Everything I Needed to Know About Niche Marketing I Learned from a Shedding Dog

What does a lint roller have to do with niche marketing?

My dog Ralphie is the most adorable dog on the planet. Sometimes I worry he’s going to die from too many hugs — he’s just that cute. But unfortunately, his hair is a problem since he sheds profusely. And lucky for me, he has both white and black hair, so I’m doubly blessed and cursed.

The Purrrfect Product

On a recent trip to Target I remembered my lint roller was used up, and when I found the right aisle, I stumbled upon this item:

Whoa! A lint roller just for pet hair? Sign me up! Sure, it’s a couple of dollars more, but it’s made specifically for pet hair, which is exactly what I’m using it for! How did they know?! And that dog on the picture almost looks like Ralphie! So cool. I’m going to be the best pet-hair-roller-person ever.

Okay, maybe I didn’t go to those extremes, but let’s just say it was an easy sale and the item went straight into my cart.

Was I Duped?

Later when I pulled it out of the packaging, I realized there wasn’t much of a difference, if any, between this one and the regular-non-pet-hair roller brush I usually get. “They suckered me,” I thought.

But then I remembered the conversation I frequently have with telecom, IT cloud services companies about niche marketing, and had to admire the techniques employed here.

Let’s explore what happened:

· I had a need, but more than that, I had a reason behind that need. The need was the lint roller, but the reason — the motivation, and the why — was my dog’s hair. This is a very important distinction.

· Evercare, the company who makes this product, has likely done research to determine that many people like me are using lint rollers with pet hair in mind. They have made a conscious decision to target pet owners.

· Next they created custom messaging. The product is called “Evercare Pet.” The word “PET” is front and center so you can’t miss it.

· And finally they created custom packaging with images of a cat and a dog. This stands out against all the others in the aisle and grabbed my attention instantly.

All this equated to a higher perceived value, which lead me to make a faster decision and be willing to pay a premium price. And guess what? So will your customers if you use the same approach.

So how does niche marketing translate into the telecom, IT and cloud services industries?

First off, if you aren’t focusing on a niche (or several) — start NOW. You can follow the same method as the lint roller:

· Identify a very specific target audience that needs your services.

· Identify the reason why your target audience needs those services. What pain are they in?

· Create some custom messaging that speaks directly to the audience and addresses their pain points. Use language they already know and will recognize.

· Develop custom “packaging” to address the custom audience. This could take the form of web pages, case studies, infographics, videos, webinars and more.

· Finally, distribute your custom messaging and packaging to your audience. You can do this through a variety of tactics, like email or social campaigns, digital advertising, or good old-fashioned networking.

Once you’ve conquered one industry, rinse and repeat for the next. I know it seems counter-intuitive — like you’re limiting your options — but the opposite is true. By setting yourself apart as THE go-to company for a specific industry, you’ll attract more customers, have shorter sales cycles, and make the decision maker’s job a lot easier.

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