What Does A Gap In The Market Even Look Like?

Written By Alla Levin
December 26, 2023

What Does A Gap In The Market Even Look Like?

Everyone knows that finding an uncatered-to-market is usually the best step forward if you want to succeed in business. That being said, with so many companies out there catering to almost every need, it’s hard to know what an underserved market even looks like.

That doesn’t mean they’re not out there. After all, for all you may know, there’s a hidden market of fifty-year-old construction workers who practice ballet in their free time. Without the appropriate research, it’s hard to confirm or deny it.

But how can you spot what a gap in the market even looks like? After all, a few people in a given area might not sustain your business, and putting your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. If you’re looking to open a firm, strike out on your own with accreditation from PT Distinction, or find your main market unreliable, it’s smart to consider your options.

Let’s discuss this vital topic using some practical, theoretical examples below:

Identify Unmet Needs

It’s easy to think of markets as comprised of people who have singular wants, desires, and hopes. But the truth is that any one person can hold a multitude of interests to the point where we can’t peg one consumer into one hole. For example, it might be that your most ultra-fit athlete loves fast food when they have the chance to get it. Sure, you can’t account for every nuance, and so targeting the most likely markets is necessary.

But when you’re trying to find an untapped market, looking to these needs can be key. It can be as simple as trying to solve one particular problem that a given market has. So, for example, GiffGaff, a non-contract SIM card provider in the UK, was one of the first to roll out monthly data, texts, and minutes packages that were paid monthly like a subscription and didn’t bind you to a final date.  This means a segment of the phone market who had these needs, but were otherwise subsumed into the main markets were able to break off and identify their needs more easily.

Study Competitor OfferingsStudy Competitor Offerings

Many other companies focus on uncovering latent markets, so if you pay attention to how they position themselves, you may glean some insight. If you’ve ever seen a company roll out a service or additional product and wondered, “Who is this for,” there’s a good chance that the brand was trying to appeal to a new customer base.

We can see this in creative industries all the time. Video game developers emulate the systems they saw in other popular titles to try and retain that part of the market for broader appeal or music that samples an older audience, potentially widening the generational appeal of their works. These are just too many examples, but they’re the most easily recognizable.

Analyze Customer Feedback

The great thing about customers or clients is that they’ll tell you what they want. It’s easy to think of running a business and trying to isolate a market as a great treasure hunt as if the people you were trying to serve are hidden away or locked in a chest, and you only have to find them.

These days, especially with social media discourse, customers can tell you what they think and what they’d love from your brand. Sometimes, those messages are overwhelming, or similar insights are given repeatedly. What helps is curating systems that allow you to note and raise these statistics with your managers or leads, allowing for the company’s direction to be at least informed by these requests. Now, that doesn’t mean your audience always knows what it wants. But they might be signaling a need going unfulfilled, and this in itself can give you room to expand your catalog in the right direction.

Explore Niche MarketsExplore Niche Markets

There’s no shame in scaling your business to service a humble market and dominate that space. The suggestion that a big fish in a small pond is inherently a bad thing doesn’t particularly work when it comes to business because a market is fluid, too, and can grow from a pond into a lake.

A good example is that of Games Workshop, a British miniatures company. For some time, this practice of painting and playing tabletop games with small figurines was considered a nerd’s hobby to be smirked at, with a tiny market and perhaps a few retail locations to supply it. Big names like Henry Cavil are signing multi-million dollar deals with Amazon to develop its content. It shows that while many consider this particular creative interest to be the height of nerdism and with no real cultural appeal, can grow into something more tangible, given a niche market has been served well.

To explore those markets, you have to get out there. Head to trade shows, conventions, gatherings, and community events. Understand where the smaller, most focused, and interesting creative appeal resides. It can help you learn more about specific industries and sectors than possible.

Consider Emerging Technologies

Of course, technologies are changing markets more than anything else. The mobile phone market looks radically different from how it was twenty years ago. Even how we market our products and services has completely changed and developed over time.

So, how does this affect niche markets? Well, it makes them more tangible and accessible for a start. As we’ve seen through platforms like Etsy, you don’t even have to run a mainline business to cater to a niche and find a willing audience.

Now, it’s important to be careful about integrating these technologies. For example, your dentist’s office probably doesn’t need an app to track appointments if they have a conventional and more secure system in place. But that doesn’t mean an innovator couldn’t come along and revolutionize what we think of as capable dentistry. It’s always important to keep your finger on the pulse regarding your industry, as you may spot an open market before anyone else. With this advice, we hope you can more easily identify and work with a necessary gap in the market.

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