When it comes to marketing, many small business owners believe that the best way forward is to project a somewhat generic image to appeal to as many people as possible. While it’s logical to seek broad demographic appeal, the truth is targeting and pursuing a niche audience will pay greater dividends in today’s marketplace.
The era of mass marketing is over
There was a time when brands great and small aspired to be all things to all people. However, the rise of the internet has allowed for highly specialized companies to succeed by catering to individual consumers’ idiomatic interests that were ignored by larger established brands. Companies like LuluLemon, Zappos and Netflix have disrupted their respective industries by meeting the need for stylish athletic clothing, custom fitted shoes and instantly accessible on-demand media content. As this Ad Age article explains, in an era when even Walmart acknowledges the need to move away from mass marketing, smaller firms would be foolish not to follow suit.
You can’t be Coke, but you can be Jones
Together, Pepsi and Coca-Cola account for 69.8 percent of the U.S. soft drink market. As such, it stands to reason that a small company trying to take on those two brands would have an extraordinarily difficult time trying to supplant America’s favorite cola makers. That said, companies like Jones Soda, Ramune and Lester’s Fixins Sodas have enjoyed tremendous success by producing soft drinks with bold and original flavors that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to a broad audience. As this Entrepreneur piece rightly notes, it’s almost impossible to make soda that will appeal to the whole family, but there’s a killing to be made in going after the kids’ sweet tooth or mom and dad’s craving for something savory.
Niche offers small businesses economic advantages
A company should also position itself as a niche brand because it makes the most sense from a marketing and economic perspective. Having limited resources, small businesses simply aren’t able to stand toe to toe with major brands through traditional advertising channels like TV and print. However, the playing field is effectively level on various online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and email. Also, a firm that specializes in selling niche products can maximize their outreach efforts by targeting pre-qualified potential customers instead of wasting time and money pursuing a disinterested general audience.
This article was written by Mario McKellop of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.