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The Pros and Cons of Niche Marketing

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niche marketing pros

“You know what you guys’ problem is? You’re fishing in a fish bowl and I’m fishing in the ocean!”

Abe’s voice echoes into the crisp early Spring air, as he leans back in his golf cart with the presence of a mafia boss from Godfather I, II, III, IV, your pick. All he needed was a cigar, a few henchmen and bags of bodies being drug through the parking lot to complete the scene.

His words did ring true as we looked out onto the long line forming in front of his mega club. On one side, you had half naked girls freezing their asses off to get in the club for free. Line wrapping and winding down into the dark so far you couldn’t see the last person, at the end. With even more hurrying to join them in this self appointed, line holding torture.

On our side?

Crickets, tumble weeds and random stragglers rolling by. How awesome! * insert sarcasm here *

We knew our crowd of patrons would flank the doors at any moment and the event would be crazy, however at this time we couldn’t help but feel like… well… CRAP!

Abe Wossen, then owner of Club Esso and long standing foundation of the Atlanta nightlife industry, performed his expert level of Mind-Fxckness (real word) on us with master like precision.

The conversation would take jabs at us, why he was smarter, why he respected other promoters in our niche more than us and THEN the sale…

An offer he can't refuse“IF you want to make real money, come work for me. Play for my team!” “SO I CAN CONSUME YOUR PEOPLE INTO MY BASE & YOU DIE A MISERABLE LONELY PROMOTER DEATH!” <-- That part is basically a paraphrase, but you get the picture.You'd swear he'd just read a couple chapters 48 Laws of Power and was using us as practice for his material. It however didn't work on us, because we've heard many variations of this talk before.The establishment, whether bigger clubs or bigger promoters, dangling the carrot to distract you into losing focus on your niche and what you're trying to accomplish.I respect Abe and I don't knock the establishment, it's a strategy that's worked for them for many years. It's how the mega clubs stay afloat. Find people of influence, entice them, and then make their niche theirs, burning them out in the long run.It is what it is!That night, we went on to have a crazy event on our side of the building and soon forgot all about the earlier Jedi Mindstricks in the parking lot. One thing I never forgot though, were his haughty mafia boss like words...“You’re Fishing In A Fishbowl and I’m Fishing In The Ocean!”… And I can have you swimming with the fishes. lol

It’s one of the cons of dominating a small niche market, at some point you’ll reach a cap. There’s not much more room for growth, which means not much more room for a profitable business. That’s if you keep sticking with the same tactics and events over and again.

There are however many pros to leading your niche and we’ll discuss both the pros and cons in this article.

Ready?

Let’s Go!

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Pros of Niche Marketing

As I said, there are many fantastic pros to being at the top of your niche. You end up building stronger relationships with people in your network, which leads to a better understanding of what they love and what they’re influenced by. You can also focus your marketing and marketing dollars in areas that work instead of wasting money in areas that don’t matter.

Another great benefit to dominating your niche, is the brand trust and loyalty you will build up over time. Those years of trust then turn into legacy, which sells your events and ideas to newer party goers entering your niche.

Now let’s dive deeper into each area.

Loyalty & Building Stronger Relationships

“I met my wife at one of your events in college!”

“After one of your parties is how we ended up with our first child!”

“I only go to your events because I know I can expect quality!”

These are the words of people who have developed a bond and trust with our events over time. These words mean a lot and we surely don’t take them for granted. When you’re at the top of your niche this is what you can expect.

You’re tied closely to your network, you get invited to birthdays, weddings, baby showers, divorce parties, BBQs and whatever other social gatherings taking place. You know people by name, you know the ups and downs of their relationships.

Their favorite drink, favorite type of party and hell… you even know things you really wish you never knew.

It’s a deep bond and relationship that would never take place if you’re in a mass market, where names and faces change faster than stance of political leaders during their election campaigns. Yeh, that fast!

This is where the Dunbar Number of 150 applies.

The Anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorized through studying many civilizations, that primates and all, only had the mental capacity to maintain 150 strong bonds and relationships.

Based on this theory, it makes sense that maintaining a smaller niche turns into strong ties and loyalty to your brand and events. Where loose ties of thousands of patrons could feel less powerful to you and your audience.

Better Understanding of Your Target Market

Another pro of a niche market is, it allows you to have a deeper understanding of what will and won’t gel with your audience.

You can go into a venue and know right off the bat that it will or won’t work. Brainstorm ideas and know what will work and what will fail based on years of knowledge and data.

You’ll know exactly what drinks they prefer, when they will show up to an event, what themes, DJs, music etc that resonate with them.

You won’t be the Long Island Medium / Psychic but you’ll be damn close.

It doesn’t fully alleviate the anxiety planning your event, wondering if the numbers will turn up, but it makes the likelihood of success much higher.

Focus and Targeting of Your Message and Marketing Dollars

download NOTE: Download The 25 Step Cheat Sheet to Help Pack Your Event despite your niche size. Click Here To Download

When it comes to marketing, there’s a lot of waste in time and money which targeting a niche helps cut down.

You know what sites they visit, which email lists to advertise one, what radio stations they’re listening to and where to send your messages. You have to wonder less, where to spend your money because you know where they congregate, a powerful tenant of marketing. Awesome, because you don’t have to play this big guessing game.

Even better, if you build an email list, you have a direct line of communication to your audience.

If we’re going with the fishing analogy in the beginning, you now don’t have to cast such a wide net and HOPE that you’ll catch enough fish.

Focus means less money spent, more money saved and better returns for your bottom line.

Legacy / Positioning Yourself As A Leader

All these positives mentioned above ends up building into your legacy, especially if you’ve been targeting that niche audience for an extended period of time. That legacy will sell your upcoming events for you because your reputation will speak for itself.

Another benefit of legacy, is better venue deals and collaborative percentages. If a venue knows what to expect based on your track record, they’re not going to nickel and dime you in negotiations. Having your event at their venue is more of a benefit to them, than having to bet on some unknown and untested new promoter.

They need you more than you need them and you can walk away at any time, taking your loyal audience elsewhere.

OK, we’ve heard all the good stuff, but what about the other side of the coin?

Cons & Limitations of Niche Marketing

There’s always another side of the conversation and when it comes to niche markets it’s no different. Below are a few of the cons of targeting a niche that you need to be aware of.

 

RECOMMENDED READING: 9 Lessons Learned from Our Biggest Failures. click to read more.

Volatility / Fickle Nature of A Niche

“You Pet Your People Too Much!”

Strong words from one of the top urban promoters we collaborated with on a regular basis. To some extent he was and still is right. We have to walk a kind of tight rope with our niche because we place so much value on their relationships and support.

The venue has to be just right.

Music, just right.

Pricing at the door, just right.

Temperature of their drinks just right. LOL

Attitude of the event staff, JUST RIGHT.

Even if one thing is out of place and you piss off too many of the key influencers in your niche, you could pretty much lock up shop and take up fly fishing.

This volatility has played out in many ways in our market, where we’ve seen the demise of event companies, knocking them out of top spots and off their high horses.

When a niche is so tightly connected, anything negative could spell doom and gloom, so it’s important you do what you can in maintaining great relationships.

Tweetables

 tweetable Tweet this! The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. – Lily Tomlin
 tweetable Tweet this! You’re fishing in a bowl and I’m fishing in the ocean. #nichemarketing
 tweetable Tweet this! The Pros & Cons of Niche Marketing revealed. #eventmarketing #events
 tweetable Tweet this! You can’t pay your DJs, bartenders and security staff with handshakes and hugs. #djs #nightclubs
 

The Entitlement Dilemma

Now that you’ve built all those tight relationships, helped carry ice at the BBQs and caught the garter at several weddings, for SOME there is a certain entitlement that comes along. You’re now one phone call away and now many, not all, expect free entry to your events all the time.

Free means 0 dollars. The more free, the more 0s, and not the zeroes that add to your bottom line. Your job then is managing expectations and setting limits that will work for people in your network and for your business, because at the end of the day you’re still running a business.

So when people show up with 20 friends expecting for them all to get in free, you can pump the breaks and come to a compromise. This is not an exaggeration, this has happened.

“I’m good right?!”

“Um, no! Let’s work it out!”

SIDE NOTE:
This is where having team mates help and someone can play good cop, while someone else is the bad cop. I myself prefer to be the good cop. Who really wants to be the bearer of bad news right? Plus I’ll end up letting everybody in free. Hence I appreciate my team mates.

Like any relationship, business or personal, you have to set boundaries so entitlement doesn’t ruin things.

You can’t pay your DJs, bartenders and security staff with handshakes and hugs because you let everyone in for free!

You Can Cap Out / Hit A Limit

The major con to just targeting a small niche, is the fact that your profits will have a limit. There are but so many people to go around, especially considering you won’t be the only one marketing events to your targeted audience.

