Want Growth? Refine Your Niche.

Mark Arnold
Want Growth? Refine Your Niche.

If you want a case study in defining your niche, look no further than Oxygen. It’s a FinTech company targeting freelancers and gig workers underserved by other financial institutions. Every piece of their marketing makes it clear – we serve non-traditional workers.

If you want to grow, your credit union or community bank needs to copy Oxygen and refine your niches.

But niches are complex – complex to narrow down, complex to understand and complex to expand. Where do you even start? Let’s walk through the essentials of refining and defining your niche.

Narrow Down Your Niches

When targeting consumers, it’s tempting to go more wide than deep. That means you target everyone rather than mining a couple exclusive demographics. The logic behind this strategy makes enough sense – everyone needs loans, so why not market to everyone?

The answer: because you can’t be all things to all people.

Having niches that are too broad hurts your brand. It seeps into your marketing and confuses potential consumers. Your imagery and language targets everyone, which really means it speaks to no one. Possible members or customers say to themselves, “They’re not looking for me.”

Instead, get specific. Really specific. “Young people” are not a niche, and neither are “Millennials.” But their subsets – Millennials with children, DINKs (Dual Income No Kids) and Single Young Professionals to name a few – might be good target groups.

Understand Your Niches

Your whole staff should understand your niches. They need to know the niches’ pain points and jargon. They must have real empathy to make the hard work of narrowing down your niches worth it.

For example, a credit union serving military personnel should understand what “PCS” (Permanent Change of Station/moving locations) means. The member might feel awkward if you don’t know what they’re saying, especially because 60% of consumers expect you to understand their needs.

Train your staff to think like your niches, and you’ll serve your niches better. And when you serve your niches better, they’ll stick with you over another institution.

Gain New Niches

Let’s face facts – your credit union or community bank’s strategic focus probably won’t stay the same forever. Shifting strategic priorities are part of growth and one of those shifting priorities could be expanding your niches.

When that happens, you need a plan to gain new niches more fitting to your adjusted strategic goals. Let’s look at a couple possible plans:

  • Roll Out New Products – Specialized products are a great way to introduce new groups to your credit union or community bank. For instance, RelyOn Credit Union offers a Teacher Supply Loan to help educators. RelyOn has a community charter, but their loan draws a particular select employee group to their credit union.

  • Rebrand – An outdated logo, name or website could all send the wrong message to consumers and limit your expansion. Update your brand to welcome a more diverse group to your institution. Check out Tarrant County’s Credit Union recent rebrand to see what I mean.

  • Modify Your Collateral – Don’t forget the little things! Your imagery and copy must resonate with new niches. It’ll be hard to market to a rough-and-tumble blue collar crowd if you only have suited businessmen on your materials.

Whether you’re expanding or narrowing down your niches, sometimes a new brand is necessary to get the right consumers. It’s hard to know where to start defining your niche, but we can guide you through it. Sign up for a rebrand with On The Mark Strategies and let us make your name, logo and website a beacon to your target consumers.

Mark Arnold
Founder and CEO