If you’re a marketer working in a highly specialized industry, you might be wondering about how you can maximize your impact and make your mark.
Being a glass-half-full kind of guy, I thought I’d offer some suggestions to poor, beleaguered marketers working in very specialized industries. Just because your product or service only appeals to a narrow range of people doesn’t mean you can be lazy when it comes to researching your target market. Vermont Wooden Toys, based in the verdant countryside of the Green Mountain State, doesn’t have a flashy website.
Craftsmanship, dedication, and a fondness for days gone by are what Vermont Wooden Toys’ customers expect, and that’s exactly what they get. Voake’s business attracts a diverse clientele – predominantly parents, perhaps obviously – but he also knows that the type of person who buys from him values time, skill, and craft. Many of Voake’s customers also value their children’s safety in the highest regard – so much so that, following a major product recall of children’s toys in 2007 over lead paint fears, customers began flocking to Vermont Wooden Toys in droves.
In addition to knowing everything there is to know about your target market, it’s also vital to know how your product or service will fulfill a need not currently being met by another company in your industry. Small, crowded markets are just as competitive – if not more so – than their larger counterparts. Few small businesses I know of operating in the niche marketing space know how to take care of their customers quite like Pansy Maiden, a handmade bag and accessory business based right here in Boston. All of Pansy Maiden’s products are vegan (PETA-approved, no less), meaning that they appeal to a highly specific type of customer (see point 1).
Pansy Maiden maintains an active social media presence, and they frequently thank and interact with their customers on a personal level, further strengthening their perception in the eyes of both existing and potential customers. Pansy Maiden also go to great lengths to accommodate special requests, such as timely orders for special occasions. Niche marketing isn’t like “regular” marketing, only smaller – it requires an entirely new approach to how you spread the word about what you’re offering. For example, social media advertising has proven increasingly lucrative for small businesses operating in niche markets. When it comes to mastery of social media, Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, knows a thing or two about self-promotion. You could be forgiven for thinking that a bookseller isn’t a niche business, but you’d be wrong. In addition to actively supporting local authors, Powell’s also contributes to online discussions about books and literature in general, uses hashtags to great effect through giveaways and other promotions, and even highlights the work of other independent bookstores across the country. Paid social may or may not be a worthwhile addition to your niche marketing arsenal, but if you’re offering a boutique product to a small market, paid search is virtually essential. The chances are pretty good that, if you’re reading the WordStream blog, you’re probably already sold on the concept of PPC. Even though one-in-ten people are left-handed, products for the southpaw in your life could still be considered a niche market. Numerous software tools – including WordStream Advisor – offer competitive intelligence that can yield remarkable insights into what niche marketing strategies your competition is using, and which are working. Colorado-based winter sports clothing rental company GetOutfitted knew that AdWords was a potential win for them – they just didn’t know how.
Kristi learned the importance of negative keywords, how to manage her daily budget more effectively, and several other valuable lessons that helped GetOutfitted more than double their Quality Score, achieve a CTR 24 times higher than it was before running the Grader, and improve the positioning of their ads, among other improvements. Just because you’re in a niche market doesn’t mean you can’t think about expansion or ways to improve what you’re offering. However, while it’s a good idea to consider expansion, it’s just as important to think about whether doing so is viable. Husband-and-wife team Jamie and Carissa Long are the proprietors of Long Made Co., a boutique home lighting business based in Houston, Texas.
The Longs have been making custom lighting solutions together since launching their company in 2012. However, they are still gauging the market for such products, and are continuing to pour everything they have into running their business the way they have – with a dedication to craftsmanship, and a commitment to providing quality customer service. You might think that nobody knows your business better than you, but you’re wrong – your customers do. Even the best-laid niche marketing plan is doomed to fail unless you’re committed to genuinely listening to your customers. As one of the most awesome companies out there, video hosting firm Wistia rarely have to go groveling for forgiveness on social media. In this example, Wistia recently expanded the number of videos that members with a free account could host on the service from three to fifty. Since launching their free plan just two years ago, Wistia has expanded its user base from 3,000 to more than 110,000.
