Monday, September 12, 2011

“Generic Marketing” vs. “Niche” Marketing - what works best?

The traditional way of presenting one’s products and services – in the reprographics industry in the U.S. – is to provide a list of the various services and products one offers. Such as would be the case if one offered, and provided, this “list” of services and products:

· Small-format black & white copying and printing services

· Small-format color copying and printing services

· Small-format scanning services

· Bindery and finishing services

· Large-format black & white copying and printing services

· Large-format color copying and printing services

· Large-format scanning services

· Finishing services, including mounting and laminating, etc.

· Digital document management services

· ePlanroom services

· OnSite Solutions (FM’s)

· Large-format reprographics equipment (sales, leases, rentals)

One might also say that the company offers “posters, banners, billboards” and one might also say that the company offers “plan and spec” printing services for design and construction documents.

With respect to all of the above, I’d refer to this way of promoting one’s services and products as “generic” marketing.

To me, “niche” marketing, which is growing fast and is in widespread use, already, in many industries, is the attempt to closely depict and define what one offers - and to advertise/promote products and services – in such a manner where there is no question, whatsoever, that the company offers the service or product a consumer (B2B or whoever) is interested in buying. If a company is going to take “niche” marketing seriously, would it not be a good idea to consider developing a series of web-sites to promote different “niche” services. For example, if I’m a reprographer who does play in the large-format color space, should I not consider creating a separate web-site that promotes “just” banners and posters? Call it “www.bannersandposters.com”? And, if I’m going to offer large-format digital wallpaper, using my HP wide-format latex printer, how about a web-site that promotes “www.customwallpaper.com”?

The question is, what works best? Generic marketing? Or, niche marketing? Or, maybe it would be best to do both?

I’ve traveled a lot over the years, especially by plane. Nearly every time I sit next to a person on a plane and engage that person in a discussion – which naturally leads to the question “what business are you in?” (and, then I get asked that same question), I explain (after I’m asked that question) that I’m involved in the “reprographics business and industry”. Almost always, that statement is met with a blank stare; the person I said that to does not know what “reprographics” is. Related to this blog post, if I’m a marketing person working for a company getting ready to do a tradeshow and need to print large color banners and posters, am I going to Google “reprographics”, or am I more likely to Google “banners and posters”. And, if I do the latter and do wind up on the page of a reprographics company, am I going to immediately gain comfort that the vendor I found is one that specializes in banners and posters?

I would encourage reprographers to think about the idea of creating “niche” web-sites that make it very simple to market and sell “niche” products and services (including web-2-print ordering applications, specific to the niche products and services).

3 comments:

  1. print management really helped out my business when we were struggling with managing our print needs. I recently found a great company that helped our work load.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The term niche marketing has really taken off in the last 5 years with Internet Marketers. "What's your niche" is a question I am often asked when I go to meetups. As you mention it is really important to use language your niche market can understand and connect with.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, i have found this article very useful and i have enjoyed the read.

    http://print-and-reprographics.printingsearcher.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete