Most PM’s/Founders underestimate the power of determining a Niche

Ever built a product without having a clear vision of whom to sell? Congrats you are not alone!

In this post, we will talk about how is niche discovery an important part of a business.
This is one of the most common patterns that founders or PMs follow in order to make their products.

Why is it important to get started with a niche?

Nothing??? that is exactly how building a product is without defining a niche.

niche selection
niche selection
Different paths to get started from (source)

While building a product it is always a good idea to start with a small group of people who will be your ideal buyer persona. Example: Apple is building an iPhone for kids. Apple might start by narrowing down the audience in order to find the right audience and start by building the phone.

Why is it a good idea to start with a small group of people?

limited sources in startups
limited sources in startups

A small group of people is generally are called ideal customers. It is important to focus on a single buyer persona because of the following reasons:

  1. Startups are limited with resources and time, so can't focus on 100s of things at once
  2. Focusing on a single buyer persona helps you create things faster, thereby helping to validate the right product-market fit.
  3. You know the right path and improvise things depending upon the feedbacks.

Do we lose the bigger audience while focusing on a single buyer persona?

starting with a small niche
starting with a small niche
Start with a single niche, then focus on a bigger audience

No, we don't. The concept goes as we start with a small group of people and then keep expanding after we satisfy the initial customers.

You gain trust when you satisfy the feedbacks of the initial customers. The initial customer then server as your reviewers. They recommend the tool to others, and this is how the tool grows.

So this is why it's necessary to start with one buyer persona and then grow with their trust and feedback.

Let's take an example and try to understand:

Let's try creating a new feature for the iPhone for creating fancy filters like snap chat.

Now there's a wide variety to choose from, so which one to go with??

From the problem statement, it is clear that we are not focusing on android users. Now we can choose from a wide variety of persons like children, teenagers, couples, travelers, and many more.
Filter’s are most likely to be used by teens, who like clicking selfies with friends and family. So let's define our ideal buyer persona as

“Tina a 17 years old teenager who loves clicking selfies with her friends”

Well, now we have a clear idea that we will be building an app for a teenage girl. So let's say that the Niche is my friend. I know everything about her. And I know that she likes to watch Anime, she loves Hollywood star Tom Cruise, she loves swimming.

This now gives me a clear idea of what I need to build. We talked about building an app for filters, so what are those filters that Tina might love.

maybe a filter that converts her face to anime characters?

maybe a filter that lets her click selfie with tom cruise?

maybe a filter for swimming near a shark?

Possibilities are endless but when we are talking about a single niche, we start to narrow down the possibility, thereby creating a tool that users love.

As from the above example, we just saw, when we considered a single entity how much easy it became for us to give the product a vision. Giving a vision to a product is important for a product manager or founder.

“Can my brother use this?”

Looking into basics Product managers need to be good spies. They need to know the best pain points of their buyer persona.

This is the most important part to address, who is the company solving the problem for.

Good personas will have a fictional name, in our case we named it Tina.

Overwhelming Buyer Personas

one niche at a time
one niche at a time
Keeping things simple is important

It is very tempting to make a wiki of your buyer persona. But at the same time, it becomes overwhelming. Keep the things detailed but don't overflood with data. It would be a good idea do to define your persona with a detailed statement. Yet if you think it's not relevant to your product don't include it.

Eg: Tina is a 17 years old teenager who loves filters on her iPhone. She loves to dance, ride horses.

In this case, she loves to dance and ride horses are not related to creating filters. So I won't consider this to into my buyer persona. I want to have crisp information that helps me focus on my niches desires, pain points, and solutions. For example, a developer is unable to enjoy his weekend due to the deployments, so why not create an automated deployment pipeline that helps him rest on weekends.

Building Your Own Custom Niche

The best example for this would be Supriya who wants to lose fat so that she can become Mrs.Asia. Now that we know her priority, we can build our tool accordingly. Our use case is a combination of a pain point and emotional side.

Demographics are important, but not in all cases. For example, Flipkart trying to launch a new country would need to target the temperature, climate, economy, and their usual clothing patterns. A person staying in the colder side of the country would need warm clothing, he would seldom look for shorts or pajamas. On the other hand, a person staying near the beach would prefer some shorts or pajamas because of the humidity and breeze.

It is not always possible to have prior information about customers. We can start off by creating a rough persona, then validating and refining it throughout the product life cycle.

People Don't buy the product they buy the solution

customer success
customer success

A product should be able to add value to its customer's journey. It is easy to build something complex, but it is very hard to build something that is simple yet effective.

The only way to show love towards a customer is by solving feedbacks from your buyer persona. We hire content writers for their ability to write content. A Content writer helps his/her clients to write an article based on some seed inputs. They then build the complete article for you depending on those inputs. Everyone can write content, then why do we need to hire content writers? Well, there are many factors like time, skills, and of course efficiency. Content creates provides a wide range of specialties in researching and writing content for you. This saves time, the client gets a copy that is highly researched, SEO optimized, and reliable.

Everyone wants a product that helps them live a better life, everyone wants a better version of themselves in a tool.

Validating the idea for future roadmaps with customers stays an important part of the product lifecycle. We may sometimes end up creating a wrong buyer persona, for that it's important to keep validating the idea.

This can be also said that people buy a different version of themselves.

Here's an awesome article put to by Startup Grind.

Creating a persona and letting it drive your business is a proven method to lead the business.

I have been into the product for about 4 years. Always loved to learn new things. If you made it to the end, let's connect on LinkedIn. Would love to hear your views/feedback.

Product Manager@ Quantamix Solution, Full Stack developer