It is often very easy to conclude that there are no new needs to service in the market and opportunities to roll out novel products are non-existent or constrained. That is far from the truth and often the first slide into complacency.
A market gap is an opportunity for a business to expand its customer base by identifying and capturing new customers and/or meeting the needs of existing customers for new products or services.
Over time, businesses that have been able to keep an eye on market trends and spot opportunities for carving out unique markets have enjoyed growth. One benefit of exploiting the market gap is that often, first-movers become dominant in the industry and sometimes enjoy a monopoly.
On the other hand, complacent businesses end up struggling for market shares in industries already at their maturity or in decline.
There is an opportunity today for businesses to mark new territories because the fallout of pandemic, the after effect of the pandemic and the new work it has created will lead to a change in consumer behavior and needs.
Here are the critical considerations to help with spotting market gaps.
Understand your existing market
The first step to expanding your frontier is in understanding where you currently stand. As a business owner, you need to have a clear picture of the profile of your existing market. You need to ask the following questions: what am I selling and what problem is that solving? Who are my customers? What are they saying about my services? What do they like? What are their complaints?
You also need to be aware of the different types of customers based on demographics and income class and how their profile affects demand for varying features of your products and services.
This information will help you understand what segment of your market is underserved and which features need to be enhanced to bring in new customers.
An example of this is TikTok, a popular social media platform among GenZ and Millennials today. The application used to be Musical.ly, which allowed people to upload lip-synch videos. ByteDance saw an opportunity to focus majorly on the GenZ and Millennials preference for short video sharing social media and bought Musical.ly in 2018.
By focusing on a need from a particular generation, ByteDance created a new product that has become a giant in its rights.
Understanding what people think and feel about your product or service is not difficult. You can utilize short surveys on Google, person to person conversations, or data and reports published about your industry. You can also follow the news to keep up to date with trends.
Uber and Airbnb are some of the wonders of the 21st century, but these businesses are nothing more than a change in approach to already existing enterprises.
Uber for instance allows users hail taxis from the convenience of their phones rather than from a sidewalk. Incorporating technology into your business process can help you achieve efficiency and reduce cost, and it can help even deliver services or products customers will appreciate.
In today’s world of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and social media, businesses can think out of the box to discover how these advancements can help them create new markets.
Educate your potential market
Economists have at some point debated whether “demand creates supply” or “supply creates demand”. For marketers, the belief is that by showing consumers their need for a product, a market or demand can be created. Therefore, all advertisements are geared towards showing potential consumers why a product or service is relevant to them.
This approach can be useful in creating new demand for your product because in some cases, consumers do not know what they need until it is created.
The likes of Steve Jobs and Bills Gates we can anticipate consumer demand ahead of time and educate their market on the usefulness of their inventions. This approach might not work all the time but is one that cannot be ruled out when seeking to create a unique and exclusive market. Closer home, the consumer lending today was nonexistent some 13 years ago until Credit Direct Limited took up the challenge even when the top tier banks battled to understand the model of operation, they brainstormed for over 8 months to learn the business to no avail, the rest they say is history as these commercial banks now jostle for same space years after the first movers took up the challenge. Never Say Never. Be ready to step up and do new things that would create an indelible mark in time. Dare to win, dare to succeed. You alone have the capabilities to limit yourself. Go forth.