Perhaps the most important decision to make in developing a marketing strategy is to define your preferred target market. After all, it all starts with the customer, their challenges and opportunities and the solutions they seek. A typical approach for owners of relatively new businesses is to set their sights on the market at large – the total population of potential customers for an offered product / service. However, a niche strategy is often more effective. Rather than being an also-ran in a crowded market space it is often better to carve out a niche, a market sector where you can dominate. Those who embrace the idea of niche marketing often find themselves searching high and low for the uniqueness or focus that can give them a sustainable competitive advantage.
A focused or niche marketing strategy can focus or differentiate on Who, What or How. To define “Who” a business can focus on the special wants and needs of defined demographic (La Quinta Inns catering to the business traveler for example). The “What” – the product or service – can be differentiated through new technology, creative packaging, or via new configurations and options that appeal to a specific group (Nike with Air Jordan shoes). To differentiate on “How” the business can develop pioneering delivery mechanisms (Netflix vs. Blockbuster for example), quicker delivery, or an easier-to-do business with experience (Nordstrom). Who, What and How… It is a lot to contemplate when devising a niche strategy but well worth the effort!
To help define Your marketing approach and move you toward your most important marketing decision, ask the following 10 questions to trigger ideas of creative niche strategies:
1) What personal experience have you had that suggests a ready market is out there waiting for a better solution or service?
2) What problem does your product /service solve or what doors of opportunity does it open?
3) According to your customers, suppliers and/or partners – What value does your company bring to the marketplace?
4) What is the perceived value of your products and services to customers and potential customers?
5) What do you know about? What expert knowledge base sets you apart from other players?
6) How does your product / service make people feel? …how is your total customer experience different and better?
7) What are you repeatedly telling / showing / explaining to your customers? …what do they want more of from you?
8) In which areas have you grown on purpose (because of a strategy) and where have you grown through opportunity that pulled you off in a different direction?
9) What do you do best? What is Your Passion?
10) What legacy do you want to leave behind?
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