What do Elon Musk (Tesla, Space X), Arron Levie (Box), Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook) and Brian Chesky (Airbnb) all have in common? They took their big ideas and turned them into a bigger disruption in their markets because they found the missing piece. That emptiness, called “white space,” could be answered in the form of a strategy disruption, brand, or an opportunity to sell to existing customers.
This area of potential is the empty space that needs to be tapped because everyone else has looked it over. Finding it has proved to be the secret to beating the competition, namely, those who have become too slow and comfortable with their own processes to recognize that something is missing at all. The following are some of the ways in which you can find the white space in your category.
Disrupting a category
In any industry, it doesn’t take long to develop a noticeable gap. There is an assorted distribution of market ownership, be it the automotive industry, ecommerce, or nutritional supplements, that introduces immediate entry points for new competition to sweep in and enter the marketplace. This “white space” is what startups and entrepreneurs can grab hold of with little resources and tap into as experts in the industry.
This sweet spot requires little investment from industry executives and offers low levels of competition. The size of the “white space” can typically be surmised by the confluence of the markets at a given time. Therefore, when it comes to nutritional supplements and quality ingredients, the disruption begins by determining what the industry is currently missing or will need in the future.
To get a better understanding of the missing piece, you can start by researching a confluence of inflection points and trends that will change the market. By finding the gap and then moving in to this “white space”, you tap into a category that has been left untouched.
Making relevant and competitive changes will help your brand grow and succeed in the industry.
Entering into the “white space” can help you achieve that brand success even faster. By taking a look at everything from your brand logo to packaging, you can keep your product formulation, but reposition it by taking advantage of whatever is missing in the industry and further appealing to your consumers.
For example, a cereal brand might consider adding “fun” to the nutritional value they bring to the market. Researching new product line extensions and studying ways to position the brand to stay ahead in the growing marketplace might mean adding games or emojis to their packaging. It could include adding various elements that position them as more light-hearted, in an effort to help families interact with their brand.
Adding “fun” might not be what your brand needs, but perhaps you need to appear more “expert,” or “environmentally friendly,” or whatever it is that’s missing in your particular space.
Sell to existing customers
More often than not brands go after new customers before they take the time and effort to cultivate the needs of their current ones. Your current customer base is an untapped area of potential where there is room for growth in your business. Acquiring a new customer is six times as expensive as retaining a current one.
That “white space” is the gap between the products your customers have invested in, and the other products that your company is offering. You already have the customer, so help them invest in your business even further by making your business even more valuable to them.
The potential to fill “white space” in the industry is completely unlimited. The possibilities already exist, it’s just a matter of doing due diligence and discovering what you (and your competition) are not seeing.
Performing a regular analysis on white space may seem like a daunting task, but it will give you a richer understanding of growth possibilities and be completely worth it when it comes to the success of your company.
Often the best way to identify a new opportunity is by stepping away from your desk. Go for a walk or a vacation and let the ideas flow in.
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