A Classified Advertisement Framework to Support Niche and other Targeted Markets

A Classified Advertisement Framework to Support Niche and other Targeted Markets

Adam E. Bodenmiller (The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, The University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI, USA), Adnan K. Shaout (The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, The University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI, USA) and Zhivko V. Tyankov (The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, The University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJEIS.2016070103
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Abstract

Classified advertisement sites often follow two different approaches to filter classified advertisement data to customers and potential customers. The first approach is to reach out to the broader market, allowing the customers to filter to their target market on the classified website. The downside of this approach is that it lacks the customization and specialization people in a niche market tend to prefer. The second approach is to create classified advertisement websites that are customized to meet the needs of a target or niche market. This specialization is more appealing to niche market customers. However, the second approach is more focused. Therefore, the customer base is smaller, and expanding to more markets requires building more websites, which can be costly in time, money and effort. In this paper the authors propose a framework that allows website developers to quickly and efficiently create targeted market websites. The framework proposed enables website developers to quickly customize text, context and features offered on the newly created targeted market website. In addition, the framework overcomes the entry barrier new websites face by obtaining the starting classified listings required to make a new classified website viable to potential buyers and sellers.
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Introduction

Having a well-defined target market gives marketers an opportunity to understand the wants and demands of a particular market segment. Understanding a target market leads to a more efficient use of marketing resources. This is why marketers often focus their efforts on defining and marketing to a targeted market or niche market, instead of trying to appeal to a broader market (Abrahams et al., 2012; Newman, 2014).

A target market is a group of customers towards which a business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its services or merchandise (Target Market, 2014). A niche market is the subset of a market on which a specific product is focused (Zanjani et al., 2011). The market niche defines the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality, and the demographics that it is intended to impact (Niche Market, 2014; Efraim et al., 2014).

It is generally understood that targeted and niche marketing have three main advantages over broad marketing approaches:

  • 1.

    People pay more for services from perceived “experts” than generalists.

  • 2.

    Credibility occurs when you're visible in your “niche” industry, community, or geographic region.

  • 3.

    Marketing is less complicated and expensive when you target niche markets or client profiles (Michael, 2014).

Many popular classified advertisement websites tend to market or appeal to broader markets. The majority of targeting done for these websites is performed directly within the website itself. In this scenario, usually on the homepage of the website, the users filter their search to the specific product or service they are interest in finding. This can be an efficient process for many users, and many classified advertisement sites are very successful at using this traditional classified listing approach.

Figure 1 shows the homepage of Craigslist.com, a major classified advertisement website that follows this traditional filter approach.

Figure 1.

Craigslist homepage

This approach has been very successful for companies like Craigslist. However, this approach makes it difficult for other firms to enter and compete in the classifieds advertisement market, as two large entry barriers exist:

  • 1.

    It is very difficult to compete with well-established classified websites. Their reputations often make them a one-stop-shop for many users.

  • 2.

    Obtaining the amount of classified listings required making a site valuable to a potential buyer or seller can be a difficult process. This is especially true for sites that cover a large geographical area. Potential buyers will not return to a classified advertisement website that does not have any classified listings. Nor, will a seller of goods or services be interested in listing items on a site that does not appear to receive much traffic.

In addition to the entry barrier challenges that exist with creating traditional classified advertisement websites, broad market sites lack the personalization and customization that are appealing to those who buy and sell in niche and targeted markets. This is because large market sites are perceived as destinations for performing general searches, rather than a destination sites to find specific types of products or services.

In this paper we propose software architecture, technology selection, and deployment infrastructure to support the rapid development and deployment of targeted market classified advertisement websites that:

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