Spurred on in part by the rapid advancement of the internet and its ever growing reach, niche markets in industries like tech and travel have risen in popularity and marketing power by not thinking big, but rather through focused, targeted thinking. Niche markets concentrate on targeting and attracting a specific set of consumers who have particular goals, rather than appealing to a massive audience or mass market.
A company or new business in the early growth stage can overlook the need to be customer-centric, which can in turn lead to long-term problems for that business. When a company is too concerned with dipping its foot into multiple markets or trying to grab the world’s attention, they can lose focus on their real audience.
“Companies that attempt to be everything to everybody cannot have the depth and immediacy of a smaller enterprise,” notes Dan Torren, writer for Blogtrepreneur. “The key to success in a niche market comes from fanatical customer focus, don’t make the mistake of diluting this focus.”
One of 2016’s hottest niche markets is 3D printing, which has exploded in popularity in recent years. Offering the ability to print complex items and specialized tools to exact specifications, 3D printing has become one of the most lucrative niches in the tech sector.
Toronto-based firm 3Dphaktory has built a successful company around the concept of printing whatever a client desires. Customers can upload a design for their 3D printing creation or meet with one of 3Dphaktory’s digital artists to collaborate on the design.
From there a material for printing is chosen and the final product is promptly printed and ready for pickup or shipping.
Finding their niche within the 3D printing market has allowed 3Dphaktory to secure contracts with large, well-known companies like Disney, Energizer and Bell Canada, to name a few. The company’s success has also allowed for rapid growth. Since setting up shop in Toronto in 2012, 3Dphaktory has opened studios in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.
Another sector that’s increasingly increasingly incorporated niche markets is the travel and tourism industry. The travel and tourism industry, which accounts for 10 percent of the global GDP, is a huge sector where niche providers can thrive. From faith-based tourism to adventure themed travel, there is a niche travel provider for everyone, even students.
One of fastest growing niche travel markets has been student travel, where company providers plan trips for students, graduates and young adults. In 2012, young adults spent more than $217 billion USD on international travel, a number that’s steadily increased year after year.
“Our research shows that the nature of youth travel has changed enormously in the past decade,” said David Chapman, director general for the WYSE Travel Confederation. “Young travelers today want, more than ever, to enrich themselves with cultural experiences, to meet local people and to improve their employability when they return home.”
Canadian student tourism provider S-Trip! has spent the last thirty years leading Canadian graduates and students on enriching adventures. S-Trip!’s business model of student focused travel has proven effective because they not only take the travelers’ wishes into account, they hire past travelers who understand what young people are looking for when booking a vacation.
Part of that understanding prompted S-Trip! to introduce volunteering in their trips, while many other providers were still expecting their travelers to spend the days lounging poolside.
The volunteer experience, which is now built into every S-Trip!, isn’t only a benefit to the travelers, it also fosters better community relations with the residents of the locales S-Trip! travelers visit.
“Volunteers are critical to keep our animal rehabilitation program running. The work S-Trip! does helps us provide for dozens of animals ensuring a safe recovery and release back into their habitat,” reads an S-Trip! review from the project coordinator of the Monkey Park foundation in Costa Rica.
A lot of the business advice entrepreneurs received in the past was to think on a macro scale. However, in order to succeed in today’s hyper-connected world, businesses also need to consider more focused, micro-level strategic thinking.