In marketing luxury real estate, being a generalist is the surest path to mediocrity. The fastest route to market leadership is to identify an uncontested or underserved market niche that you can dominate. However, you must find a niche that you can serve better than anyone else and you must be genuinely passionate about it.  To understand this vital principle, here is an example of how this plays out in a completely different field.  

Did you happen to catch the season premiere of Shark Tank, the reality show where 5 wealthy entrepreneurs (including Barbara Corcoran, the New York real estate maven) compete to invest in promising start-up companies? The two women who invented BuggyBeds, the early detection system for bed bugs, made a presentation that wowed all five Sharks, and us too!  They had turned down a buy-out of $5 million dollars prior to appearing on the show. 

Apparently, there is a significant increase in the reported cases of bed bug infestation in the last few years. Females lay up to 500 eggs! Their patented early detection bed bug glue trap slips under a mattress and sells for $8.98 for a package of four.  Now, here is an uncontested market niche!  With the Shark’s help, every major hotel chain, every mattress company, every home improvement store chain and more will soon carry this product.  

BuggyBeds is a need that consumers did not even know they had. Now, “over-night” it will become a necessity. They got their branding spot on! The brand name itself identifies the new product category they created.  

When you identify an uncontested market niche you create news. By promoting the new category to a news-hungry media you can promote your brand in the process. By leveraging the media (including social media) you can maximize public relations and word-of-mouth advertising and minimize your marketing expense.  

When you take on an uncontested market niche in this way, your competition, if any, becomes inconsequential. If they attempt to copy you they are perceived as a “me-too” (think Zune vs. iPod).  Once you break the news about the category, their chance of getting substantial media coverage is very slim. They will have to out-spend you in marketing to try to keep up with you. 

If you have selected a niche that is not new, but is underserved, you still have the opportunity to create news because you or your company becomes the viable alternative to your competition that heretofore was not challenged. You can still spark word-of-mouth advertising that can lead to dominating your niche.


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