You have to look no further than dating sites to get a picture of what a niche market is. A recent article in Fast Company magazine highlighted the plethora of platforms that are targeted at small populations wishing to attract a mate. Opposites may attract, but only if the fundamentals are similar enough for a connection.
There are the big dating services like Match.com and Tinder but the real story is in the growing number of affinity brands that focus on small, targeted groups. Examples include services for those of the same race (Asian People Meet, India Match, Interracial People Meet, etc.), those of a similar age (Our Time for people over 50, Black Baby Boomers Meet, Senior People Meet, etc.), those of common political ideologies (Democratic People Meet, Republican People Meet) or those of shared religions (Love and Seek for Christians, LDS Planet for Mormons, J People Meet for Jewish people and Catholic People Meet).
In addition, other demographics can find their tribe on targeted dating sites: Divorced People Meet, Single Parents Meet, Marriage Minded People Meet, Pet People Meet, BB People Meet (for “big and beautiful” people) and Little People Meet.
Obviously, people fall into multiple categories, leaving it up to them to decide which characteristic is most important in their date and where they should initially seek.
While you may not set out to design a dating app, their model can be applied to your organization as you think about your services and messaging. Ask whether you are like Match.com that casts a wide net or whether you are more like one of these affinity brands that know their population and can target it. Consider how many meaningful ways you can split your market or audience to create pockets that have their own characteristics and needs.
Just like in dating, there is someone out there for everyone. You’ll have a better chance of matching your organization with those who love it if you don’t try to make everyone your someone.
Source: Match Point by Karen Valby in Fast Company, February 2019 p. 32-33.