Niche marketing is perfect for a smaller business with a commitment to innovation and excellent customer service.
In our previous article, Do You Really Know Your Market?, we touched on the subject of niche marketing and the benefits of focusing on a smaller, specific group of potential customers instead of throwing your marketing efforts to the wind and hoping that your message will be heard by as many people as possible.
To illustrate the effectiveness of this approach, here are some in-depth examples of successful niche-marketed businesses from the corporate world and some suggestions for implementing this powerful marketing strategy in your own enterprise.
Niche Markets – Smaller is Bigger
Many entrepreneurs look at the size of their target market as an indicator of success, hoping to generate a large number of sales from so many potential customers. However, many businesses have bucked the trend and become hugely successful from applying the opposite strategy – when it comes to identifying your target market you should remember that smaller is bigger.
By understanding your market – no matter how small it may be – and by providing your customers with high quality products and innovative customer service, you’ll be able to carve a place for yourself in the broader market as time goes by. Here are some examples of successful niche market businesses which have become global players.
Laurastar – The World’s Finest Iron
Most of us consider an iron to be a very ordinary household item, a moderately priced product that we hopefully don’t have to replace too often and that does the job of removing creases from clothing. However, the Swiss manufacturer Laurastar had a different vision for its irons: the company set out to produce the world’s finest iron, and their financial success speaks for itself.
Laurastar produces high-end, precision engineered steam presses for the upper income bracket consumer. Their irons regularly retail at over R20 000 per unit, but despite this hefty price tag the company achieved a 25% market penetration in Switzerland and has been highly successful in the overseas market too, selling over 2 million units in total. The success of this business is a prime example of how effective niche marketing can be – with the right customer base even the most unlikely sounding product can become a great success.
What Makes a Niche Business Succeed?
Examples of successful niche businesses can be found in practically every market in the world. While Laurastar is an excellent example of a manufacturer, retail and service businesses are in an excellent position to apply niche marketing in their enterprises too. Whatever field your business is in, you could increase your chances of success by understanding the characteristics that most niche businesses have in common:
- Customers Come First – Every good niche business, from a start-up to an established company, makes a huge effort to understand its customers. This goes beyond knowing your target market’s demographics – how old they are, what gender they are, what income group they fall into – it has to do with understanding their outlook on life, their aspirations, and what type of products and services they’d just love to consume.
- Look After Your Employees – Successful niche businesses often operate with a great deal of attention being paid to the job satisfaction and productivity of employees. Because your business is constantly innovating and striving to serve its customers as best it can, your staff will need to be skilled, professional, and happy in order to perform at their best. Talk to your employees about their levels of satisfaction on a regular basis, making it possible for them to voice opinions and suggestions in a friendly atmosphere. You should also offer incentives for excellent work once your business is on a solid footing, creating an extra bit of motivation for your best staff members to shine.
- Stay Ahead of the Game – You may find that other businesses turn up the heat on you where competition is concerned, or your product may reach saturation in its original market. To turn these challenges into opportunities, make sure that you are always innovating and seeking out new niches for your newest products and services. You may even find that there is a global market for your products, and with ecommerce this should be an easy market to tap.