While Niche Marketing is the hot topic being tossed around business and digital marketing blogs, the idea behind it is nothing new. Appealing to a small market that’s underserved is a great way to build your brand, especially if you’re just starting out.
Take the founder of Uggs. Bryan Smith got the brand off the ground by selling his boots to surf shops. He learned, through trial and error, that before he could make Uggs a worldwide household name (like they are today), he first had to cater to a small crowd.
“I needed to figure out how to send the right message,” Smith told Business Insider.
Smith had to learn how to “dominate a niche market” before appealing to mainstream consumers. It worked. Friends and family of those surfers started to spread the word, and then a few celebrities caught on and that was that. Uggs were (and are) everywhere. It’s an example of organic marketing at its finest. Finding your consumer is one thing, but grouping them together and appealing to them is what it takes to grow your brand.
Private banking firms have now turned to niche marketing to catch their newest clients. Their reasoning? Using data to find groups of people with the same financial planning needs makes sense. For Credit Suisse, that means serving African Americans, women and members of the LGBT community. According to the New York Times, grouping clientele based on their needs is not a new thing, but providing customized service programs and perks is a trend that is becoming more common.
“We each want to be approached as an individual,” said Pamela Thomas-Graham, head of the division at Credit Suisse and herself an African-American. But, she added: “We know that there are certain segments that have some special needs.”
To be successful at marketing to a niche group, companies have to go beyond dividing their consumers into common sets. It’s about engaging each group based on their needs.
“The point is not that you’re grouping together,” said Lyndon Taylor, a co-leader of the diversity practice at Heidrick & Struggles, a recruiting firm. “You’re trying to provide access to underrepresented groups.”
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