Q: I have attended several sales seminars on niche marketing. In your opinion what are the major advantages and disadvantages of this marketing approach?

 A: In a nutshell, a niche market is a particular segment of a larger industry group.  A major disadvantage is that it may be too small and, as such, can limit your growth potential. It is, therefore, critical that you do your due diligence in the selection of the market segment you wish to pursue.

 In my opinion there are more pros than cons to niche marketing. They include…

  • Advertising – Marketing to a niche allows you to directly target the customers you wish to reach, thereby savings dollars wasted on promotions to the broad market. Example, placing an ad in a local or regional trade publication is much more beneficial and cost effective.
  • Specialization – By focusing on your niche you will soon become aware of the particular needs of your customer and how best to accommodate those needs.
  • Brand recognition – Over time you will become regarded as a credible expert in your field and the go-to person for your product or service.
  • Bargaining power – Once you have grown to a size where you can deal in high volume, your suppliers will be more apt to allow volume discounts and favorable payment terms. As a market leader you can ask for and demand the best for your customers.
  • Limited competition – The ideal niche market is one that is under-served. With fewer providers profit margins are generally higher. Profit is not a dirty word and you are entitled to a fair profit for the products or services you provide.
  • Longstanding relationships – Because you provide for a critical need, is not unusual for the business relationship to evolve into a personal friendship with the customer. It can be a deep and lasting bond that could never be realized in a mass market where the only consideration is price.

In conclusion, a satisfied customer is always your best advertisement. They will stay with you and, importantly, can be a valuable customer referral resource. A word of caution however, niche markets can be extremely competitive. Although there may be only a few competitors, each one is targeting the same customers. Your mission is to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

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Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples. Business counseling on this and other business matters is available, without charge, from the Naples Chapter of SCORE. Call (239) 430-0081 or visit https://naples.score.org/mentors .The SCORE business office is located at 900 Goodlette Road North, in the Fifth Third branch bank building. Office hours are 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.