When you think of Key West, Florida you probably think of recreational activities or Ernest “Papa” Hemingway. During my recent visit, I discovered that Key West is also a hot bed of niche retail marketing activity.
A niche retailer is a business that sells a single type of product within a specific category or appeals to a relatively narrow or specialized market. For example, The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory (www.KeyWestButterfly.com) caters to butterfly lovers. If it has anything to do with butterflies or has butterflies on it, this store has it. If you’re not a butterfly devotee, don’t bother entering.
There is also Towels of Key West (www.TowelsOfKeyWest.com). If you need a towel, you’re sure to find one at this store. If you need a wash cloth or a pillow case, better head to a large, general retailer that offers an array of goods and attempts to reach as many customers as possible.
Our last example is Tervis Tumbler (www.Tervis.com). They offer a huge selection of tumblers that keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. If you enter this store looking for a dish or a frying pan, you’re in the wrong place.
It is difficult and costly to try to cater to a very broad audience. Your marketing efforts tend to get lost in the noise. Going “narrow and deep,” on the other hand, is the most effective way to stand out and get noticed in a crowded marketplace. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, develop a specialty in an under-served area and exploit that niche with a cost-effective marketing strategy.
The fishing boats around Key West use specific bait to hook specific types of fish. Think of your niche as the bait that will help you hook the prospects that you have identified as the most profitable and likely customers for your business.
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