Tammy Boyd, Twitter @tamiami813 | VP of Business Development | NeuroInternational

I travel extensively for the company I represent, a nationally recognized and quality provider within the workers’ compensation industry. So often I ask myself when I’m attending events, how am I going to make a difference? How can I present my company in a way that stands out amongst my competition, sometimes hundreds of competitors? We can’t be all things to all people, and that’s ok. The key is to define my message and target audience. The more I zoom in on my target audience, the more likelihood of success I have to win new business.

Working in a niche industry for an organization that serves a very small subset of that industry, residential brain injury services, it is imperative to find ways to stand out. Everyone believes their organization, service, or product is the best in the industry. Even within the workers’ compensation industry there are many different audience segments as consumers. To be effective, it is important to market to them in different ways. Different groups respond differently to marketing content and messaging. Therefore, niche marketing is an effective solution to better connect with many different audiences.

What is niche marketing?

Niche marketing is a process of market segmentation, identifying specific wants and needs of potential buyers into smaller, targeted, and personalized marketing campaigns. A very streamlined service or product focused on a well-defined customer base. Niche marketing focuses your marketing budget and messaging to a specific audience who is more likely to purchase or make a referral to you. It’s an effective and efficient way to reach specific stakeholders and key decision makers.

Target Your Audience

When promoting your brand, it is important to know who you are attempting to influence and the best way to reach them. Remember, you can’t appeal to everyone. When I began working in the workers’ compensation industry I was overwhelmed and didn’t have a good understanding of who to reach out to about my company’s services and how to find key decision makers. Essentially, I was given a stack of business cards, no training, and told to go find business. I knew I needed to use a strategic and targeted approach if I wanted to be successful. I had to find my ‘target audience.’

Key tips to connecting to your target audience:

Know your service/product

  • What are the benefits and features?
  • What makes it unique in the marketplace?

What is your value proposition?

  • What makes your company different from your competitors?
  • Why does your target market need your product/service?
  • What are your competitors’ strengths/weaknesses?

Know your customers’ pain points:

  • What solutions can you offer to their problem(s)?
  • Can you help them become more efficient at their job?
  • How can you make their job easier? Less stressful?

How do you reach your target market?

  • What is your target audience preferred communication channel?
  • Do they prefer e-mail? text? social media? face-to-face?
  • Do you know the decision maker?

Be authentic and use your own style of marketing:

  • Smile and make eye contact if you’re meeting face-to-face
  • Smile even if it’s a phone conversation, the person on the other end hears your enthusiasm and energy coming through
  • What works for one person in how they approach customers might not work with how you approach them. Develop your own style and own it!

Targeted Messaging

Once you have identified your target audience, the next step is to develop a marketing strategy and create messages that speak to your audience(s). In order to be successful, your message needs to reach the right audience, with the right messaging at the right time. Use the same industry ‘jargon’ your audience uses to build rapport with them. When I’m speaking with a nurse case manager, the key words I use are more clinical.; However, when I’m speaking with an attorney my messaging is much different with more legal and technical business terminology.

Your message shouldn’t be about how great your organization, service, or product is. Rather, it should be about how your organization can solve your customers’ problems or make their job easier. It’s all about them and not your organization!

Examples of niche marketing

Almost everyone is familiar with the Marriott hotel brand. It’s a hotel brand which appeals to the masses. It’s affordable, conveniently located near airports, convention centers, downtown areas, etc. Marriott has also created several niche brands. The luxury niche brand, The Ritz-Carlton appeals to consumers who want to pay a higher premium for their hotel stay, are located in exclusive areas, have a lot of luxury amenities such as the club lounge, spa, upscale restaurants, wedding services, etc.

On the other end of the Marriott brand spectrum is the Courtyard by Marriott niche brand, they developed a low-cost, no frills, longer-stay hotel which appeals to business travelers, families and those who are looking for more affordable hotel options.

In the example below, both are Marriott properties in Maui. The niche, luxury brand The Ritz-Carlton has an ocean front view, upscale surroundings, inviting pool, and expansive property. The niche, economy brand, Courtyard Marriott is located near the airport, limited ocean views, and has basic pool amenities.

If your business serves the workers’ compensation industry, marketing is definitely a niche approach. There are also many niche channels within workers’ compensation. How do you market your business in our industry? Are there other niche opportunities within our industry that you might explore?