Segments & Niches

Rick McPartlin

To make money find those market segments and niches growing faster than the overall market!
WRONG!

A popular and well intentioned publication said “In today’s slow growth world, B2B companies need to be looking for those market segments and niches that are growing faster than the overall economy!”

Myths are often the result of “partially true evidence” and this is one of those myths. If you are a SMB (Small Medium Business) B2B company and want to thrive over the long-term you need a different strategy.

When you look closer at the assumption “In today’s slow growth world, B2B companies need to be looking for those market segments and niches that are growing faster than the overall economy!” what you will see is that for this to be true a company would have only one mission and that would be to capitalize on fulfillment bubbles by jumping first to one bubble then to another, with no loyalty or focus other than short-term profit.

The company that does this is viewed as a mercenary that enters bubbles to suck the profit out of the customers and then jump to the next fast growing bubble /niche.

This bubble jumping is an example of the 20th century’s fulfillment business practices. At the start of the 20th century the world was clamoring for products (cars, electric appliances, telephones, convenient foods, manufactured clothing, etc.). By the end of the 20th century places like Mexico, China, India, and South America had joined Europe and North America as producers of these products. The market changed from one that was based on scarcity (which created fulfillment bubbles), to one of abundant manufacturing resulting in a change from fulfillment starved high margin products to fulfillment rich high volume / low margin products.

Throughout much of the 20th century most products and services were in a fulfillment bubble, but as the 21st century arrived the bubbles were few and short lived (ask Blockbuster).

Those who purchase (B2B or B2C) products or services in the 21st century are no longer faced with shortages or prices inflated by fulfillment monopolies. As the 21st century arrived, the market was more often that of product abundance, low costs, good quality and lots of competition with almost all products being of at least good enough quality at a competitive price. In this market, the buyer is able to pick who they want to do business with, for reasons that may include price and quality (things almost all manufactures have), but more importantly are transparency, integrity, worthy purpose, business ethics, etc. Buyers want to do business with organizations they trust and believe in.

Today the buyer does their “Google” research and knows they can find products that are at least OK. Today however, they want more since the buyer is now in control of the “buying process” in this world of abundance.

The buyer is looking for an organization they can feel safe dealing with or in the best case one they are “proud” to associate with (Apple, Disney, Harley, Nike, Branson, Nordstrom’s, etc.). Those products/brands the buyer is proud to buy often have that “purpose” or “worthy intention” or a “common passion” that is shared between the buyer and the seller. When the buyer shares something powerful with the seller the buyer stands in line for days to get the phone or see the concert or they do things like tattoo “Harley Davison” on their body.

The ideal 21st Century relationship between the buyer and the seller is one of a transparent partnership moving toward their common True North.

Since the 21st century is transparent (everyone can find or see everything on the web) and the buyer opts in (or out) based on their interpretation of what they see. That 20th century concept where you would “be looking for those market segments and niches that are growing faster than the overall economy!” and you just jump there to take advantage of those buyers who need to be fulfilled will not be appreciated by this century’s buyers.

In the book the “Human Brand” they talk about companies that either make money “from” or “with” their customer. Those who continue to make money “from” their customer do it because in the short-term they can fulfill immediate shortages. But they will find this type of opportunity much tougher and for much shorter periods than in the past. Those that make money “with” their buyers will find that in today’s transparent world they will have the right buyers coming to them and those buyers will be willing to pay the full value for the shared experience.

Do not believe that “partially true evidence” from the last century! Share your “worthy intention” with the market and then live accordingly by making money “with” your ideal customer.

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