Thesis Details

Thesis Title: Niche Market Research Strategies Focusing on the Identification of Latent Demand Opportunities
Thesis Author: Mark Stiver
Abstract: The United States textile and apparel industry is currently facing considerable challenges due to increasing trade liberalization, which has led to a dramatic increase in lower priced imports. For firms in this sector to remain competitive, they need to find ways to differentiate themselves. One way of doing this is through niche marketing. However, many companies do not know where or how to start identifying potential markets that would match their core competencies. This becomes even more complicated when the potential market is based on latent demand, meaning the consumers have not voiced a need for a particular product. The purpose of this research is to examine the research methodologies successful niche marketing companies use to identify potential niche markets and latent demand. This was completed through both quantitative surveys and interviews with firms that have a successful niche marketing strategy. The results of this research were used to develop a procedural model that the US textile and apparel firms can incorporate into their overall research and development process in order to identify niche markets and/or products directly related to their core competencies. The results provided ITT member companies with a framework that they can use to identify and evaluate new market opportunities, and therefore, be better positioned to compete in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.