Saturday, January 5, 2008

Scratching A Niche

by Claire E Cunningham

Even if you're selling something with broad appeal - like toilet paper, corn flakes, or cell phone service -- you've probably thought about vertical or niche marketing.

How do you go about it, though?

Here's how to be successful:


Choosing the right market for your service or product is where it starts. There are lots of places to go for insights.

  • Current customers, for instance. What groups can you identify?
  • Take a look at inquiries/leads, too.
  • Talking to sales reps can yield information.
  • Trade publication articles and market research reports can point out trends.
You may wind up with several market ideas. Pick one. It's easier to deal with one new market at a time. Plus, while you're working in this first niche you can establish a procedure to follow in the future.

Not sure how and where to start?
- Call in a marketing consultant for advice.


To become a successful vertical marketer you may need to learn a new language - the jargon of the market you're going after. You'll gain credibility faster by using recognizable images and words.

TRUE STORY: An adhesives manufacturer had a product they wanted to introduce to the hospital market. Their first ads used generic photos and headlines and didn't generate much interest.

Then we brought in nurses who would actually use the new product. They showed us how to depict and talk about the product realistically. The result was an advertising and direct mail program that pulled in lots of well-qualified inquiries.


Once you've picked a niche and learned the language, it's about following the basic rules of marketing communications.
  1. Identify a Central Message. Pinpoint the primary benefit your service or product brings to this market.
  2. Use a Mix. Make use of all the tools you can -- publicity, Internet strategies, advertising, direct mail and more. Build your entire program around your Central Message.
  3. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. It takes lots of exposures for a message to sink in.
  4. Measure and Learn. Look at results. (Inquiries generated are a common measure.) Find what works best.
Is vertical marketing right for your service or product?
Need to select markets and design programs?
- Call in a professional who can help identify markets, analyze potential, and implement communications programs that speak the language.

About the author
Claire Cunningham is the president of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc. She helps companies jump start their sales with increased visibility. For more of her expertise visit

No comments:

© 2008 Business Goodies