Tag Archives: niche marketing

The power of branding, a lesson from Rodeo Drive

It’s hard to imaging spending $300 on one pair of jeans, let alone spending that kind of money on denim when our country is in a recession. But, designer jean companies have figured out how to keep selling their high-ticket items and thrive during the downturn.

While most wouldn’t put designer jeans and training products into the same category, they do have one thing in common – they’re both viewed as nonessential items when tough times hit. Training and development is often one of the first places companies look to cut when under financial stress.

Like training programs, when consumers start to feel the pinch it means cutbacks on “non-essential” items including expensive clothing. Michael Ball, creator of designer jean brand Rock & Republic, explained how he built his denim empire and what he’s doing to handle the economic downturn in a recent BusinessWeek article.

With no fashion experience, Ball created a line of jeans just over five years ago that immediately caught on in the Los Angeles celebrity scene. His high-end, $300 men’s and women’s jeans developed a cult-like following that turned his idea into a $300 million brand.

So, how did he do it?

Start with a high-quality product that people find value in. “Certain denim brands have made it their focus to be a game-changer. They make you feel really great and you will pay twice as much for those. What [Ball] is able to do is get the consumer of many different age segments and deliver on the implied promise that these jeans will make your life better, you will feel better.”

Change with the market. Ball understands that people have less money these days and are changing the way they spend money. While they may not buy three pairs of jeans at a time, they will buy one great pair from the brand with the right message. “The top-tier has fallen off,” says ball who has repriced his jeans due to the struggling market.

Develop a powerful brand. Believing that “all publicity is good publicity,” Ball is never shy when it comes to media attention. Strong brands are more likely to hold up better than weak ones when the market hits a slump. Ball was able to create a distinctive position in his market with a “real perceived differentiation” than others in his industry.

Position your product as an essential part of your consumers’ lives. Whether it’s a pair of jeans or employee training software, only the most powerful and adaptive companies will survive.

Niche searchers: When it’s OK to be #2

It’s believed that if your Web pages are not listed on the first page of search engine results that your business is virtually invisible on the Internet. But, the latest research from Marketing Sherpa explored one large exception to that rule – niche searchers.

Examining the behavior of niche searchers, the Sherpas narrowed their research to a group of industrial engineers who regularly click through to the second page or deeper of search engine results to find information.

This specific group of niche searchers dig “significantly” deeper than general searchers and sometimes expect that the information they’re looking for will not appear on the first page. “The same applies to other highly-specific searchers,” according to Marketing Sherpa.

“Just because these searcher are willing to keep looking doesn’t mean they won’t happily click on an earlier result if it’s relevant. Using the long-phrase searches found in your log files can give you insight into how to optimize. Even if these highly specific pages only get a few clicks per month, chances are good that those clicks will be very valuable for companies with high price points.”

The takeaway: Improve search engine optimization on pages in your website that appeal to niche searchers. Even though your pages aren’t making it to the first page of results, a niche searcher will work harder to find exactly what they’re looking for.

This research is great news for all of the training marketers out there discouraged by poor search engine rankings. Keep optimizing so training professionals can find your pages. If they’re determined and their search is specific enough, they’ll dig well past the second page of results.

Niche searchers dig deeper on the Web

Niche searchers dig deeper on the Web

New report: HR buyer purchasing behavior

HRmarketer.com published their “Trends in HR Marketing” report, providing information on trends and best practices for marketing to human resources professionals and on HR buyer purchasing behavior.

The reports can be downloaded for free from HRmarketer.com (after filling out a quick registration form).

It is usually the person in the HR role who is purchasing the training products for their company, so knowing their buying behavior can offer insights on how best to market your product. This report could help you market more effectively, by knowing the best tools and methods to reach your target audience.

Covered topics include:

  • Use of Internet search engines by HR buyers
  • HR and Web 2.0
  • How important is exhibiting?
  • How often do HR buyers go out to bid for various products and services?
  • HR “pain points” for the coming year
  • How HR buyers “go shopping”
  • Where should HR vendors spend their marketing and PR dollars?

Video Case Study: Sea World’s social media program

This video examines how Sea World successfully launched a social media campaign around a new park roller coaster and how they measured the program’s effectiveness. I found the video on Web Strategy by Jeremiah in a post written earlier this month.

Sea World discovered a way to successfully communicate with one social network that had a passion for their product, in this case, roller coasters. The company targeted a specific niche market of roller coaster enthusiasts with the opening of a new ride at their California location.

They used a mix of YouTube and Flickr to publish internal videos and then urged the community called “American Coaster Enthusiasts” to use the media pieces in their own network. Some of the videos Sea World created were downloaded 100,000 times.

Sea World showed a bravery that is sometimes rare with big corporations – they let go of their own content and gave the community power to spread their message. Their trust in the community led to enthusiastic, free promotion and measurable results in the form of increased park visits.

It’s a great video that could spark some ideas within your own company on how to use social media to target niche markets.

Watch it now: Measurement makes a splash at Sea World