We all know that different groups use digital media in different ways. There is no one size fits all marketing strategy. So whether you’re trying to reach out to members of the Real Life Super Hero movement (a community of men who dress up like superheroes and fight crime) or the uber-wealthy individuals who belong to Family Bhive (a U.K.-based social networking site for those with a minimum net worth of £5 million), the first thing you need to understand as a marketer is: what motivates these people?
This question is big. In order to understand a niche market, you first need to understand what connects them.
Last week, I had the opportunity to address the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit on the topic of niche demographics. The two-day event, presented by the Strategy Institute (and sponsored by Delvinia), took place at the Metropolitan Hotel and focused on digital marketing strategies designed to target financial services customers.
Delvinia has worked on a number of niche market websites and digital marketing programs for financial services companies (including the Next Great Innovator Challenge for RBC Royal Bank and Scotiabank BeMusic) as well as campaigns for organizations like The Wall Street Journal and Canadian Blood Services.
We define a niche market as a community of people connected by shared interests and experiences: not by demographics or a target market. It’s often hard for marketers to change their way of thinking.
However, to be successful in reaching out and staying connected with individuals within a niche market, there are three questions marketers need to answer:
- What motivates these people?
- How do you cost-effectively reach them?
- How do you stay connected, relevant and connected to a niche market?
What motivates these people?
At Delvinia, we always tackle this question by first profiling the audience or consumer base and getting to know and understand them better. As a marketer or product manufacturer, you want to know whether you are dealing with a highly social digital base—one that is time-pressed and unlikely to respond to a social campaign, or one that is generally lagging in their use of most digital technologies.
Begin by understanding their needs, their behaviours, and attitudes…and how they use the medium.
- Get involved and participate in the niche market…gather insights, understand the lexicon.
- Create personas for your niche market
- Customer empathy – walk a mile in their shoes
How do you reach them cost effectively?
This essentially comes down to being in the right place, at the right time and using the right platform. Delvinia recently developed a campaign for The Wall Street Journal that illustrates this concept.
The newspaper had been in Canada for several years, leveraging American-focused creative, with average results. When we embarked on the project, we set out to answer big questions like what type of editorial content would be most relevant to the Canadian market, what kind of creative would resonate with potential subscribers and where to best reach this hard to reach business audience.
Using AskingCanadians™, our proprietary online research community, Delvinia gathered data and insights into the behaviours and attitudes of the niche — males working in the financial district, including traders and brokers.
By examining readership trends and the lifestyles of those in the target audience, we gained an understanding of the type of content Canadian readers are interested in and discovered that the campaign need to appeal to individuals with very busy lives who are constantly on the go.
These insights prompted us to focus on mobile as a means of reaching potential subscribers. Through our creative and targeted media placement, we doubled clickthrough rates and conversions from the previous campaign.
How do you engage your niche?
Content and conversion is key. And, this takes resources and time.
To create engagement there are several options:
- Create a gathering spot – microsite, Facebook community page, blog or mobile app
- Create an ideagora or crowd sourcing platform, a place where people and businesses can share and exchange ideas
- Create a social CRM program
Delvinia’s work with the Canadian Blood Services is an example of a social CRM. Social brings a new element into CRM because now instead of just dealing with data and information, we are dealing with conversations and relationships. These conversations and relationships take place not just from company to consumer, but also from consumer to consumer. We used this concept and created the Operation Lifeblood community to address the fact that there was a gap between blood donors and those who intended to give blood.
The purpose: let donors (advocates) and intenders (fence sitters) speak to each other in an open community. We created an email program to build a database and the email communications effectively bridged the gap. The program achieved a conversion rate of 16 per cent, exceeding the original 10 per cent target.