This is what most people miss the actual net selection as most people just hear how easy it is to go online and make money yet they go in with no focus and direction. And it's true that most marketers probably think that being in a small niche market is a disadvantage.
I think it's best to be a Big Fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in the big ocean.

This is a€?The Marketing Strategy Processa€?, section 7.2 from the book Modern Management of Small Businesses (v.
This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book. PDF copies of this book were generated using Prince, a great tool for making PDFs out of HTML and CSS. For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. DonorsChoose.org helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators. Explain why segmentation, target market, differentiation, positioning, and website decisions are so important for the small business.
The focus of this text is on the management of the small business that is up and running as opposed to a start-up operation. The marketing strategy process consists of several components (Figure 7.1 "Marketing Strategy Process"). The vision statementA document that articulates the long-term purpose and idealized notion of what the business wishes to become. Both the vision statement and the mission statement must be developed carefully because they a€?provide direction for a new or small firm, without which it is difficult to develop a cohesive plan. For small businesses that already have, or are looking to have, a web presence and sell their products or services online, e-marketingInformation technology applied to traditional marketing. With its focus being on achieving the marketing objectives, marketing strategy involves segmenting the market and selecting a target or targets, making differentiation and positioning decisions, and designing the marketing mix. The marketing strategy process consists of company vision, company mission, marketing objectives, and the marketing strategy itself. Small businesses should limit the number of objectives to three or four to increase the chances that they will be achieved. E-marketing and traditional marketing should be integrated to create seamless marketing strategies and tactics. Marketing strategy involves segmenting the market, selecting a target or targets, making differentiation and positioning decisions, and designing the marketing mix.
Develop the marketing objectives for Franka€™s All-American BarBeQue restaurant in Darien, Connecticut.
Explain the differences between an onground marketing strategy and an online marketing strategy. Some marketers mistakenly believe that being in a niche industry is a disadvantage, but it’s all about how you look at it. In fact, running a business offering a product with limited or niche appeal can make it even more difficult to figure out who your ideal customer actually is.
It’s not enough to know the basics – age range, income, marital status – without a deeper understanding of more granular attributes your target markets might have.
Each piece is handcrafted by proprietor Ron Voake, who knows that his customers aren’t looking for bells and whistles – they want authentic, handmade toys made with love.
The surge in interest even caught the eye of The New York Times and NBC News, providing Voake and his company with the kind of publicity and free marketing money can’t buy. For this reason, it’s essential that you genuinely think of the customer first, and make this commitment to excellence a cornerstone of your niche marketing strategy.
However, while Pansy Maiden certainly know their target market, it’s their consistently excellent approach to customer service and putting the customer first that sets them apart.
Overall, doing business with Pansy Maiden is a genuine pleasure, and one that has enabled the business to expand its loyal customer base in just a few short years. It’s crucial that you assess the strengths of any marketing channel in relation to your business. However, the granularity of the targeting options offered by Twitter, Facebook and the like may not necessarily be cost-effective for your business, as social media platforms know exactly how valuable these targeting options can be. Selling books requires an extraordinary breadth of knowledge and a great deal of strategy, both of which Powell’s has in spades – it’s not known as “the legendary independent bookstore” for nothing. Include long-tail queries as well as high commercial intent keywords, optimize your campaigns for mobile (and be sure to make use of the appropriate ad extensions), and get your message in front of the right people.
Many small businesses claim that PPC doesn’t work for them, or that they can’t compete with the big retailers, but in many cases, that simply isn’t true.
This small store on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf proves that PPC can be highly valuable for small businesses, especially those catering to niche markets. Fortunately, you don’t need to resort to corporate espionage to get the dirt on what’s working for other companies in your niche.
