We hear little sayings like, “the riches are in the niches”.
Why are niches good?
How do you find profitable niches for products?
And perhaps most importantly ...
When thought leaders say find your niche they usually mean a niche market.
They mean find the place where your product fits.
Niche means products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.
Here is a more human approach to understanding the power of niche markets.
In the past, even the recent past, groups of people were lumped geographically and could be sectioned with demographics such as age or gender. Groups of people were more homogeneous. Groups of people were reasonably the same.
People had limited access to outside information and products. A town might have had a couple of stores. People’s interest and desires were very localized. Word of mouth was manual but generally how trends moved. Changes happened but more slowly.
Mass media evolving from print to Radio to TV sped up the spread of information. Companies could push products en masse to the population.
The Internet, especially in its current state, broke everything and gave us massive opportunity.
Mass communication allows culture, interests, and associations to flow across geographic regions. Your musical interests may have more in common with a 15 year old in Ventura California than your neighbor. More importantly, due to the Internet, we now can connect with people of similar interests with ease.
These interests form communities accessible through social media. People are connected in previously impossible ways. People identify themselves through these networks.
We call the type of communities … tribes
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” – Seth Godin, Tribes
SO why niches, why tribes?
Authenticity is key. Actually caring and identifying with these people is essential. Faking it is a waste of time. Even if you are successful, you will not have the enjoyment and passion for the work.
Select a general community or industry
For me, I selected manufacturing or might select fitness or music. At this level our selection is too broad to be effective. We need to narrow the selection criteria.
Niche down to something specific using occupation or role. From the passionate few; you get the casual many. You can not appeal to everyone. In manufacturing, I would select machinists. I understand and have access to machinists.
If we are providing a valuable product or service, the desire or the goal forms the last element of the tribe. For example, I would select machinists that make and collect Every Day Carry (EDC) objects. This is a specific, connected community with ties to other communities like knifemakers.