What’s the difference between niche marketing and mass marketing? I get asked this question a lot. The answer is simple.
Niche marketing is about serving a unique market segment that is underserved or overlooked by the other providers. The customers in this market segment have special needs that are not being addressed by current providers; they are ignored because the other providers don’t know about the segment’s unique needs or the providers just don’t care. Often the market segment is too small for a bigger provider to make any money.
An example of a niche market would be the “exotic” automobile segment served by the automaker Ferrari; they offer a highly specialized product for a very few, unique customers. Competition and price is not an issue for Ferrari, since their focus is on the users’ very unique “needs”. Ferrari perennially sells everything it can manufacturer with waits of 6-12 months considered normal. (Note to self: I need a Ferrari right away; I need to talk to the wife about budget.)
Mass marketing focuses on serving as much of the market as possible. As Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame says, “It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.” Generally, mass marketing involves providing the same solution to many customers with little personalization. The emphasis is on volume, cost, and efficiency; this is the domain of large providers such consumer product firms.
A good example of a mass marketed product is a Snickers candy bar, which sells in the millions of units and is not personalized for its users. The parent, Mars Incorporated, must worry about price, channels of distribution, the cost of sugar, and the competition at all times. Maintaining market share is their mantra. The customer can lost in the worry.
John Bradley Jackson
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