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Niche marketing: 5 challenges brands face – case study

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With the 2017 Drone Racing World Championship taking place last week in London’s Alexandra Palace, here are guidance and tips for marketers and start-ups facing challenges when trying to break into new markets.
RANDOM niche marketing

Advertising and marketing campaigns, when run effectively, can help enhance credibility, motivate buyers and forge relationships to augment customer loyalty.

Running successful campaigns can become even more challenging when you embark into the unknown field of a niche and new sport, such as drone racing and e-sports.

Here are five key challenges and potential solutions for you and your brand to consider:

The budding audience

Before anything else, consider the dynamics of this emerging audience. This can be broken down into demographics including age, education level, gender, income, region and psychographics, ranging from attitudes, beliefs and lifestyle.

Doing some initial research will help you get a good picture of who your audience is and why they could care about your product – which will make sure you have a clear strategy to deliver authentic content.

The Drone Racing League, with its audience in mind, has crafted some exciting and engaging videos (see below) to promote the sport. Elements such as pace, style and music are all reflective of the audience the league is trying to attract:

Niche marketing – you can’t always do it alone

If you want to make a splash quickly, consider finding partners who can help to provide insight and make your transition into a new realm a seamless experience. Brands reap benefits from gauging the inner workings of the ecosystem and find trustworthy partners already embedded in the space. We’ve seen soft drinks giant, Coca-Cola, mark its impact on the e-sports industry with the launch of the first-ever eCOPA games. This would not have been made possible or at all successful without the help of its partners, Riot Games (pictured).niche marketing

You need to think long-term

Quick and thoughtless campaigns fall foul of the niche sports audience; you need to make considered moves and be patient when waiting for results. Making a concerted effort to build a position and relationship over time with a new audience is paramount.

This can be seen with the German financial services company, Allianz, which has signed up for a five-year partnership with the Drone Racing League. Despite not being offered equity, the company deems the access to insights and the audience valuable enough for it to investment.

Engagement needs to be 24/7

While brands mostly consider sponsorship during events, they should extend their engagement to the ‘community’. While this might seem a lot like ‘audience’, it is, in fact, worth mentioning these as separate points.

The whole community concept is much more than taking a commercial opportunity when you see one, but rather embedding and investing into it. You need to actively try to understand all the cogs in motion within these complex and budding communities.

Take, for example, Twitch – a major social and video platform community for gamers, which has continued to expand its investment within the e-sports industry. It has worked together with teams such as Team Liquid and games such as Vainglory to cultivate an engaging and welcoming community for e-sports enthusiasts to connect on.

Content is constantly evolving

These new niche communities and their audiences are immune to ‘bullsh*t advertising’, to quote Shane Smith at VICE.

Brands should work to develop content and experiences that show a much deeper level of understanding and integration with their niche target audiences, instead of bombarding the community with typical marketing messages. One of the simple ways around this is to push out native content through articles or videos as well as sponsoring documentaries and informative videos that benefit a wider subset of people.

Another way is not only deliver content within the area, but to build on it to expand the dimensions of the sport – as we’ve seen with Mountain Dew, which, together with Day of Drones, continues to promote drone racing by launching interaction events and new subcultures within the sport, such as drone hunting.

Have an opinion on this article? Please join in the discussion: the GMA is a community of data driven marketers and YOUR opinion counts.

Read also:

Getting your start-up funded – six lessons we learnt

Agility, experimentation and culture change: what innovative start-ups teach brands

Author: Richard Wilson
CEO & co-founder at CLICKON  |

CLICKON is a new-age sports publisher that launched in 2014, creating original and branded content with a direct line to 20million millennials per month – aiming to change the way sports fans interact with media and how brands interact with consumers through innovative advertising solutions. Brand partners include Adidas, Topgolf, Visa, DHL, Microsoft, Wilson Sporting Goods, Srixon and Panda Express.

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