Few people, divided amongst more options, equals less money for your bottom line. Sometimes even if your event is dominating the niche for the night and you get the max turn out, the returns may not be worth it for that specific event.

Knowing that fact, it forces you to cap what you spend on your events in hopes of profitability. That less spending could show up in areas, like a lessened event experience for the patron themselves. You can’t go blowing your budget and hope to make it back, because the returns at the door / gate won’t even cover it.

* Scratches Tomorrow World Level Production off the list *

Less Opportunities

Sad to say, but a limited number in your niche may unfortunately cause you to miss out on a few opportunities.

An example of this manifests in the form of sponsorship. As much as they will love that you have a strong concept and fanatical base, at the end of the day it all boils down to sales and impressions for them.

Your concept could be loved, but if you’re only getting one thousand people max for your event, and not blasting out your promotion in the mass media, they’re going to find somewhere else to spend their marketing dollars.

They’ll be calling up the folks like Abe at the mega venue, with the big radio budget spend and overpriced celebrity hosts.

Sucks right?!

The good thing is that there are brands with smaller budgets that see the benefit of targeting your niche audience. The game for you then is to develop more of these smaller opportunities to make it all worthwhile for everyone at the end of the day.

We’ve discussed the pros and cons, but how do we make it all work so you can sleep well at night?

Collaborate With Bigger Audiences

A simple way to leverage your audience is to collaborate with others and combine efforts. There are clubs and marketers with larger audiences that will be willing to welcome the members of your niche.

This gives you the opportunity to participate at larger clubs and venues, exposing your base to other experiences and at the end of the day can mean more profits for all involved.

The main issue to be mindful of, is whether your audiences will play well together. Combining numbers is all well and good, however if they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, it could spell disaster for the event. Defeats the whole purpose.

Testing Ideas for Bigger Application

Over the years we’ve tested tools and methods in our smaller niche with great success, sometimes with huge flops. What doesn’t work we discards, but the successes we implement in bigger niches. You’re able to test safely before you roll out a campaign to a larger audience.

Often, these are strategies and tactics not used in the larger niche because they’re not able to always be testing. When transferred, it works like gangbusters. This strategy works in reverse as well.

You can pick up different aspects of marketing that the larger niches use and apply to your smaller market.

Create Value Elsewhere

If you’re marketing to a smaller niche you have to get creative with how you extract value. You may reach a cap in what you can charge at your event, however there are other ways to benefiting from your base.

You could market other goods and services you provide. Say you also own a restaurant, are a real estate agent or have a design company… these are all business you can market to your engaged audience.

You’re only limited by your imagination, so think of as many ways you can tap your niche. Of course without being a spammy, greasy, car salesman, pitching everything down their throat.

Provide value and continue to nurture that trust you have established.

Domain Expertise / Consulting

Another great way to extract value, is to consult with other companies seeking to tap your audience. This could come by way of concerts promoters, night clubs or brands who have no clue how to market to your market or where to spend their marketing dollars effectively. That’s where you come in.

Consult, give them the answers, point them in the right direction, all for a nominal fee. Just make sure you’re not all hot air and fluff. If you say you’re going to deliver, make sure you’re going to deliver. Happy consulting clients, equal repeat clients.

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Let’s Wrap Up

As you see, there are many pros and cons of targeting a niche market with your events, but if you’re adventurous enough, you can make it all work in your favor.

Nurture your niche, make them happy, then be creative and get the value you deserve.

At times it could get discouraging hearing and seeing the big numbers that leading markets throw out, however you have one thing many of them don’t have. A loyal fan base that will roll with you wherever you decide to go. That’s a level of trust larger establishments can’t nurture because they’re busy focusing on what new, big, expensive act they have to overpay to fill their venue.

Here’s to your success!

Tweetables

 tweetable Tweet this! The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. – Lily Tomlin
 tweetable Tweet this! You’re fishing in a bowl and I’m fishing in the ocean. #nichemarketing
 tweetable Tweet this! The Pros & Cons of Niche Marketing revealed. #eventmarketing #events
 tweetable Tweet this! You can’t pay your DJs, bartenders and security staff with handshakes and hugs. #djs #nightclubs
 

Now It’s Your Turn – What’s Your Experience with Niche Markets?
Do you have examples, whether good bad when it comes to marketing your events or business to a niche market? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.



 

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