Niche Marketing

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Marketing niches are portions of the consumer market that possess identifying characteristics and generally act similarly in response to certain promotional initiatives.  These target segments of the consumer population present a focus for marketing professionals as they develop marketing strategies.  Many of the most identifiable market niches include automobile drivers, sports fans, or moviegoers.  Because the constituents of a market niche will behave similarly, marketers often tailor their strategies to predicted responses.  For example, a marketer of online games will almost exclusively utilize digital mediums to promote an upcoming game due to the likelihood that that those consumers will respond to ads on those platforms.

It may appear that marketers are limiting their appeal to a wider audience, but because a segment provides so much rich data about opinions and behaviors, most marketers work exclusively within niches.  This information about consumer interests, responses and activities within the niche allows a high degree of specificity for marketing strategists, which can produce a huge conversion rate, albeit within a smaller portion of the consumer population.  There are some marketers that promote their products to a mainstream audience, but these strategies typically produce conversion rates in a much smaller percentage of the target population.  Even the largest companies, though, target specific campaigns to market segments due to their increased success rates.

Very specific niches which cater to a highly select group of consumers may only have one or a few businesses that serve it, but many marketing niches are dominated by a particular industry or type of business.  The companies that serve these segments have often adopted a cost effective marketing strategy that leverages key characteristics of these consumers.  Although some businesses may attempt to innovate new marketing techniques or methodologies, generally, most of the businesses within a niche will adopt similar promotional themes.

Environmental

This form of marketing is designed to cater to consumers who are concerned with protecting natural resources.  Due to the rising popularity of green movements and a sound economic basis for many environmentally friendly initiatives, green marketing has gained credence across multiple industries.  Many businesses now tout their environmentally friendly goods, packaging or manufacturing processes in an effort to entice this growing market segment.

According to Mintel, almost 12% of the American consumer population makes a concerted effort to buy green products, while 68% of consumers will occasionally buy similar products.  There is a significant trend among businesses to emphasize their environmentally sound products and services.  This type of marketing may take place across all marketing channels, but especially on digital ones due to their minimal impact on the environment.

Automobiles

Because the investment into an automobile purchase is so significant for most consumers, the automobile industry has invested a considerable amount of time and effort into researching the characteristics of these consumers and what they believe are the ideal features of a vehicle.  The automobile purchasing segment is not a monolithic, single entity, but can be further broken down into a number of subcategories including economy, luxury, off-road, family and heavy duty.  Most of these types of vehicles appeal to their target consumers based on economic affordability, durability and functionality.  For example, a heavy duty pickup truck may be marketed to professionals on the basis of its power, reliability and rugged appeal, while a minivan would often be marketed to families who favor gas efficiency, spaciousness and safety.

The automobile industry spends heavily on marketing and is one of the few industries that invests quite broadly in many marketing channels.  The automobile industry spends large amounts in traditional marketing channels like newspapers, magazines, radio and television.  Because of the large marketing budgets within major automobile companies, they are huge buyers of ad time in the very expensive medium of television. With the advent of the Internet, automobile companies have become pioneers in the use of digital marketing initiatives.  All of the major companies as well as their dealership partners maintain a strong presence online, although the content online is primarily informational in content.

The automobile industry spend is expected to spend $30.8 billion on national and local advertising in 2012, an increase of 14% from 2011. Of this amount almost 40% will be dedicated to digital marketing.  In response consumers have purchased an annuitized 14.9 million cars which tops the 12.5 million sold in 2011 by 19.1%.

Computers

The computers and consumer electronics industry primarily appeals to consumers by touting their most popular technological innovations like enhanced computing power or functionality.  The biggest companies in this niche cultivate strong relationships with consumers through a variety of marketing mediums including television, but with a primary focus on internet based channels where informational content is readily available.

