Selling in a niche market: Marketing is not for us!
When we talk to companies operating in niche markets, we often get this specific remark. Especially from sales managers within those companies: "We are fishing in such a small pond; doing marketing is of no use to us. We know exactly where our prospects are." In my opinion, marketing does have a crucial role in targeting a niche market. So it might be useful to read this article.
What is a niche market?
A niche market is a specific segment that companies focus on, offering products or services that cater to unique needs within a particular target group or industry. Unlike markets that offer products and services that could be of interest to any company, a niche market specializes in a particular area. Examples of such markets could be software for marine development, nutritional supplements for the poultry industry, or specific materials for the construction sector. These markets and the competition within them are usually smaller, but they offer opportunities to distinguish oneself.
To succeed in a niche market, one needs to have a good understanding of the needs of the target group, innovative solutions, and strong positioning compared to competitors. Companies that focus on niche markets can ultimately benefit from higher margins, long-term customer relationships, and reduced competition, provided they serve the market effectively with valuable solutions. Marketing efforts can certainly be beneficial in this regard.
To successfully approach a niche market, there are a few things you should consider. Here are seven tips that can help you reach your niche target group. These tips may sound familiar to you if you have immersed yourself in the basics of Account-Based Marketing.
- 1. Start by connecting sales and marketing. Determine what each party will do and set clear KPIs. Together, decide on the most effective communication channels to reach the target group. Understand the specific needs, challenges, and trends within the market to develop accurate personas and define interesting content for all phases of the purchasing process.
- 2. Carefully outline an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This is a critical step that can make or break your efforts. Be very thorough, especially if your target list consists of only 20-30 accounts. Remember, you only have one chance to make a good impression. If your target group is international, remember that a niche is still a niche, even on a global scale.
- 3. Create multiple opportunities per account. Good insight into the Decision-Making Unit (DMU) for each account is essential. The DMU consists of individuals who can help you (‘power to push’), but also opponents (‘power to block’). The more complex your product or service, the more contacts you need per account. It’s crucial to get the actual decision-makers within each account on your side.
- 4. Know your contacts. Research their interests, challenges, responsibilities, hobbies, goals, passions, and, most importantly, pain points. This information will help you with your marketing and sales efforts in your Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy.
- 5. Invest in your marketing and sales tech stack. Ensure that all the technological tools and platforms you use to target the market are well-coordinated. CRM, marketing automation software, social media platforms, email marketing tools, and analytics software need to be streamlined to collect data that is important for targeting your audience. This way, companies can make inbound and outbound processes work more efficiently and gain better insight into their customers and prospects. More specific targeting ultimately leads to better results and growth.
- 6. Use the power of storytelling. Engage your prospects and take them on a journey through your narrative. Demonstrate that you comprehend the market and the concerns of your potential customers. Be inventive, and original, and create a sense of demand. Without issues or pain points, there is no sense of urgency. Additionally, persuade your prospects with your knowledge of the market, and customer stories. Use evidence such as facts, figures, infographics, and white papers with research results, case descriptions, etc.
- 7. Make it personal and establish a real connection with your prospects. Listen carefully to their needs and display your interest and enthusiasm for their company and people. Remember that the people you are speaking to are specialists in their field. You don’t need to tell them anything about their profession. They know what they’re doing. To stand out, you need to provide customized solutions and add value. By building trust with your contacts, you can gain insights and make them feel valued and understood. Remember that this already starts in the phases before the actual contact with sales. It enables you to establish customer loyalty and grow together, even in a small market.
Marketing businesses in a niche market is complex. To be successful, everyone must be on the same page. If we manage to get marketing and sales departments to work the market together, we will be way ahead of the competition. The marketing department will probably receive feedback from the sales department that the use of marketing does contribute to the business case. Also, or even especially, in a niche market. I feel like a fish in water when it comes to complex challenges like this, and I hope my tips have given you something to think about. Do not forget; that the tastier the bait, the faster they’ll bite.