In these days of Internet fueled rapid growth, it’s important to remember that all successful brands began with niche marketing. Certainly some targeted larger niches than others. Certainly some grew so fast that they never looked like niche brands. But they all started with a niche. Of course, another word for this is differentiation. There is no value in sameness. Real value is created by offering something to someone they’ve never seen before.

Elke Goversten has done this with her parenting magazine, Mamalode. It’s not that parents were a newly discovered niche. It’s not that a magazine was something they’d never seen before. What Elke has done is flipped the platform.

Instead of providing a platform for writers, she has flipped the platform to Mamalode publishing on writers’ platforms. She partners with groups like hospitals and provides content for them to publish. By continually focusing on platforms the big players aren’t even considering, she’s staying away from competition and growing without attracting their attention.

The worst choice is to compete with industry giants head-to-head with products or services that look like theirs. This drives you to compete on price and spawns a race to the bottom. The trouble with a race to the bottom is that you might win.

A better choice is to differentiate with product or services in niches that the giants either don’t care about or can’t do.

Arguably the best, most sustainable route to success is to compete with differentiated, protectable business models—like what Mamalode is doing.

BRAVE Differentiation and Niche Marketing

The BRAVE framework applies to niche marketing. Work through behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values and the environment from the outside in.


Question #1 is where to play. The trick here is not to start with customers. Why? Because that’s what the industry giants do. With their power and scale, they know much more about general market customers than you ever will. Going after that general market first means direct competition with those giants where you will get trampled like the grass when elephants fight.

Instead, dig into social and demographic trends, political, governmental, and regulatory fronts, macro and micro economic trends, and market definitions including inflows, outflows, and substitutes. From this, identify an unserved or underserved area in which to play.


Having decided where to play, you can turn your attention to what matters and why. Not to you. No one cares about you. Figure out what matters and why to the unserved or underserved group you have chosen to target. This is all about their unsolved problem and your purpose, message, story.


Next comes how to win. This is where you consider your potential customers. Since it’s an unsolved problem, there is, by definition, no one winning. But if you’re right and you’re successful, others will follow you in. It’s not so much how you’re going to win in the beginning, but about aligning your strategic, posture, and cultural choices so you win over time.


The pivot, of course, is how to connect with potential customers, collaborators, and the people you want to follow. This is all about telling and living your story through a set of iterative conversations (Some call parts of this marketing.).


But it’s all theoretical gibberish until you answer the question what impact? None of this is real until you implement, until you produce, until you deliver. And this is not about consistent delivery. This is about surprising and delighting people in your ever growing niche so they are always seeing something they’ve never seen before.

That’s how you can be successful with niche marketing. Even though some niches are more equal than others, it’s all niche marketing.