How do you find your niche?
“Don’t try to make a product for everybody, because that is a product for nobody. The everybody products are all taken.” – Seth Godin
Finding your niche gives you clarity on both what to sell and who to sell to.
You can’t be the second Facebook or the next Google. They are already done.
The solution? You have to create something new.
If you try to copy the giants known as Facebook and Google you won’t be able to create anything new. Facebook and Google are too mass-oriented. There is nothing niche about them today.
They began as the Red Bull and have become the Coca Cola of the internet.
That being said, their initial purpose wasn’t to become a mass brand. Becoming a mass brand is an aim that will misguide the entrepreneur in his journey.
That’s the secret: Never try to please everyone. Find your niche and you will succeed.
“We are in niche consumption mode, but ‘niche’ doesn’t mean ‘small’ anymore. Niche can mean focused, and particularly with the Web, which is a global audience you can have something niche and still get 10 to 15 million views.” – Chris Hardwick
When You Find Your Niche, You Will Find Success
Facebook, an ‘everybody’ platform of the digital era, didn’t begin by focusing on delivering to everyone.
Remember: Facebook wasn’t the first social network either.
So why did it succeed?
Facebook didn’t copy other networks’ business models. It began operating in one of the most elite universities of the U.S. and continued spreading through other elite colleges.
Then, the colleges following the elite colleges above them also began using Facebook. Facebook gradually grew in popularity.
From top colleges to other colleges, from students to younger internet users, finally, from older users to countless businesses and organizations around the globe.
The key distinction of Facebook’s brand management was the fact that it began from the top of the pyramid – the students of an elite university. That was the niche that Mark Zuckerberg found.
Beginning from the top created aspiration for the brand. Again, even though Facebook is an ‘everybody’ platform today, in the beginning, it didn’t copy other networks. Neither did it target the ‘everybody market’.
The Largest Piece Isn’t Always The Best One
In business, it is easy to be tempted to go for the largest piece of the cake. Most entrepreneurs and companies immediately want to convince the world that people need their product or service
For example, I worked with VERTU, a small luxury phone maker (now out of business, but we’ll get to this later). They produced very expensive phones. They positioned their product as more of a luxury accessory than a phone.
Each phone had a ruby key to call a concierge service. Selling 50,000 very expensive phones ($5000 USD and up) in a market where 1 billion phones are sold was very attractive.
However, trying to position such a product to a broader consumer base was not a good idea.
Take a look at the bigger picture:
- Marketing to the masses is VERY expensive
- Training to appeal to a broader audience doesn’t always work
In the case of Vertu, we were appealing to more aspirational customers. What would have made sense would be to target consumers at lower price points and offer undifferentiated products (i.e. tapping into the smartphone market rather than sticking with feature phones).
While Vertu initially had a great run ‘in their niche’ with luxury-conscious, affluent consumers located mainly in China, Russia, and the Middle East, the ambition to extend their reach (lowering price points, introducing smartphones, marketing to Europe and the U.S.) resulted in a very rapid and steep decline which ultimately led to bankruptcy.
I had been brought in as interim CMO and had advocated against this strategy from the outset. I also left the company well before it hit the wall – I could see it coming.
So what can we learn from this?
The key is to find your niche. Once you have it – stick with it, focus, and be very conscious of how valuable it is. You must be efficient. You must concentrate on customer loyalty, expert positioning, and credibility.
Your service or good may not be the most wanted by everyone, but once you find your niche, it can be the most wanted in specific circles of society or segments of the market.
“Focus on identifying your target audience, communicating an authentic message that they want and need and project yourself as an ‘expert’ within your niche.” – Kim Garst
What matters most is learning how to find your niche. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Drill down.
Instead of mass marketing, go for niche marketing.
In order to find your niche try to answer the following questions:
- What is the specific segment of the larger market that I need to target?
- What subgroup in society can I serve and produce goods for?
- What subculture in today’s culture do my goods appeal the most?
Niche market segments can be decision-based on:
- Demographics (gender, age, income level, education level)
- Geographics (residents of a certain country, city, or even neighborhood)
- Psychographics (values, lifestyles, interests, attitudes, needs)
If you want to know about the current niche markets out there, go into a supermarket and have a look at the magazines on the stand. These can help give you some ideas.
They are usually targeting a niche: Travelers, Homeowners, Tech geeks, Wine enthusiasts, Hunters, Music lovers, Gamers, Fashionistas, Pet owners, Photographers, Business Class (economy, finance, marketing, etc.). The list goes on.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. What are you best at?
Your niche is what you know best. What drives you? What are you passionate about? If you don’t have a product/service yet, finding out what drives and motivates you will be helpful.
If you do have one, it will help you focus your energy where it will create the most relevancy.
2. What problems can you solve?
What problems can you solve, and at what level? Macro? Market? Human?
If you just offer people a way to read the time (i.e. a watch), you’re offering a product that caters to a huge market. But, if you offer people to read time whilst underwater (i.e. when they are diving), that’s a niche.
Consider these important factors when you find your niche:
- Understand your competition
- Can it make money?
- Test and evolve
If you’re trying to find your niche and boost your business, my new program, The Brand Marketing Booster, will give you the insights you need to both improve your business and your marketing skills.
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