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Market Segment: Niche Market vs Mass Market


Mass Marketing vs Niche Marketing

If you’ve heard the phrase “you can’t please all the people all the time” then you know my stance on Mass Market strategies. But first, what is a mass market strategy?

Mass Marketing

Essentially, it is a plan to target the market in its entirety and neglect sub-markets (market segments).

What this creates is a relatively generic and diluted message being sent out to everyone. Picture a large company making a single radio commercial, and distributing it across every radio station regardless of it being: rock, hip-hop, country, Christian, easy listening, classical, etc.

This would be an example of a mass marketing campaign. The idea is to get your message out to as many people as possible, regardless of which market they are contained in.

Niche Marketing

Niche marketing is very different in philosophy. An example of Niche marketing would be a company creating a radio commercial that stars a hip-hop artist, advertising a product that appeals to young people who live that lifestyle, then distributing that across hip-hop radio stations only.

Niche markets are potentially infinite, and they can be especially effective in generating sales. One big problem with niche marketing is targeting a niche that is too small.

One example of a niche company is Etsy. Etsy offers a market place for handmade and vintage items. This has attracted a very large number of sellers and buyers, and resulted in a successful business.

An example of targeting too small a niche would be starting a market place where shops can only sell handmade berets that are only made of Cotton/Alpaca blended fabric. Does a market exist for that? Maybe, but good luck having sustainable sales!

Mass Market Difficulty

There are many difficulties with a mass market strategy. One of the bigger ones is the competition. Most major corporations follow a mass market strategy, especially in the retail space.

Mass marketing also has the problem of potentially turning off certain markets. If a market doesn’t feel like you’re in tune with their needs, or if they feel you are being intentionally generic for monetary reasons, then you may lose business.

An example of this is when businesses use the phrase “Happy Holidays.” People often feel that this is a ploy to generically extend a holiday greeting, but are turned off by how generic it feels.

At its core, mass marketing is expensive, and overrun by competitions. Small businesses have a hard time succeeding with a mass market strategy, and often are better served by starting with a niche, and targeting different niches as they grow.

Niche Market Difficulty

One of the hardest parts of Niche marketing is: finding your niche! It is difficult because you have to segment enough so it isn’t a large market that is over run by competition, but you don’t want to segment so much that you’ve got 1 customer.

Additionally, you have to ensure that you can connect on the correct level with your customers. If you select the niche of men in their 40s that own a farm and enjoy contemporary country music, then you better be able to connect with that market.

You need to know how they think, what their needs are, what they understand, and how to encode the message for them so they can receive and respond to it. Don’t try to sell spinner rims to this market! You should probably also avoid using Twitter as your primary means of communicating with them.

Selecting A Market

Selecting your market will be one of the most important decisions you make. It will determine the messages you send to your market, it will determine your products uses, packaging, and feel, and it will impact your businesses culture.

Starting a business is a huge step, but selecting your market is probably the next biggest step. Your business will succeed or fail based on your ability to select the correct market, and connect with it properly.

If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments!

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