Killer Audio Interviews for Your Niche Audience

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Let’s imagine that your group might benefit from the principles of The Great Brand Rush. Perhaps you’d like to engage them with a teleseminar instead of an “in-person” presentation.

If your audience would enjoy listening to (or participating in) an audio interview (like a radio interview), you should visit the link below.

I did a 1-hour audio interview with Alan Rigg with 80/20 Performance, Inc. (his firm provides sales management training) about this niche marketing topic. You can listen to the whole thing for free by visiting this link:

Paul Johnson Audio Interview: http://www.8020salesleader.com/public/09-17-09_Johnson.mp3

If killer audio interviews are a good fit for your group, let’s talk and see what we can put together for you.

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THE TROUBLE BREAKER®, DIRECTLY

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Comments (0) Nov 10 2009

NetFlix Offers $1MM for Better Movie Predictions

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If you have used NetFlix, the DVD rental service, you’ve probably used their recommendation service. They’re success rate in pleasing customers is about to get much better.

Scene from "Makin A Living", Charlie Chaplin's first movie (1914)

Scene from "Makin A Living", Charlie Chaplin's first movie (1914)

The niche market of movie buffs is an eclectic lot. While the rental stores are forced to categorize their physical inventories by such choices as drama, comedy, or action, your individual preferences might be much more varied. Maybe you like Kate Winslet movies. Or you like movies shot in exotic locations. Whatever. NetFlix is spending one million dollars to make you happy. Or, at least, 10% happier. Why? Improved loyalty, more subscribers, more cash.

To accomplish that goal, NetFlix has been running a contest, asking for outsiders to help them improve on the accuracy of predications by 10 percent when compared to their proprietary Cinematch software (originally launched in 2000). After 42,000 contest entries, a team called BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos has apparently met the goal and is prepared to claim the $1MM prize.

When you engage in marketing to a niche audience, you always have to be wondering how good is good enough. In a retail store, broad categories might be enough to satisfy customer expectations. NetFlix realizes their customers expect more, and are willing to spend 7 figures to raise the bar and hopefully gain a competitive advantage. They understand they serve practically infinite variations of customers, and doing that better than anyone else is how they defend their niche and make their money.

Comments (0) Jul 10 2009

The Murky Market for the Mentally Ill

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The fact is that there are huge niche markets comprised of people with personality disorders. In the U.S.:

Sadly, there are plenty of companies to prey on their “needs.”

For example, do a search for spy software and you’ll find companies that cater to the sociopaths and the paranoid. If someone has a “feeling” their spouse is cheating, they can secretly install software that monitors their spouse’s email and tracks their computer usage. Better yet, if the “wronged” spouse can get to their partner’s cell phone, they can load an application on it that lets them secretly hear every call the suspected cheater gets or makes.

While the term sociopath may not be a medical term, it’s commonly accepted as a label for those who lack a sense of moral responsibility and social conscience. They repeatedly lie, cheat and manipulate others to control them and get what they want regardless of the damage done. Buying spy software does not require them to suspend feelings of guilt or wrongdoing; there was none to begin with.

According the Webster’s Dictionary, the word Exploit has 2 meanings. The first is benevolent: to use fully or advantageously. The second is harmful: to use selfishly or unethically. The folks who prey on niche markets made up of the ill and the weak apply the second definition of Exploit in the most negative and hurtful way.

When you choose a niche market, make sure all your plans to use opportunities fully and advantageously are not marred by selfishness and unethical behavior.

Comments (1) Jun 19 2009

Supermarkets Exploit New Retail Niches in Recession

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From the outside, we could think that supermarkets are faceless commodities. After all, if you cover up the sign in front and walk down the aisle of a grocery store, it’s hard to tell one from another. They all sell the same stuff.

Or do they? In an article on innovation in Business Week, author Damian Joseph notes that frugal customers are forcing food retailers to innovate new ways to differentiate themselves. Some methods include:

Supermarket differentiation copyright Paul Johnson

  • Ready-to-eat meals
  • Eco-friendly offerings
  • Self Checkout lanes
  • Smart carts
  • Product Reviews
  • Downloadable coupons
  • In-store baby sitting

Neil Stern of McMillan Doolittle, a retail consultancy in Chicago, points out, “Grocery stores lose or gain about 10% of their customers base each year.”

As the economic slowdown is causing shoppers to look differently at how they shop, the supermarkets that will do well must accommodate the changing needs and desires of their customers.

As Stern notes, “Differentiation works for the retailer who can truly master it.”

Mastery of your niche depends on how well you understand your customers and the points of differentiation they’re looking for.

“Paul, I especially like your points about creating powerful customer experiences. Now our people understand they can stay “in the box” of our policies and procedures, yet still deliver unique and creative experiences to make our customers say, ‘Wow!'”

Giant Eagle Inc.
Larry Reuss, Director

Comments (0) Jun 10 2009

How to Hire a Pony Express Rider

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The Pony Express ramped up to exploit the unique business niche they found by attracting “talent” with this actual advertising poster from 1860. As you can see, they were very specific about the desired attributes of their riders.

Pony Express Job Ad

While they generously expressed preference for hiring orphans, they didn’t break any equal opportunity employment laws back then (because there weren’t any).

