One of the biggest mistake new product makers believe is that EVERYONE is their market! Well, even if you make toothpaste (that everyone uses), your niche is still not everyone!
So one of the most important steps in marketing your product or line is to know your product niche.
When I first started my sales rep business — even before we had products of our own — I sold Lewis & Clark and Sacajawea chocolate bars. My niche was Lewis & Clark motif products. Knowing that not everyone in my home state of Idaho would be interested in this type of motif, I sold mostly within 30 miles of the Lewis & Clark trail.
Within the next few years, once the Lewis & Clark celebration was nearly over, I switched my niche to Idaho made gourmet foods and products. Selling all over Idaho became my new territory, and sales were good.
As a sales rep, my husband and I noticed that there was very few gourmet products in the marketplace that a woman would buy for a man. We were not trying to target the male buyers, but the female consumers who bought for their husbands, boyfriends, brothers and fathers. We eventually developed the Idaho Redneck line of gourmet foods. We started out our line with BBQ and teriyaki sauces, hot catsups, and a line of soaps and lip balms. With these products in hand, I moved away from the ‘frilly’ gift stores and started selling to sporting goods outlets, tourist shops, convenience stores, RV campground stores etc.
After awhile, some of my gift basket buyers asked if we could repackage the line is something more suitable for professional folks, so we took the same products and developed a beautiful gold foil label line called Gold Mountain Gourmet Foods. Once again, we were catering to a particular niche in the marketplace.
The best way I have found to help discover your niche market is to imagine your ideal customer. Make up an avatar — name and all — for your product or line of products.
For our Idaho Redneck line, we found that females, between the ages of 18 to 40, with “redneck” outdoorsy type men in their life who wanted a special gourmet gift was our niche market.
One the other hand, the Gold Mountain line was specifically designed for highly educated professionals, maybe a bit older group, who wanted a rich looking gourmet food item.
Each was a different market based on a different clientele.
So what is your niche market? And are you promote your products to the stores that cater to this type of customer?