Your target customers, of course, are those who are most likely to buy from you. And in an effort to appeal to as many buyers as possible, businesses often cast a wide net. That’s often a mistake, however: instead of casting broadly and randomly, it’s better to pinpoint exactly who your products or services will appeal to.
In many companies, "niche" is a dirty word, right up there with "polarizing," says Tom Fishburne, in commentary on his cartoon titled "The Target Market."
"The world doesn't need another blandly appealing mainstream idea," says Fishburne.
Rather, the real opportunity is "to find a niche and give them something they will walk over hot coals to buy. Even if it's polarizing. Especially if it's polarizing. By giving something truly remarkable to a niche, the idea can still be appealing to a wide audience. But it needs a niche at the core."
There's a lesson here for business – and also for cartoonists, as it happens.
“When I started drawing cartoons, “ Tom writes, “I talked to a few professional cartoonists, and they all told me that my material was too niche, and I should find something mainstream like parenting and then send my material to newspaper syndicates and hope for the best. I played around with a parenting cartoon for a while and scaled back Brand Camp. And then, someone emailed me that he was really disappointed. He said there were a million parenting cartoons out there, but there was only one brand management cartoon.”
So Tom focused his work on cartoons inspired by his business life. And eventually, his strategy paid off: his work has been linked to by the New York Times, and appeared in numerous business and marketing publications . He’s also created cartoon campaigns for the Asian Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business School, Unilever, Microsoft, method, CaseCentral, Epicurious.com, Boeing, Satmetrix, and more, and is the author of two cartoon books.
“I don't think that would have happened if I'd only aimed wide at the start. I'd still be writing to syndicates hoping to get a shot at ‘the mainstream,’” says Tom.
Ann Handley is an 11-year veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. Currently, Ann is the Chief Content Officer of
http://www.marketingprofs.com which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how for marketing and business professionals through a full range of online media and live events. She also blogs at
, her acclaimed personal web log.
Photo credit: J Wynia