Skip to main content

What's Your Niche?

When we started Mission Research waaayyyy back in 2002 (though I had been working on it prior to that), we thought we had focus--the nonprofit sector.

1.5 million nonprofits, totally unserved by easy to use, affordable software. And we were going to get them all :)

It turns out that the viable market--active nonprofits that raise money from donors--is much smaller. It's a good market, but it's not 1.5 million strong.

Within that sector, there are several niches that perform very well for the company (which I won't mention here). It makes sense to target those niches--invest research and marketing activities to help accelerate and expand our presence there.

When you're starting out, it's tough to focus on a niche or two, because 1) you don't know which niche will perform really well for you and 2) you're naturally greedy--you want to serve everyone.


Let me reframe that positively (in deference to yesterday's post): you're naturally helpful and want to serve everyone.

But you can't serve everyone when you're starting out, and shouldn't.

So what niches works well for you? How can you discover that, especially when you have a generalized solution?

It takes time, and it takes test marketing. You should use a number of tactics, track everything, measure it well, and you'll start to see who buys from you more than the others.

What tactics? I'm not a marketing pro, but I'd say try these, noting that the quality of the list is foundational for success:

  • Direct mail. Yes, people still open mail.
  • Online survey through Zoomerang or other company that offers targeted audiences
  • Google Ads, targeted toward different sectors
  • email marketing--again the list is really, really important. 
All should funnel them into your sales process. 

If you don't know what your sales process is, we'll talk about that sometime soon, but break it down into phases that describe the customer's decision process and your specific tasks needed move them from one phase to the next, because most won't move on their own. 

 Beautiful day out there--two short bike rides scheduled and a ton of code to write, fix, fix again :)




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Beta Signup

I've been working for quite a while on a new search concept, though the further in I get, the closer the rest of the world gets to what we're doing. So today I'm inviting you to sign up for the rather modest beta, which will be ready soon if we can nail down a few difficult  details. Jawaya is a way of navigating the web and getting better results. And that's as much as I can say right now, because we're not a funded startup, and things are moving really fast in this space--it's going to be very competitive. I predict there will be about 10 funded startups in the next 6 months doing something similar. One of them will be mine, and we aim to make it the best. We're raising a round of capital to fund the team, and are shooting for early sustainability. This is my fifth company; my fourth in the tech space, and my third software company. I think it will be the biggest and can possibly have a positive impact on the world by reducing the amount of time it takes

Where Innovation Happens

As I get closer to a go/no-go decision on a project, I've been thinking about the difference about my vision for the project and the supportive innovations to enable the core innovations The vision combines (in unequal parts) product, core innovation as I imagine it, the application of that core innovation, design, marketing,  developer ecosystem, and business development. The core innovation enables everything else, but it's the application of the innovation that makes it meaningful, useful, and in this case, fun. This week we're testing initial approaches to the implementation for our specific application, and that's where we'll develop the enabling innovations, which is basically where the rubber meets the road. The difference is that the enabling innovation happens at the source of real problems only encountered in the making of something, and in a project like this just getting the essence of it right isn't enough; it also has to be safe, the compone

The Real Jobs Problem

It's the economy, stupid.  Well, yes, it always has been, if you're in the distortion field of politics.  But whose economy? The pundits, the White House, the Republican candidates all miss the mark. They keep talking about debt, taxes, and monetary policy. None of those things tell the real story behind today's economy.  The Old Economy Keynes was right--in the old economy. Economy gets weak, pump some money into the economy through public works projects, which  1) puts people to work, which  2) boosts the economy and  3) generates new tax revenue, while  4) leaving us with another generation of reliable infrastructure to support  5) more growth (for growth's sake, which is another post).  The Beach Ball Imagine a beach ball, partially deflated to represent a recession. Got it? Now imagine the govt pumping that beach ball back up through sensible public investment (which we haven't seen for decades). The New Economy Same beach ball, same pum