Strategic marketing entails that an organization utilizes its resources in adapting with the changes in the marketing environment in which it operates. For an organization to gain competitive advantage and curve a niche over its rivals it need to cultivate and implement a niche marketing strategy that would make it capture consumers to its products in the mist of other competitive goods. In an ever increasing competitive global business arena, the need to strategies and be in tune with current trends in an industry where an organization operates, this is very germane to the success level the organization would attain. Strategic marketing entails that the organization carries out an effective planning that would coordinate the whole marketing operates of the organization and make it adapt to its environment through effective utilization of available resources. Thus, the different marketing strategies; pricing strategy, distributive strategy, promotional strategy, sales strategy, product creation and branding strategy, among others, these are synchronize in meeting the marketing objectives of the organization. The strategic marketing and management pattern goes to reflect the structure of the organization. One strategic marketing pattern adopted in contemporary times is niche marketing.
Niche Marketing Concept
Niche marketing is a marketing concept where a producer tries to differentiate his/her product from what is obtainable from the industry in which it operates. Niche marketing cuts across every industries and it is operational when an organization exhibit a product differentiation strategy, in order to make its product unique in quality, branding, taste, size and shapes. In this regards, Fuduric, et al (2005, pg 3) defines niche marketing as “a marketing scheme designed to distinguish a product from its competition, in regards to products elements such as taste or freshness, inter-alia. This is done with the motive to increase consumer product awareness and demand”.
Producers of goods use niche marketing to catch those opportunities that exist in the industries they operate, as the uniqueness and quality of the niche catcher’s product would be attractive to consumers. The product uniqueness increases consumers’ awareness of the product. For example in the agricultural industry, such professionals that grows cash crops or engage in fish farming have ways of branding their product in such as a way that would differentiate their product from others engaging in the same product production. Examples of such thriving niche marketing in the agriculture industry include the producer of certified Angus beef and Mississippi catfish.
As earlier stated niche marketing is applicable to different industries, be it in agriculture, confectionaries, electronic, automobiles, fashion, among others. Where there exist competition for products in an industry, niche marketing is applicable for gaining market opportunity, and curve greater advantage over market competitors.
Niche marketing, also deals with product value build up, alongside with product differentiation. The producer using niche marketing should be ready to add more value to the organization product in order to give it that unique quality that attracts consumers to it. Branding and labelling plays significant role in niche marketing.
The branding of a product goes a long to determine the first impression that consumers would form concerning such product. Thus, the appeal attached to a product is contributed through branding and the product’s quality.
In creating niche market, the producer, apart from laying emphases on the product’s quality, as demanded by consumers, need to adopt methods that would enhance the product’s production, and structure channel marketing that would give the product its regional identity. When this is done, the advantages associated with niche marketing would be attained. Those advantages associated with niche marketing include the following:
- Niche marketing gives uniqueness associated with a product, thus differentiating it to enable producers earn more;
- It creates avenue for product rearrangement in a food chain structure, in order to discover more appropriate ways of product distribution to bypass intermediaries;
- Niche marketing also, intensifies the communication bond between the producer and consumers of the products. Those salient qualities the consumers desire would be easily communicated to the producer as a way of improving the quality of the product;
- By satisfying the consumer through niche marketing, the producer stands to gain greater market share in the industry it operates.
In this era where consumers are becoming conscious to the effect products have on the environment, their choice and taste for products graves fro those with little or no harmful effect to the environment. Many consumers of fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, among others, would prefer those produce with less chemical hazard causing substance. For instance, many consumer do not want organic products, they prefer those grown naturally. With this level of taste and awareness, a producer can make his product with in line with those tastes and wants the consumers’ desires. When this is done the process of niche marketing is enhanced.
A successive niche marketing strategy should be able to adequately utilize the organization’s resources in adapting to the business environment in which it operates. Here, through the strategic moves the organization is able to increase the sales level for the organization and customer patronage. In doing this, the organization’s strategy should be centred round the customers through its marketing mix. Here, strategizing should take acknowledgement of the product, place (distribution), the price, and promotional strategies in building a competitive base for the organization, through customer’s satisfaction. In this view, Oden (1997:3) argues that “many of today’s most successful organizations continue to survive because many years ago they offered the right product at the right time. Most product, market, and process venture decisions of the past were made without the benefit of strategic thinking or planning. However, present-day managers increasingly recognize that venture decisions must be made in the context of a venture strategy. As they find themselves in ever more complex and turbulent environments, their past internally oriented, reactive approach to decision making is giving way to an externally oriented proactive approach that requires more analysis”. Communication plays a significant role in contemporary marketing strategy, even more in an organization that adopts niche marketing strategy. Thus, for an organization to put up a good niche marketing strategy it must always communicate with consumer to know those changes they desire in its products, so as to keep them attracted to the product continually.
How Innocent Drinks Organization Has Adopted Niche Marketing In Its Product Enhancement
Innocent Drinks organization started operation in the production of drinks since 1998. The name ‘Innocent’ for the organization is derived to symbolize the organization’s products that are naturally made and unadulterated. “We call them innocent because our drinks are always completely pure, fresh, and unadulterated. Anything you ever find in an innocent bottle will always be 100% natural and delicious -and if it isn’t, get on the banana phone and make us beg for forgiveness” (Innocent Drinks, 2006). Innocent drinks organization involve in the production of drinks derived from its cow milk and fruit drinks. The organization has variety of brands of drinks, which are produced to give delight to its customers. The different range of the organization’s product range from smoothies; with brand for children and other varieties; superfoods; a natural smoothies produced for specific purpose such as when one feels tender; big carton smoothies for home keep and refrigeration. There is also thickies; probiotic yoghurt, and juicy waters containing juice and spring water all mixed up to make customers feel wonderful and satisfy.
Innocent Drinks has utilized the process of niche marketing in sustaining itself in the drink industry where it operates in European countries, and the United States.
The products of Innocent organization are produced in ways that consumers get the natural taste of the drinks they consume. Here, pure, fresh, and unadulterated drinks are produced in their quality form for customer’s satisfaction. The products are 100% pure of fruits or milk according to the different brands. Thus, customers are guaranteed that they are consuming hygienic, natural, and unadulterated drinks. Furthermore, the Innocent Drinks organization has different varieties of assorted smoothies, made of fruits and milk. The different brands of the organization are made to satisfy customers taste both young and old. The prices of the Innocent drinks are moderate and customer friendly. The drinks come in small bottled pack, which costs are affordable by all and sundry. Given the quality and pure unadulterated drinks consumers get from the Innocent drinks product range, they get the worth for their money. The strategy embarked by the Innocent organization where it recycle its products containers and bottles, this goes to reduce the cost of production of the organization’s product, hence, the price set for its products are low. “We are moving away from virgin finite materials to renewable materials, such as recycled plastic and plastic alternatives such as bottles made out of corn starch – a material known as Polylactic. To date, we have managed to get our plastic smoothie bottles to 50% recycled plastic (we’re working on the rest) and we have a corn starch, commercially compostable bottle due to launch in September 2006” (Innocent Drinks, 2006).
The distribution of the organization’s product is carried out through direct sales of the organization’s products to consumers by the aid of the organization’s cow van. The cow van helps to carry the organization’s product every nooks and crannies in the United Kingdom where it operates.
The promotion of the organization’s products is done through the strong brand it has built for itself. The cow van is easily recognized, and this serves as a medium of promoting the organization’s products as the vans engages in the distribution and sales of the organization varieties of drinks. The well-structured websites of the organization is another medium in which the organization promotes its ranges of products to a wider market in the international level.
All these 4 Ps of the organization’s strategic marketing are integrated to bring about the effective increase in sales of the organization’s products. Each of the strategies for product manufacturing, pricing system, promotion and distribution all are built in an integrated pattern to bring about the effective distribution of quality product at an affordable price to customers. Moreover, satisfaction of customers taste is the overall focus of the Innocent niche marketing strategies.
Fuduric, Joseph A., et al (2005) “Marketing Wild Caught South Carolina Shrimp: Lessons Learned from Agricultural Niche Marketing Programs” pp. 3
Innocent Drinks (2006) “The Innocent Foundation Organization”
Oden, Howard W. (1997) Managing Corporate Culture, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Westport, CT: Quorum Books pp. 51
Rahmann, G., et al (2001) “Opportunities and Barriers for Niche Marketing of Lamb in
European LFAs Based on Consumer attitudes to Product Quality” pp. 42