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Finding, Developing and Prospering From Niche Markets

(December 2006) posted on Fri Jan 05, 2007

Discover tips and techniques that can help you profit from untapped niche markets.

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By Mark A. Coudray

To illustrate, take your conservation shirt. Not only could you sell a great, limited-edition, commemorative shirt, but you could also package it with a local map of the best locations to view the Coastal Snowy Plover, as well as other significant points of interest, places to stay, locations to eat, and so on. Incidentally, each of these locations may also be a potential retail outlet.

Oh, and don't forget to send press releases to the local newspapers and magazines announcing the availability and location of the shirts. Send the information to the local conservation group that benefits from your efforts to include it in publicity efforts. Now you're creating great art and creating demand for it at a local level.

All of this sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But there are a few things you need to consider. You're doing something none of your competitors is doing, so you'll have little if any competition. The competition you have lacks credibility because they don't understand what's driving your efforts.

Nobody said this would be a free ride. These ideas are simple, but it's definitely not a push-button marketing solution. If it were this easy, you would have a bunch of competition. Our objective at the very beginning was to differentiate ourselves so we could increase our profit margin. Hard work based on smart marketing practices gets that job done.

Do the math
Finally, all the work is basically templated. Once you've done the work, it becomes a matter of duplication. You know what you're looking for. You know how to qualify the market. You know how to target. You know how to personalize and localize. Let's review the math so you can see just how powerful this is.

Say your preprint designs sell for$7.50 each. An order of 72 shirts is $540.00. Six orders in a geographic market amount to $3240.00. Picking 10 geographic markets yields $32,400. If you plan properly, you can get one reorder in a limited season, so the life of that design is $64,800. Repeat the process during the next season, and you double revenue again. So, at the end of the first year, sales on two designs to one niche market amount to $125,600. The value goes up when you add new designs. You repeat the process each time you add a market. As you can see, carefully researching, targeting, and selling into niche markets can easily generate close to $1,000,000 annually within a couple of years.

Mark A. Coudray
Mark A. Coudray is president of Coudray Graphic Technologies, San Luis Obispo, CA. He has served as a director of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association Int'l (SGIA) and as chairman of the Academy of Screenprinting Technology. Coudray has authored more than 250 papers and articles over the last 20 years, and he received the SGIA's Swormstedt Award in 1992 and 1994. He covers electronic prepress issues monthly in Screen Printing magazine. He can be reached via e-mail at

© 2006 Mark Coudray. Republication of this material in whole or in part, electronically or in print, without the permission of the author is forbidden.


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