Finding your niche in a world of mass marketing

Many companies have often banked on driving growth by carrying a wide range of products or hosting a range of brands under a parent company. But according to McKinsey, the model that has long propelled industries now faces immense pressure with the changing trends and behaviours in the consumer market.

Speaking specifically to FMCGs, McKinsey says that companies “need to reduce their reliance on mass brands” and embrace an agile operating model focused on brand relevance rather than synergies. The report added that performance, especially top-line growth, was slipping in most sub-segments.

During a recent round table hosted by Marketing, in partnership with Oracle, many marketers said that to succeed in today’s economy, finding your niche and voice, and driving home that point over and over to customers, would most likely help in getting your brand to stand out in a cluttered market.

According to Walter Santos Navarro, director of marketing communications at Sofitel, the key to effectively marketing brands is as simple as focusing and staying true to the DNA of each brand you carry. Of course, that needs to be married with the fierce showcasing of the strength, innovativeness and uniqueness of each brand in multi-channels on multi-platforms.

“As marketers, we must always be hungry, aware and recognise the differences between the audience and demographics each of our brands cater to,” he said.

“We must wield the data that we have to its optimum usage and leverage our understanding of these markets and create services, products and experiences that are tailor-made to the desire of each audience. In doing so, we provide both a niche and equal opportunities for each one to shine.”

He added that finding your niche consumer base – and understanding it today – is not easy either. Many marketers are learning to evolve their brands with the power of data. However, privacy remains a top concern in many of their minds, he added.

Echoing similar sentiments, Soren Beaulieu publisher of Marketing magazine, added that marketers today are evolving with the constant demands for tighter user privacy and security, especially with the new general data protection regulation (GDPR) changes rolling out in Europe.

“In particular, participants considered how this could be a chance to improve their value proposition and position in order to continue getting user opt-in, and the invaluable data that came along with it,” Beaulieu said.

According to Stephen Hamill, VP of JAPAC at Oracle Marketing Cloud, many marketers are now collecting user data and augmenting customer information with third party data. But they are wary of the risk they are taking given the “vagueness in the PDPC (Personal Data Protection Commission) standards”.

He added that marketers in Singapore have no doubt realised they have acquired data and reporting technologies. But there is a big gap in the market for data analysts that can turn analysis into actionable tasks.

Rezwana Manjur, regional editor of Marketing magazine, added that today there are a lot of marketers who have gone above and beyond to gather data in an attempt to truly understand their consumers.

“But what they do with the data is not always the clearest due to a lack of data analysts who can help decode data and speak the language of marketing,” she said.

Wendy Hogan, CX and marketing strategy director at Oracle, added that among marketers in Singapore, attribution from online to offline remains a challenge. This is made worse by the proliferation of touch-points and fragmentation of attention to know where to invest talent and resources to engage.

Given these challenges are taking over more and more industries, many have resolved to use AI and machine learning. But that also comes with its own set of challenges with a huge amount of time spent on training and tweaking.