches most of their customers is through the internet, they use targeted ads on search results that are most likely to be searched by left-handed people such as left-handed scissors. This unique approach of directly reaching out to their customers through targeted ads.
Lush is a makeup and beauty company that focuses on making its products eco friendly and responsibly made. This market is still a small one but it is growing at a steady pace due to climate change being at the forefront.
The products made by Lush are in most ways identical to the products made by their competitors but what really sets them apart is the fact that they care about more than just the quality of the final product, they care about how the product is made, they want to be as transparent as possible.
They educate their customers about how their company is working to make products more sustainable way for everyone. They are trying to make an impact on society and empower others to do so too. This message really resonates with their target audience and can sum up their niche.
Ideas for nice marketing
Now that you understand a bit more about niche marketing let’s talk about how you can market your products in a similar way.
Identify your current users/customers
The first step in this process is to identify your current customers and see where most of your customers are at. This can already give you a brief idea of what your strategy should be in terms of niche marketing.
If can’t see clear patterns in the purchase of your product, try digging deeper into the regions where your product is performing poorly to see what could be the reasons and based on those reasons you can identify who your current customers are.
Creating a plan to acquire new customers
Now that you know your current customers and you have a brief idea about which niche you can market your product in, you can start thinking about new customers. To see new customers you will first need to identify other competitors in the niche, go as far as to guess who could enter that niche.
If you know your competition, you can try out doing them or choosing an even more niche topic. Either way, this is how you can imagine your plan.
Expand within the niche
Now that you have everything set, make sure that you don’t change niches again since this is seen as an act of being unfaithful.
Try innovating new products which haven’t been seen in this niche yet. This gives you a unique advantage over the other companies since as a smaller company you can develop and modify your products very quickly.
A niche is a topic within an already popular topic. Niches are usually less heard of and sometimes not worth going through.
Yes, you should definitely implement niche marketing for your small business, small businesses are going to see the biggest growth with this method.
Yes, you can but I’d advise against it. Marketing in multiple niches is not a good idea because you are then seen as a money hogging company that will go to any extent to make a profit.
You can try slowly diversifying your products until one day you have enough products in another niche. At this point, you can try switching niches.