The computing industry is one that is in transition.  For decades, the internet has been accessed by consumers primarily through personal computers, but with the advent of wireless devices, the PC is beginning to experience a decline as the primary Web portal.  As smartphones and tablets grow in popularity the computer industry is also transitioning production capacity and R & D resources to these devices.  Many of the most dominant forms of marketing for this industry including Search Engine Marketing, Email Marketing, and Pay-per-click marketing remain very important marketing channels, but are experiencing modifications for use on these new technological platforms.

In 2012, the annual revenue for the consumer electronics industry is expected to top $200 billion, with a significant portion of this devoted to marketing.

Fashion

In 2011, consumers spent more than $250 billion on fashion related items like clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry and this amount is expected to grow to $327 billion by 2016.  This industry typically devotes 4.5% of its revenue to marketing initiatives, so the projected marketing expenditures for the past year approximate $11.25 billion.

The fashion industry is one predicated on constant turnover, so its marketing themes typically revolve around the most current social trends.  Because this market is dominated by younger consumers, most of the marketing is youth oriented.  Consequently, the marketing strategies used by this industry involve a wide variety of channels including print, television and online platforms.  This is increasingly migrating to internet related marketing, where a growing number of consumers are purchasing their fashion items. Mobile marketing is a rapidly expanding part of most fashion marketing budgets, as young consumers devote more of their purchasing through mobile portals.

Health and Fitness

The health and fitness industry has experienced modest growth in the past few years and is expected to generate $25.3 from 2007-2012, with an annual growth rate of 0.9%.   Only a very small portion of the revenue for this industry is devoted to marketing, because of the unique social and economic dynamics of this industry.

American society is placing an increasing premium on being healthy and looking slim.  With a number of governmental and public health initiatives encouraging Americans to slim down, the fitness industry has seen positive growth without any significant expenditure in marketing.  Although fitness center do spend a significant amount on local advertising like newspaper ads, billboards and direct mail, the industry as a whole is not considerably invested in many marketing channels.  Most fitness centers at the franchise and local level do possess online marketing initiatives.

Travel and Tourism

The travel and tourism industry generated $1.3 trillion in economic output in 2010, while marketing expenditures comprise a very large portion of total revenues.

This industry has seen significant changes in marketing strategies with the introduction online travel companies that offer cut rate vacation packages.  Many of these sites utilize a variety of marketing mediums like television and print, while remaining an online entity with most of the promotions occurring in digital form.

Because tourism and travel is often founded on a partnership between private enterprise and local governments, this industry enjoys fairly large marketing budgets funded by public and commercial entities.  In the past marketing for this industry was based on print, which was easily transmittable to distant locations, but with the globalization of the industry through the internet, online marketing forms like paid ads, emails and search engine marketing have grown to dominate this field.

Music

In 2011, the music industry produced $15.2 billion in revenue, and is projected to grow to $19.8 billion by 2016. Although this may appear to be a staggering sum, the industry as a whole is underperforming due to the prevalence of illegal downloading and the transition from the traditional revenue model of sales through physical and digital mediums.  The industry is moving on to more progressive commercial models like licensing, nontraditional publishing and redesigning production processes.

Similarly, the marketing wing of the industry is trying to utilize new mediums to publicize artists. Because music is an experiential medium, much of the difficulty in marketing songs is providing consumers with enough content to hook them, without giving them all of the music for free.  Because so much of the music industry has migrated online, the most prevalent forms of marketing for this industry are internet based.  Radio, of course, is the most often utilized conventional marketing platform, but online video and social marketing are keys to success in the music industry. Event marketing in the form of live performances also retain enormous importance from a promotional standpoint.

Jobs

The employment industry has transitioned to online forums as the most traditional marketing medium, newspapers, has diminished in popularity.  The introduction of many online resources for job hunters has produced important platforms to learn about available positions.  Many important online professional and social networks are also critical procuring employment.  Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook present referrals, which are often essential to landing a job.

Online marketing has held steady for the past decade.  Posting a resume online typically results in an 8% chance of receiving a job interview. A recent study found print ads produce only 3% of job openings found, while online postings produce 31%.  This staggering statistic indicates the significance of online marketing to both job hunters and recruiters.

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