My last article “Lemonade Marketing” generated several funny replies plus some interesting questions about defining niche versus demographics marketing. In this article, I will share my thoughts on these interesting and important marketing considerations.
First, some definitions: Niche is usually a group of people who share the same area of interest. A demographic is a larger group of people who may have different interests and concerns.
For example, as a homeowner, you may be interested in improving your lawn, while another homeowner may be concerned about a roof leak. Essentially, if you try to market to “homeowners,” you are probably making a mistake.
Over the years, I have seen businesses spend a lot of money trying to apply a demographic approach. They usually do not recoup their monthly advertising outlay.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to flip through the Yellow Pages and realize that a large number of businesses think demographic marketing works. Unfortunately, they are spending dollars to chase the wrong rainbow, and when they discover that targeting a specific “niche” is more profitable, the floodgates open wide.
Some businesses think “laser” targeting a niche means they will make less income. In fact, the opposite is true. When you target a demographic, you are using an expression that I have used in the past: “Just throw marketing ideas against a wall and see
This is an expensive way to market.
If you target a niche, you focus on the needs, concerns and wants of the people within that niche. Everything you do, either using traditional or technology techniques, is focused on solving the problem/issue of the potential user of your product or service.
So what is next?
I suggest you sit down and look at the demographic you have been targeting. Determine what your business offers to a niche within your demographic. You will quickly see that while you can target more than one niche, your marketing efforts/promotions should be completely separate for each niche.
As an example, you manage a real estate business and you have been targeting homeowners and buyers. You have been doing this for years without thinking about specific niches. Using this strategy, you have lumped your firm with all other real estate businesses who are also appealing to the same audience.
Using niche marketing, you can zero in on a specific market.
As an example, let’s say you have become known as a “short sale expert” in your area. You would market this ability to a “niche” audience who are looking for this type of real estate transaction. The potential of gaining additional potential clients is immensely improved.
Note: Type in “Savannah short sales” or any other combination into your favorite search engine and see the results.
In my experience in marketing on the Internet, businesses that are using “niche” marketing are winners. With this said, using our real estate example, it is OK to use demographic marketing as an introduction to your overall real estate portfolio of services.
By using niche marketing, you create an independent Internet website (landing page) that specificity focuses on your product or service.
Some local businesses are almost there with their “niche” marketing effort: Barroll and Barroll real estate with their niche of promoting Ardsley Park homes; Cora Bett Thomas and Celia Dunn with their promotions of historic Savannah, attorney Howard Spiva who highlights each of his eight practice areas on the Internet and Kennickell Printing with their effort to gain convention and visitor bureau business.
Remember, you must also use this “niche” approach in your traditional marketing efforts. Regardless of the marketing approach, keep the “niches” separate. I suggest you appoint someone within your business who is directly responsible for handling this part of your business.
I know it is difficult for most businesses to ignore the urge to seek a larger audience rather than focus on a smaller group. But it is difficult for a majority of small businesses to effectively market to everyone and expect to be recognized as an “expert” in their field. There is an old saying “jack of all trades, master of none.”
Think niche marketing and reap the benefits.
Chuck St. Arnaud is the chairman emeritus of Sysconn New Media. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 912-224-2017. Go to his blog website at chuckstarnaud.com.