Niche Product Marketing
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    Niche Product Marketing Niche Product Marketing Document Transcript

    • Niche Product Marketing:Embracing Innovation in the Social Era
    • ForewordBefore search engines came in, reaching out to prospective customers was an expensive affair.Fresh products were a relative rarity because few businesses could afford the marketingexpenses to fight the incumbents. Small businesses could at best fight the bigger players at thelocal level. Specialty designer boutiques survived on lower volumes by setting relatively higher margins per sale and catering to exclusive local clientele. Other “I don’t want to be a smaller businesses survived in regions where large players had small fish in the ocean. not yet made their presence felt. I am the ocean!” The coming of Google changed everything. Finally businesses of all sizes could fight alongside each other for consumerattention, based purely on the merit of their products- not capital. Genius overtook corporatebureaucracy almost overnight. All you had to do was build products that consumers neededand they would seek you out. Search engine optimization and adwords became necessaryknowledge tools for the online marketer. And the marketing world forgot all about “needarousal”! “I have an 85% bounce rate… myBut what about the niche players in unborn SEO says I must write content tocategories? How would you optimize your site to match the popular keywords”sell a product through search if nobody even knowsthe category yet?The newer startups offering niche products in unborn categories are being convinced by the‘SEO gurus’ to boost hits by broadening their content. The result? A gradual dilution of theniche! Ambitious products are steadily evolving into generics attempting to claim the rabbit’sshare of the lion’s market.But now the niche is making a come-back. The era of search is now getting replaced by a morepowerful one- an era that brings people and minds together, reshaping marketing thought. Theera of niche businesses in niche markets- the era of Social Media!
    • Table of Contents Foreword ............................................................................................................ 1 Introduction ........................................................................................................ 3 Niche Products and Game Changers ................................................................... 3 The Failure of Search .......................................................................................... 3 The Long Tail of Search .................................................................................... 4 The Relevance Paradox .................................................................................... 4 Reaching Your Customers ................................................................................... 5 Identifying the Key Customers ......................................................................... 5 Empowering with the Right Tools .................................................................... 6 Driving Passion through Personalization .......................................................... 6 Plugging the Holes ........................................................................................... 7 Maximizing the Passion Chain .......................................................................... 7 About the Author ................................................................................................ 8 Copyright © GoJeeno 2010 | Niche Product Marketing | http://www.gojeeno.com
    • IntroductionThe greatest advantage of game changing startups often becomes their first hurdle- they areNOT mainstream. The advantages of having a unique product, monopolizing a niche market aremany. But that comes at a price- nobody is looking for you!Niche Products and Game ChangersAn increasing number of startups are providing products and services targeting a highly focused customer niche. To quote Guy Kawasaki, the art of innovation lies in developing unique products that provide a high value to consumers. A decade ago nobody was actively seeking a touch-only mobile phone with just one button. So how do these niche products and services break the initial inertia?The Failure of SearchSearch engine marketing has been a blessing for small and medium business over the lastdecade. Content and quality have allowed SMBs to fight and steal market share from largerbusinesses.The success of search Nobody wakes up in the morning wanting to buy a robotengine marketing is limited made from household appliances.by keyword focus and thenumber of search queries.By loosening the focus of keywords, you could get displayed on a larger number of queries.However, this would be less meaningful to a consumer, and therefore result in lowerconversion rates. A highly focused keyword set implies a lower reach, but higher conversion rates. Search engine marketing is therefore invaluable for low capital mainstream players. With a huge market size, even a negligible share of the total market could make ends meet.Unfortunately, this mindset breaks down with niche product offerings due to two majorreasons: Copyright © GoJeeno 2010 | Niche Product Marketing | http://www.gojeeno.com
    • The Long Tail of SearchThe long tail effect refers to the property that a disproportionally higher majority of somethingoccur at a large number of low frequency ‘events’. Search volumes are intrinsicallycharacterized by the long tail, resulting in two observations of interest to the niche businessowner. First, while the search volume for niche products as a whole is greater than generic brands, the demand for each particular niche is low. Second, since a consumer searching within a particular niche is more focused in that domain, advertising across niches results in poor clicks and conversions. In a final attempt to win more hits and audience, the business owner is forced to follow the advice of SEO gurus- target high frequency keywords and effectively dilutethe essence of the product. To make matters worse, the actual customer base that was initiallytargeted gets alienated and the super unique product idea becomes a ‘me-too’ player in thecongested market place.The Relevance ParadoxThe relevance paradox refers to the fact that people only seekinformation that they perceive as relevant to them. With access toinstant information, thanks to today’s search engines, consumersinterested in a particular product- say an IPhone application would goahead and search for that. Again, search works great for products andservices that easily fall into an existing domain or category. Nicheproducts and category breakers are not as lucky. Since such a category did not even exist “Your customers won’t look for you until they before the unique product was born, know you exist… But if they knew it, why consumers who are unaware of the would they look for you in the first place?!” product would not even feel the need to seek it out. What’s even more paradoxical is the fact that if they knew such a productexisted they would have probably been interested enough to seek it out!So how does the niche business owner reach the target audience? Copyright © GoJeeno 2010 | Niche Product Marketing | http://www.gojeeno.com
