This paper seeks to establish that the instability of niche markets, and their predisposition to catastrophic collapse, makes market flexibility a prerequisite for long‐term survival among niche marketers. It describes the two ways by which a niche marketer can acquire this market flexibility and demonstrates the advantages of the second of these two approaches, i.e. the development of a portfolio of separated niches.
An in‐depth discussion of niche instability/implosion, and how niche market flexibility can be acquired to increase the survivability of such events, provides the context for a single in‐depth case study of a company employing a systematic niche market flexibility approach. A multi‐method approach was adopted drawing on both interviews and documentary evidence.
Planning for flexibility is essential for long‐term survival as a niche marketer. Two broad approaches to achieve this exist – i.e. contingency and portfolio planning – which are not mutually exclusive. The portfolio approach offers specific advantages and examples of its successful applications exist.
This is a single case study.
The article has significant implications for practice, as fragmentation of markets and globalisation of production makes niche marketing desirable/essential for many players.
The area of planning for flexibility using a niche portfolio marketing strategy is under‐researched at present.
Hamlin, R., Henry, J. and Cuthbert, R. (2012), "Acquiring market flexibility via niche portfolios: The case of Fisher & Paykel Appliance Holdings Ltd", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 10, pp. 1302-1319. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561211248044Download as .RIS
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