B2B Marketers and the Rule of the Food Chain


Like many apex predators, great white sharks are the top of the food chain. They feared by many and threatened only by few. Too many people have already drawn parallels between this and the business world.

But you know what? There’s never really focus on that special ‘few’ until you see the real picture. Among a shark’s many threats, mankind has proven to be the one that can really wipe the species out. Environmental concerns aside, B2B marketers that use a similar concept will find that even the biggest giants have a glaring weakness that make them prone to a specialist.

Now if you’ve heard of niche marketing and think this is going to be in that direction, you’d only be partly right. It’s often the case that when your bigger competitors have some large, near-fatal opening, it usually comes in the form of a niche that they haven’t covered.

Knowing that is one thing though. It’s actually succeeding in that niche that could provide a challenge. Ask yourself the following questions before taking the shot:

  • Is there really a market for it? – Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re really looking at a niche an apex competitor can’t fulfill or a space that can’t be occupied, period. That’s why one of the first steps to niche marketing is still making sure the actual market is big enough to get into.
  • Can you do it better? – You see a niche but you may not be the only one. Part of the challenges in tackling a new niche is that there could be others not far behind who want to cash in on it too. That’s why the rest of your organization needs to work with its B2B marketers to make sure they’re aware of what they need to accomplish. (A good example can be found in this story featuring McDill Associates and Popkoff’s.) Otherwise, no amount of marketing is going to make up for lack of substance (regardless of how far behind the bigger competitor is).
  • Where does this leave you open? – And finally, you have to gauge whether or not a niche is worth ultimately worth it. Sometimes too much focus on one can leave you very open in other spaces. In a way, it’s like how being the shark’s biggest threat puts you in the spotlight for biggest ecological hazard.

Food chains are popular depicted to show how even the meanest predator could fall to something else. And sometimes, it can be in very surprising ways. B2B marketers can use the same idea but should take care that they don’t end up being eaten too!