Ah, the mainstream – it’s been railed against by hippies and hipsters, and heralded by marketers and consumers. But, it seems, in the age of the internet, the major emphasis of the mainstream is over. HMV and Woolworths are two pretty big examples of mainstream companies who failed to adapt and understand the importance of finding their niche.
So what’s the trouble with mainstream? Crucially, mainstream companies have no identity. That, at least partly, is why you no longer pop into Woolworths for… well… exactly – that’s the problem. What did Woolworths sell? Everything. Who was it for? Everyone. So who shopped at Woolworths? No-one.
Thanks to the internet, identity is king. Opinions are expressed and polarised, with scant regard for nuanced argument or debate. And, being the impressionable creatures that we are, our views – even if they’re wrong – harden in the face of that, becoming part of our identity. Ok, there’s a hint of narcissism in there too, but let’s save that for another day. Online we can effortlessly seek out those with the same likes and dislikes as us. Voila – we’ve found our niche.
Create, Don’t Seek
That isn’t to say that niche markets are always out there, waiting to be marketed. Often, when finding a niche, you’re creating a whole new target audience. You’re identifying needs, wants, requirements of a customer, and forming a niche that appeals directly to them.
Sure, it may seem like a small market. After all, that’s what a niche is. If it was big, it’d be mainstream. Just look at Apple, who’ve defined and perfected their niche. Ok, let’s say you’re in the market for a laptop. Back in the day, it was all pretty uniform. You buy Windows or you don’t buy a laptop. But now? Well, if you’re an elitist with a trendy streak, why not get the uber-sleek and reliable Apple Mac? Consider the fact that no-one needed an iPod when they were first released – there were tons of MP3 players already on the market – but Apple focussed on music-lovers with a little extra dollar to spend.
You know the number one reason to get involved with niche marketing? Because no-one else is serving those people. And that gives your company a serious edge, perhaps even a monopoly, over the competition. Good for business, good for customers who are tired of the same cookie-cutter take on business. One size doesn’t fit all, and it never has.
Focussing on the mainstream risks spreading yourself thin. By targeting one a particular sub-section, you can concentrate on providing a quality service or product – which, in turn, helps your brand grow both financially, and in terms of representation. It’s also a whole lot easier to react, respond, and keep your audience happy within a niche market; mainstream marketing requires keeping everyone happy. And if Christmas Day is anything to go by, you’ll know how hard it is to please a handful of people, much less millions of customers.
Play to Your Strengths
Knowing who you are, as company, is vital if you’re looking to start appealing to a niche. It doesn’t simply mean knowing who your target audience is – although that certainly helps – but also knowing what your business does best. What are you good at, how can you capitalise on it, and who would best benefit from it? This is true for all companies. Even lawyers and insurers have to find their niche – like maritime law, or vintage automobile insurance.
Once you have your niche, it’s time to spread the word. That’s where can help. Combining demographic profiling with professional leaflet distribution, we can ensure your message is heard by the right people at the right time. For more information about our services, simply contact us on 0800 028 6353 and our dedicated team will be delighted to help.