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Is "Nichemanship" Still a Critical Component of Business Success?

Sep 8, 2008
What exactly is nichemanship and is it still relevant to organizations and individuals attempting to develop or refine their strategic marketing plans and actions?

According to an online marketing directory, nichemanship is a term used to refer to the art of skilful selection of market segments in which a firm can compete effectively.

I think it also means the ability to accurately determine what your unique strengths are, who your ideal customers - the people you are uniquely positioned to serve are, and then seizing and holding tight to the top position - the perception of superiority, you create in the their hearts, minds, and checkbooks.

Nichemanship is about positioning your products and services so that, in the minds of your customers, there could not be a suitable substitute for the services you provide and the products you sell and service.

The first step is to study and thoroughly analyze the top companies throughout a broad range of industries - not just other people like you, looking for successful strategies you can use in your organization. You've got to think outside the box when you are looking for ways to set yourself apart from your competition.

The Internet with its vast resources and a group of your peers, perhaps from around the country, can help you do that.

Why would you want to investigate companies in industries other than you own? Because you can learn a lot from what others are doing successfully - whether it seems to be directly relevant or not.

For example, let's say your company sells and services tractors, various other types of outdoor power equipment and accessories. If your study and analysis focuses solely on your industry, your dealership will become more and more like those of your competition leaving the only differentiation, other that brand preference, price. You will miss what others are doing successfully that you could integrate into your organization.

By asking the members of your peer group for suggestions you may learn that a Mercedes dealer one of them knows provides their customers a 24/7/365 pick up service when they have a problem - no matter where the car is located. A Ford dealer in another town gives waiting customers a coupon for 50% their meal at a nearby restaurant. And you may learn about a Jeep dealer that moved an unused swimming pool into one of their buildings and converted it into a fly casting practice tank for their service center's customers.

The value of going through this study and analysis process is the innovation that comes next. It is critically important that you keep in mind that regardless of what others are doing, regardless of what you've done in the past and regardless how crazy an idea seems at first - there is really no such thing as a bad idea.

There are only good ideas that may be combined uniquely with others and enhanced into dramatic tools for your organization's differentiation from your competitors.

The key for you is to continually innovate and adapt your strategies - always keeping your competition guessing.

Once you announce that your dealership is the only one in your area that sends someone out to your customers' farms and picks them up when their tractor has been repaired - your competitors will have to step up or lose out.

Then, you add cable TV and high speed Internet access in the waiting room. Next you extend the range of your free pick up and delivery service. And on and on keeping your competitors off guard by using innovative strategies that you picked up from the insights of your peers.

Nichemanship is alive and well in the 21st Century, the Internet and long distance peer-to-peer collaboration make the necessary study and analysis easy.

The key is to harness the power of the people you can always count on for unbiased help and insights, always strive to think strategically, innovate continually, and do the best you possibly can to execute your strategies flawlessly.
About the Author
Wayne Messick reports on how Main St. businesses are poised to succeed in the 21st Century on his blog
www.WayneMessick.com His updated peer-to-peer collaboration report can be found at
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