Niche Marketing: Leveraging the Long Tail to Sell Less of More

Late last year, Jayson DeMers wrote an article for Forbes titled “7 Online Marketing Trends that will Dominate 2017.” One of DeMers’ predictions was that “brands will increasingly target niche markets out of necessity.”

DeMers writes, “Online marketing is becoming more crowded; though the number of available consumers has remained more or less steady, millions of new businesses have flooded into the space for a piece of the pie. This is especially true in the content and social media marketing spaces. One of the best solutions for this is to target a more specific niche, appealing to a narrower range of demographics with a more specific topic. As a result, we’re bound to see more companies opting for more targeted, almost personal-level content and campaigns.”

In the traditional brick-and-mortar business world, companies need to cater to a wide variety of tastes. Consider, for example, a hypothetical book store in a city of 150,000 people. That book store may need to carry everything from murder mystery to do-it-yourself to sci-fi to non-fiction history books, because the market in a particular location just might not be large enough for the store to specialize in history books alone. But when that same store is selling online and its market is virtually the entire world (pun intended!), there could be enough of a market to specialize solely in history books or even solely in history books about the French Revolution.

For any given niche, there might be a large enough market to keep a company in business, but they could be scattered across the country or around the world. Going online means you don’t have to have a physical location near every one of your potential customers, nor do you necessarily need to expand your offerings beyond your core business just to supplement your specialty.

This is a concept that was popularized several years ago by Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More (Hachette Books, 2008). The concept of the “long tail”—the very specific, niche interests that, Anderson wrote, shattered “the mainstream into a zillion different cultural shards.” Those shards, he suggested, represent marketing opportunities.

While the ability of businesses of any size to market their goods and services to potential customers around the world may mean that competition can come from anywhere, the ability of companies to focus on increasingly well-defined niche markets may mitigate some of that competitive pressure. Ultimately, the trend towards niche marketing could mean that businesses and consumers can make increasingly suitable matches. The key is to identify, locate and effectively connect with your niche.

How are you reaching out to more specific, narrow, niche markets to sell less of more?

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