Niche Marketing – Toyota & World of Warcraft

Last week, I guest blogged over at Greg Verdino’s Marketing Blog and reprised a post that I had done here back in June on Niche Marketing. The central idea is that by targeting very specific groups who will relate to and find differentiation in your offering, you are no longer a commodity and you can increase your margins by charging a premium. Do this over and over with different products and services, and you can generate volume and growth that makes up for your narrow targets.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you product or service has to appeal only to a narrow segment. Products with a very broad application can be marketed to very narrow groups by focusing on the things that that niche finds appealing.

Case in point: Toyota, who just release a new 30-second spot targeted at gamers. Shot in the on-line game, World of Warcraft, the spot is for the Tahoma pick-up truck, a product that appeals to an extremely wide array of customers. Toyota has released a couple of ads that convey the truck as being invincible. Last year there was one that depicted the truck escaping from the Loch Ness Monster. The new spot, which parodies the legendary WOW Leeroy Jenkins video, will have immediate appeal to WOW gamers.

If you aren’t familiar with WOW, you probably won’t get understand the spot’s appeal, but to gamers, it rocks! In just one day on YouTube, it had been viewed close to 400,000 times and word of the ad is spreading quickly through social networks.

Toyota isn’t the first brand to create a TV spot directed at WOW gamers. Coca-Cola China created a couple of WOW-themed ads last year, but this is the first US ad that I am aware of. It’s also the second gaming-related ad for a US brand in recent weeks. Southwest Airlines recently parodied widespread reports last year of Wii remotes being thrown into TVs by gamers whose wrist straps had failed – or who hadn’t used the wrist straps at all.

Both Southwest and Toyota have done something very smart here. I suspect that the typical gamer (early twenties, male) is in the sweetspot of the Tahoma’s target market. The same holds true for Southwest. By creating ads that speak directly to gamers, these brands will gain significantly more credibility with that niche market than with a generic ad.

What do you think? Is this an effective slant on Niche Marketing?  What other niches groups could “mass brands” be more effective with?

11 comments so far

  1. Herb on

    Doug –

    I like your ideas on niche marketing and think with the current state of media fragmentation marketers/advertisers are going to be almost forced to go this route soon.

    Problem with this though is scale and creative libraries. While I love the idea of being hyper-relevant (really, I’m a big proponent) it takes so much more to create 10 spots vs 3.

    I know, I’m talking in TV spots. Still, even in bloggerland developing 30 good relations with bloggers that are niche and relevant takes so much more to do.

    And CGC/UGC doesn’t always work either, though does help to solve some creative library issues.

  2. Doug Meacham on

    Herb, Thanks for the comment and I understand your point. I’m not suggesting that companies start creating multiple 30-sec spots for every niche that they may wish to target. I just saw this as an interesting experiment that turned the niche marketing concepts upside down. Instead of getting narrow with your product, as I had described earlier, Toyota is getting narrow with the audience.

    I agree that this is where things are moving and it will require more work and creativity on the part of marketers. The challenge will be to be very selective about the groups you want to target. That and using the right channels and marketing vehicles to reach them. Lots of TV spots are probably not the answer.

  3. Ultravox Freeman on

    That is great… I love it!!

  4. sam on

    Doug –

    It’s an interesting concept and we should see more and more of it. The only issue in this niche marketing trend is finding the right channels…

    To put it otherwise, all marketing is about targeting, content and channels. It’s not that difficult for marketeers to come up with specific niches they want to target (as in young males who like WOW) or to create relevant content (WOW TV spots). The challenge probably lies in reaching this target with the message through the right channel.

    Because, the message is so crafted for the niche target, that the message is irrelevant or uncomprehensible for those not included in the target. As such, the Toyota WOW spots make no sense for those who never played WOW.

    Therefore, you need media that talk only to WOW gamers. Obviously there’s game sites and reviews but it pretty much stops there, doesn’t it? Google adwords excepted.

    So I’d conclude by saying that the marketeers who can find the right channels will be those who will crack niche marketing.

    Cheers,

    Sam

  5. infobuc on

    […] That doesn’t necessarily mean that you product or service has to appeal only to a narrow segment. Products with a very broad application can be marketed to very narrow groups by focusing on the things that that niche finds appealing. […]

  6. jklvilnieciai on
  7. jklvilnieciai on
  8. John Lee on

    Hi! Great post!
    I totally with your point.
    When marketing a product, what’s more effective that perking up the interest of a specific group? And if it’s catching enough (i mean the ad) it’ll create a buzz , inviting more people due to curiosity.

  9. John Lee on

    Hi! Great post!
    I totally agree with your point.
    When marketing a product, what’s more effective that perking up the interest of a specific group? And if it’s catching enough (i mean the ad) it’ll create a buzz , inviting more people due to curiosity.

  10. credit counseling on

    Really! Really?

  11. I want to to thank you for this very good read!! I absolutely loved
    every little bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite
    to check out new stuff you post…


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