They were also generous in paying $25 per week. The average laborer at the time made $30 per month.

Your group will enjoy seeing historic photos and documents like this as they learn the principles that will enable them to develop successful niche businesses in the 21st century.

Contact me, Paul Johnson, and let’s bring The Great Brand Rush to your next meeting.

Comments (0) May 13 2009

Police Cars a Neglected Niche Market: Video

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Hermosa Beach, CA – Carbon Motors noticed that police cars were always modified production cars, while ambulances, fire trucks and even mail carrier vehicles were custom built for the unique demands of their particular applications.

With a market niche of about 800,000 vehicles, that’s a big market. If the average purchase price of  police cars is $50,000, you’ve got 40 BILLION DOLLARS worth of sheet metal and technology ready for patrol duty at any one time.

Start-up Carbon Motors plans to claim a big chunk of that market from the established automakers. How? By paying attention to the unique needs of this market. Their design is safer for officers while enabling them to be more efficient, and delivers low cost of operation plus long service life that makes the economics a slam dunk. Production isn’t slated until 2012, but with enough advance orders I’m sure they’ll gladly push that date up.

Here’s a fun video that will give you a good look at their purpose-built police car.


Carbon Motors E7 Police Car Photoshoot – Douglas Sonders Photography from Douglas Sonders on Vimeo.

Now let’s think… how long has this market been under-served? Since the 1920’s? This niche market has been waiting for someone to exploit it for almost a century. It’s surprising to me that $40BB hasn’t induced someone to figure this out sooner. Kudos to Bill Li and Stacy Dean Stephens for having the vision and courage to go after this niche. You can find more on these purpose-built police cars at www.CarbonMotors.com.

Comments (0) Apr 10 2009

Niche Marketer Fishes for Jerky Customers

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Duluth, GA –

Paul Johnson: I’m talking with Rick Jones, and I’m intrigued by the incredible niche market that Rick has found. Rick, what business are you in?

Rick Jones: We are in the specialty food retail business. We focus mainly on beef jerky. Beef jerky, really any kind of jerky. A lot of game jerky, beef jerky and turkey jerky.

Paul: Wow. I was impressed because I saw a billboard along a major interstate here with the Beef Jerky Store, and I thought, “There’s somebody who must know his business.” So, from your perspective, Rick, what are the advantages of selecting a tightly focused niche market like beef jerky to build a business in?beef_jerky_billboard

Rick: I guess, you get real expertise and there’s a very small kind of a niche both in the wholesale companies that supply us, there’s other outlets sort of like us, but it keeps you focused. And also, your marketing is easier to get your demographic. People who would like beef jerky is typically a male, you know, kind of an outdoorsman who’s looking for a portable protein snack that they don’t have to worry about spoilage or anything like that.

Paul: Perfect. In getting into this business, most people tend to go for broad outlets like food stores or sporting good stores. You picked something very tightly focused. What gave you the courage to invest in such a narrowly focused business?

beef_jerky_wallRick: Well, I would love to say that I had the epiphany myself, when actually it seems another gentleman that had one of these and introduced us to another group that have several of them in the Michigan area. But we had seen it perform and could do some research on business volume, profitability and we felt like it was, just like you, a really neat niche to go into.

Paul: So you were able to do some research and get some statistics and develop a plan around your demographics, how many there were and what the market potential was before you ever jumped in?

Rick: Right, that’s correct.

Paul: Great! And, it’s nice that there was somebody in another state who was doing a little pioneering effort for you as well, I guess.

Rick: M-hmm. That’s right.

Paul: What advice, Rick, might you have for someone who’s looking for a market to expand into?

Rick: Advice? I would say one thing the niche market does give us, I said easier marketing. And, what marketing entails for us is location. Location seems to be the most critical element with a niche. Your audience has to be pervasive wherever you are. All of our three stores are located directly outside Bass Pro Shops.

Paul: Wonderful.

beef_jerky_facadeRick: That’s sort of a draw for us. The first store we put in was kind of a done without any planning as far as location goes, we were looking more at the lease expense than we were at the advantages of something that’s more expensive but closer to the mall and a Bass Pro Shop.

We found out it’s worth the investment to get the location that your customers will be traveling back and forth in front of you.

Paul: Right.

Rick: People that will see the beef jerky sign and go, “Wow, I’ve got to check that out.”

Paul: And you’re right on the way to the Bass Pro Shop, and we know people come from all around, from out of state and hundreds of miles away just to visit Bass Pro Shops.

Rick: Right.

Paul: Well done!

Rick: We get people from South Carolina, Tennessee. All come down here just to shop here.beef_jerky_stand

Paul: Beautiful. Rick, thanks for your helpful insights and I wish you the best of luck at the Beef Jerky Outlet. How would people contact you if they wanted to know more about your store?

Rick: Actually, calling my cell number is really the best way to contact. And we do a lot of shipping. Right now we just do it over the phone. But, we’re happy to ship it anywhere. The number is 865 680 4692.

Paul: Perfect. Thanks, Rick, for all your insights. I really appreciate that.

Rick: All right. Thanks for talking.

Comments (0) Mar 02 2009