If you’re in business, I’m sure that you will have come across the idea of developing a reputation as an expert in a specialist niche for yourself and your organisation. It is true to say that to be successful in business, you require fluency and a tailored understanding of your field and therefore might it be said that developing this niche is really just about promoting your knowledge in a certain way?

In days gone by, articles in which people promoted their expert knowledge were often considered as being implacable bluster however in current times and probably thanks to the advent of the internet, these pieces are a welcome source of free information by the reader and can ultimately position the publisher as a thought leader in their field. Interestingly, this is perhaps one of the best things that can happen to a business as it allows you to set trends that others are sure to follow. It also gives customers the confidence that the help and advice that you provide to them is supported by a real understanding and direct experience of their position. 

Developing any sort of brand is a costly exercise and promoting your business expertise to a particular subset of customers is no different. However, as you already know who you wish to target and how to access them, not to mention the fact that you understand precisely what they require, being a specialist can certainly help to reduce this acquisition cost. Your marketing message will be much more targeted and if you have embraced the idea of thought leadership mentioned above, the points that you convey are much more likely to be adopted given your perceived position of expertise. Overall, this allows you to deliver a much higher level of customer conversion and therefore reduces your overall marketing cost. 

The days of being able to differentiate yourself by saying that you provide a “high quality, personal service” are gone. This is simply an expectation from a savvy customer. Carving out a niche allows you to bespoke your customer proposition with tangible and relevant benefits, earn trust and credibility and ultimately puts you ahead of your competition.  

So, is having a niche specialism important? Well clearly there is a place for generalists in all sectors although typically these tend to be the larger and more well established organisations that have developed over many years. Interestingly they may even have started out as a collection of businesses servicing individual specialist customer groups which has been brought together through a consolidation process. A good example of this in the insurance industry would be a general insurer, known for their limited risk appetite and lack of dynamism.

Could it be therefore that operating successfully in a niche is a way for smaller, exciting businesses to be able to build market share quickly and effectively? Perhaps operating a number of sub-brands in a variety of specialisms could be a way to deliver scale and stability in a cost effective manner?

Whatever your views on the topic, I’d love to hear them. Please comment below. 

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