While attending an amazing entrepreneurship forum in Nashville, the evening entertainment took the stage during my learning and networking. They performed a cover of a classic tune, “How Deep Is Your Love”. In the spirit of creating value through connections with ideas and people, the song smacked me with the seriousness of niche marketing. Entrepreneurs famously talk about loving what they do. But, how intimately do they know their business, their industry, their competitors, and their advantage? How deep are their relationships and knowledge?
Connective Marketing is a tactic that captures an organization’s ability to partner with like-minded stakeholders like customers, vendors, or charitable organizations to strengthen their branding influence. Connective Marketing focuses on leveraging relationships specifically for increasing marketing strength and results. It emphasizes the person to person connection so that both organizations can mutually benefit. The relationship depends on the personal connectivity because demonstrating cultural alignment is essential to the strategy’s success. The cultural alignment relies on more than common messaging, but demonstrating camaraderie and consistent behaviors among the parties. The relationship’s depth between organizations must be singularly distinct such that it is competitively difficult to duplicate.
Knowing each other’s specific area of expertise instinctively and deeply is the other step for presenting a defensible advantage. While subject matter expert is almost a cliché, the term captures the depth of understanding that sustains a competitive advantage. The most valuable asset resulting from superior knowledge is the ability to anticipate market shifts and opportunities. Marketplaces, preferences, and applications constantly change in all industries. Market leaders are organizations that take advantage of upcoming opportunities before others. Leveraging insight and resources among savvy professionals within collaborating organizations establishes a clear competitive advantage. Such unity matters toward maximizing the impact of interpreting market dynamics. Not just the public facts, but the intricate nuances.
A significant advantage resulting from attending conferences and interacting with other industry players is acquiring the latest niche information. Over coffee, lunch or happy hour, unique problems and solutions bubble up in casual conversation. Likewise, customers’ wish lists for future needs are part of the conversation. Last night’s wish for quicker delivery results in tomorrow’s decision to open a new hub in the office park where several customers and prospects cluster. Deep understanding in a particular business’ competitive niche anticipates opportunities and needs. Networking reveals that insight! Study the personalities and quirks, of competitors, vendors, and analysts in your industry. Entrepreneurial forums are perfect for gaining that edge. Bright people are looking to connect and show off their influence and intellect whenever they gather. Find your industry’s equivalent. And, listen. Dive deeply into the niche’s depths and complexities. Love the process. Position yourself to sing your own big hit!
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond