Before Niche Marketing, Find Your Objective Self
The ability to create successful niche targeting begins with the realization that as marketers we are biased — by default, the decisions we make on behalf of a brand are subjective. When we understand this fact, we can evolve our thinking beyond simple subjectivity and begin thinking like the very audience profiles we seek to target. We step in their shoes, and walk through their buyer journey — observing creative, requesting information, kicking tires, asking friends for recommendations, etc. This approach is beyond what’s apparent to the naked eye — it’s about truly being in tune — so ditch the basic demographics that match up men with sports and cigars, and empty nesters with bucket list travel destinations and time with the grandkids.
This introspection, while it requires an unabashed embrace of who you are and what makes you tick, is about having the humility to add your very own, personal buyer profile to the gamut of profiles in the wild — then, you might realize that you couldn’t be farther away from the target audience your brand needs to attract. It’s funny, because this sounds like self-improvement advice, but the point is that once we get over ourselves, we are able to see the forest from the trees — the big picture.
On the other, less enlightened side of the coin, we have marketers and creatives that create messaging in a self-centric box, and graphics that cater to artsy whims. We know how dangerous this subjectivity can get, and instead of paving the road for creative liberty we put downward pressure on creativity, and worse, on judgment. This, because brand positioning that doesn’t resonate with target markets results in a decline in revenue, or worse, total failure.
I’m not saying that big data and machines are going to zap the fun out of marketing — but they sure deserve a key role in a field that is so cluttered it’s difficult to find talent amid the noise. When it comes to niche marketing, trustworthy data adds a critical layer of facts that seeks the employment of sound judgment — a product of experience and wisdom that must also be objective.
Originally published at www.machetemag.com on February 2, 2015.