After trying to manage their PPC campaign themselves, they decided to enter a competition that WordStream ran last year. Alternatively, evaluate the strength of your own AdWords account for free in 60 seconds or less! It’s crucial that you do what you do well, but don’t discount the possibilities of opening up your product line or serving new target markets. Having grown their business through popular online marketplace Etsy, the Longs are now looking to move beyond the lighting vertical to include home furnishings and decor.

However, it’s a hell of a lot less work than mitigating the damage of a negative review, fighting a tide of critical tweets, or trying to convince new customers that you really do care when your previous actions say otherwise. However, that doesn’t mean that Wistia isn’t constantly listening to its customers and providing them with what they really want. The response on social media was immediate and overwhelmingly positive – and Wistia was quick to act on the goodwill.
This kind of success simply isn’t possible unless you listen to your customers, provide them with an excellent product, and remain committed to their success and not just your own.
If you’re a marketer working in a highly specialized field, I’d love to hear what strategies have been working for you.
The startup perspective is an interesting one, especially considering how many new startups seem intent on "disrupting" niche markets that aren't even in need of innovation. I especially liked the bit where you spoke about how crucial t is to genuinely want to help solve the problem in whatever your target market is. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. As a result, the considerations of marketing strategy are twofold: (1) to modify or tweak marketing efforts already in place and (2) to add products or services as the business evolves. Each component should be considered and designed carefully: company vision, company mission, marketing objectives, and the marketing strategy itself. It has been recommended that small businesses limit the number of objectives to a maximum of three or four. Social media is simply unbeatable for instantaneous feedback on your product or service and how well you’re doing at keeping your customers happy. Wistia knows that customer happiness is everything – even customers who aren’t paying subscribers.
You may also download a PDF copy of this book (38 MB) or just this chapter (3 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline). In some instances, it may be appropriate and desirable for a small business to backfit its marketing activities into a complete marketing strategy framework.
Although input may be sought from others, the ultimate responsibility for the company vision and mission statements rests with the small business owner. If you have fewer than two objectives, you arena€™t growing your business like you should be in order to keep up with the market.
Differentiation refers to a companya€™s efforts to set its product or service apart from the competition, and positioning is placing the brand (whether store, product, or service) in the consumera€™s mind in relation to other competing products based on product traits and benefits that are relevant to the consumer.Dana-Nicoleta Lascu and Kenneth E.
Whatever your situation, you need to scrutinize the potential return on investment of any niche marketing strategy to ensure that you’re reaching your target market in a cost-effective way.
Experimentation can lead to valuable new opportunities, but only do so if you can afford to conduct a thorough evaluation of your new ideas without compromising the quality of your existing products and the standard of your service.
If a customer has a problem, do everything in your power to solve it as quickly as possible. In niche marketing, you need to listen carefully to what people are saying, and act immediately to rectify your mistakes.
This kind of responsiveness not only generates a lot of positive buzz, it also helps businesses with small (or nonexistent) budgets grow, a win-win for everybody.
The creation of marketing objectives is one of the most critical steps a business will take.
It’s hard to understate how important this is – just because your operation may be small or you’re marketing a niche product doesn’t mean you can slack off when it comes to taking care of your customer base. It should address what business the company is in, the companya€™s potential customers, and how customer value will be provided. The company needs to know, as precisely as possible, what it wants to achieve before allocating any resources to the marketing effort. If a small business has multiple marketing objectives, they will have to be evaluated to ensure that they do not conflict with each other. But they were not focused on legitimately helping the consumer, and viewing the situation from their shoes. It has been said that a€?in some cases strategy just happens because a market and a product find each other and grow organically. So there's the secret, for all of the people still looking for a "secret", you have to solve the problem in the market for that niche, and put yourself in the consumers shoes. It should be developed from the customera€™s perspective, be consistent with the vision, and answer three questions: What do we do?

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