Finding Your Audience: The Rise of Niche Markets
As more entrepreneurs turn to the Internet in hopes of finding an audience, niche markets have risen in popularity and marketing power. Niche markets focus on specific consumers and goals rather than try to appeal to a massive audience. While niche markets are based on unique perspectives and passions, thorough research and effective strategies are still a must to succeed in this growing sector.
Our world is constantly changing — it is inevitable. I find it interesting that so many people waste their energy trying to stop this change. Instead of complaining about changes based on unavoidable trends, you should work to create ways to prosper in the new, emerging paradigm. Deviations that create chaos by threatening the status quo are rich with opportunity. Niche markets thrive on this evolution. Change is your best friend and could allow you to find that perfect audience at the perfect time so your business rides the wave of recognition.
Targeting an Audience
In researching opportunities to break into a market, consider census data and research culled from professional organizations including local chambers of commerce or city planning committees. This information can be very helpful in identifying and quantifying a potential market. You may have to use some creative analysis to determine the market size and its growth projection, but that data will help you develop your campaign. Judging whether or not you have a servable market should be based on actively communicating with potential customers. They are your best resource as you develop your product or service. Dive into people’s opinions and needs and build on that foundation.
Customer communication is a critical factor in your potential success. Communication should consist mostly of effectively listening to the customers’ opinions that drive your informed responses to better serve and continually improve your value to customers. Just as the impetus of your venture should be based on people’s feedback, it is also that feedback that maintains and strengthens your ties to your niche community.
Strengths of a Smaller Market
Perfecting a smaller market approach allows you to more efficiently use your resources to quickly become competent in that specific area. Going “narrow and deep” vs. “wide and shallow” is the most effective way to establish your unique value proposition in your target market. Research and articulate why your audience needs your business and employ that specific need in your initial marketing strategy.
Companies that attempt try to be everything to everybody cannot have the depth and immediacy of a smaller enterprise. Whether you are starting a local clothing store or developing a new app that appeals to electronic musicians, focus on that specific community. The key to success in a niche market comes from fanatical customer focus. Don’t make the mistake of diluting this focus. A company in the early stages of growth can overlook that critical element if it’s too concerned with putting out fires or trying to grab the world’s attention.
Success in a Niche Market
The Internet is a platform with a broad focus that, ironically, is driven by companies whose existence is based on tight market niche focus. While a natural ebb and flow might ultimately determine a company’s survival, many globally recognized online businesses began with an idea suited for a niche audience.
Dropbox offered online storage long before the “cloud” became a popular buzzword. Dropbox stuck with its niche and became better at defining it. The company hasn’t tried to repackage itself as a Flickr or Spotify even though its infrastructure is positioned to support such offerings. Dropbox continues to offer a free version and continues to improve its product with features that generate subscription revenue. The focus is the customers.
My own business, InDemand Interpreting, began with a personal desire to assist my wife in her career as a medical interpreter and a hope that limited English proficiency (LEP) Americans would not be treated as second-class citizens due to communication barriers. With that need and a strong technology and product development background, I built a low-cost, software-based solution that runs quickly and effectively via the Internet. I attempted to solve a specific problem encountered by a specific group and was able to turn that into a niche market success.
Niche markets encourage businesses and individuals to tap into their passions and seek an audience excited by those things as well. A successful niche business narrows its vision to address specific needs and wants in a community and delivers a product or service to fulfill that demand. The smaller focus helps to alleviate massive marketing costs and to form personal connections with your niche community. Those bonds can quickly help propel your ideas and opportunities.
Daniel Pirestani is the CEO and founder of InDemand and creator of Systematech, Inc. (dba InDemand Interpreting), a company dedicated to providing improved patient care for those with limited English proficiency. Daniel is a technology executive in the software industry, with over 15 years of experience growing businesses through technical services in industries such as telecommunications, information technologies, corporate networking, and engineering. He has succeeded in management positions with Fortune 500 companies, such as AT&T, Microsoft, and Best Buy, and was one of the founding members of Northwest Telecom.