Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NICHE MARKETING

Concentrating all marketing efforts on a small but specific and well defined segment of the population. Niches do not 'exist' but are 'created' by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other firms, and developing and delivering goods or services to satisfy them. As a strategy, niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond.

For example, sports channels like STAR Sports, ESPN, STAR Cricket, and Fox target a niche of sports lovers. Every product can be defined by its market niche.

NICHE PRODUCT

A good or service with features that appeal to a particular market subgroup. A typical niche product will be easily distinguished from other products, and it will also be produced and sold for specialized uses within its corresponding Niche Market.

NICHE STRATEGY

A marketing approach for a good or service with features that appeal to a particular minority market  subgroup. A typical product marketed using a niche strategy will be easily distinguished from other products, and it will also be produced and sold for specialized uses within its corresponding Niche Market.

Five Stages to Fully Address the Niche Opportunity
 
There are five stages to consider when attempting to address niche marketing opportunities. These stages are strategic planning, defining the mission and objectives, strategies and action, monitoring key projects and objectives, and organizational realignment.
 
1. Strategic Planning
 
 
Strategic planning encompasses many of the issues discussed above, including the assessment of market opportunities, as well as an inventory of internal resources, values, potential strengths/capabilities (addressed in more depth below), and any weaknesses/shortfalls of the current operation. In short, the overall strategy provides a "road map" to attaining the objectives of the operation and its owners, while staying true to their vision and mission.
 
2. Define Mission and Objectives
 
The mission is the operation’s statement about why it exists, and sets the tone of what the company and its products’ image should be at the very highest level of the operation. There should be a broad-based buy-in to this mission from owners, employees, other important stakeholders, and maybe even targeted customers. In essence, the mission explains the culture of the business to both internal players and external consumers.

 
3. Strategies and Action
 
To begin taking specific actions, with timelines and measurable outcomes that will support the broader mission, strategies, and goals of the business, it may be most effective to develop a work plan. That plan should include a key personnel list, timeline for the activity, a list of resources or budget needed to execute the plans, and any other relevant information (partners, pertinent legal or regulatory issues, and connections to other pieces of the work plan). Although a sufficient level of detail on all the actions to be taken may seem overwhelming, it will provide a realistic inventory of what needs to be accomplished and divide the actions into small enough units to facilitate timely
 action (rather than inaction due to being overwhelmed by the scale of larger goals of the company). Remember that actions are both effective and realistic steps to achieving the operation’s strategy. In short, this step requires the operation to build a plan of execution.  
4. Monitoring Key Projects/Objectives
 
Monitoring a firm’s progress towards its goals is one of the most crucial actions during the first years of a new (or significantly changed) enterprise. Determine key projects and areas of potential success within the work plan established above, and then decide on specific measurable elements that will allow the operation to monitor success. These elements should not all be financial indicators, as too many businesses focus on financial goals before they can realistically be met. In addition to monitoring sales growth, visitor numbers, and profits, the operation might also monitor full deployment of resources (land, buildings, employees, etc.), customer satisfaction and return visits, or employee feedback on their participation in the enterprise.



5. Organizational Realignment
 
In order to clearly link the objectives and strategies of any new niche venture, it is likely that the management will have to consider an organizational realignment of resources, human capital and marketing efforts. To be successful in niche marketing, it is important to align the structure and culture of the business and the personal lives of the owners in ways that are compatible with the niche the business hopes to operate within. This may include a change in the levels of family involvement, the privacy or solitude available on the farm or ranch, the choice to "brand" the owners’ family heritage and approach to farming, or even relinquishing control of some business activities to marketing or community partners.



The Decision to Market in a Niche
 
Even after developing a plan to enter a niche market, it is important to pick one point in the planning process to finally decide whether the new niche venture is feasible, and if so, fully commit to the plan. There are a number of elements that should enter into that final decision:
 
 
Acknowledge the present
Be aware of intent/vision
Control dreams
Determine the risks

Note that the first two are deliberate visioning and the second two are bringing realism.



In the end, the management and stakeholders of a farm or ranch must consider how to answer the question of whether their operation needs growth, change, or exit from the market. Niche marketing is only one of the potential enterprise diversification strategies that may affect this "big picture" thinking.
 
 


 

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