    • Reaching Your CustomersNiche businesses have one major advantage over others- their customers. Imagine the first fewcustomers buying robotic toys made from household junk. They are characterized by theirpassion towards the product. In fact, these customers are almost as passionate as the businessowners themselves.A passionate customer is the greatestasset a business can have. First, as Traits of the Passionate Customerhuman beings, we all feel the need to -lends voice to your problems and concerns‘educate’ others about the things we are -spreads positive word of mouth about youpassionate about. Passionate customers - breaks the paradox by talking to friendsactively voice their opinions about you in -energizes your prospects with the ‘Need’a related discussion, advising prospectsand recommending your product tofriends.Second, a passionate person is able to bring people around her into a similar level ofexcitement and passion. By nurturing a single passionate customer, a business can create a self- propelling chain of excited prospects that actively spread word about the product. Finally, passion attracts passion. That is the reason why geeks stick with geeks, and most of our social circle likes to discuss the same games and TV shows as us. Niche products, consequently, have or target a set of consumers who not only have the desire to talk and the capacity to make others excited about their product, but also have the ability to do so through strong social connections with similar people. So how can a businesscapitalize on this passion to drive growth? How can businesses create the “Passion ChainReaction”?The most logical solution is- by conducting a methodical Passion Audit comprising of threestages.Identifying the Key CustomersThe first step in creating a passion chain reaction is identifying the key customers. The first traitis passion. Businesses can readily identify this attribute in a customer from her activities withinsupport forums and the tendency to actively seek and provide information about the product insocial media. Copyright © GoJeeno 2010 | Niche Product Marketing | http://www.gojeeno.com
    • However, the key customer is not just “The best customer need not necessarily be passionate. She is surrounded by people the one surrounded by a million friends- who engage in discussions surrounding they merely have to be surrounded by a similar product categories. handful of similar people with similar interests.” So once the business identifies the right customers, how does it go about initiating the passion chain reaction?Empowering with the Right ToolsSocial media is truly a heaven for the niche business provider. The right customer is alreadyeager to spread the word about the product. All the business has to do is empower thecustomer with the capabilities to do so. At the least, businesses can add a Twitter and/orFacebook button at the ecommerce store or website for customers to share product knowledgewith friends.Businesses that can afford it may even How to create a Passion Chain Reactioneducate their customers and get them -Identify Key Customersactive on social media by aggregating and -Empower them with the tools to talkproviding customers with the vast -Drive Passion through Personalizationamount of information on the subject -Plug Holes and Sinksavailable online. -Maximize the FlowIt would be ingenious for businesses toallow customers to view and add opinions for each product. Businesses could create defaultTwitter handles (like @robonerdreviews) that automatically aggregate and broadcast thesecustomer opinions.Driving Passion through PersonalizationSince consumers of niche products have a strong similarity in their preference,it makes sense to foster social media relationships between them. Customersand prospects would love connecting to like-minded people. By creating asocial network of people who like the product, the business eventually creates a sense of brand identity among the “Internalize your customers. network members. Engage them. Don’t just One of the ways to enable such inter-customer acquire customers- relationships is by creating a social shopping acquire Patrons!” environment. In such an environment, prospects can see what their friends think about the product. Copyright © GoJeeno 2010 | Niche Product Marketing | http://www.gojeeno.com
    • Additionally, customers gain visibility into others who they might want to initiate a friendshipwith.Letting customers ‘in’ on your internal information makes them feel like they are a part of yourteam. Post pictures of your Halloween night and ask customers to reply. Host a video or a photocontest and display your customer’s pictures on your blogs.By creating such an atmosphere, niche product consumers become one with the business andspread positive word of mouth more actively.Plugging the HolesEvery system tends to move towards a system of disorder. Loyal customers sometimes formclosed groups between themselves, or word of mouth just does not seem tofilter down to the prospective customers. Identifying the ‘information leaks’and holes in the customer social network is imperative. Once identified andvalidated, the business manager needs to identify the prospect’s interestareas and craft out strategic content to impress the prospect.Maximizing the Passion ChainThe final step in driving the passion chain reaction is maximization. Without periodic watering,even the most passionate customers are bound to eventually lose interest and moveelsewhere. However, with the limited resources available, small businesses cannot make surethat all customers remain permanently excited. It is therefore crucial to undertake periodicpassion audits and maximize the overall passion levels.Nurtured customers become evangelists. An evangelist stimulates the passion chain reaction.The chain reaction is the tipper your business needs to explode into exponential growth. Copyright © GoJeeno 2010 | Niche Product Marketing | http://www.gojeeno.com
    • About the AuthorVikram Bhaskaran is the co-founder and Director of Products at GoJeeno.He holds an undergraduate degree in engineering and a Masters in Marketing, with aspecialization in marketing modeling and social network analytics. Vikram is the winner ofnumerous awards and honors, including the prestigious Google & WPP Marketing RewardsAward in the year 2010. He is also a Certified Expert in Customer and Brand Management.Before starting GoJeeno, Vikram worked as an engineer, a marketer, analyst, researcher andconsultant in various organizations.You can get in touch with Vikram through his Linkedin Profile: http://linkedin.com/in/markaliveor through Twitter: @vkrm20This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco,California, 94105, USA. Copyright © GoJeeno 2010 | Niche Product Marketing | http://www.gojeeno.com