On Designing for a Niche

The problem is, there’s an easy way to be polarizing that doesn’t work and a hard way to be polarizing that does work. They look similar enough from the outside that most people take the easy way and then blame the system for their failure.

By saying you’re only going to appeal to a certain group of people, you give yourself permission and latitude to say no a lot. No, we’re not going to build this feature because the market we’re targeting doesn’t think it’s important. No, we’re not going to change our message because our message appeals to our target market. And, if you disagree, well… you’re not the person we’re going after.

No can be an incredibly powerful tool but it can also be a dangerous one when it shellacs your from criticism. The easy way of being polarizing is to just arbitrarily decide your target market based on what you wish your target market could be and then act all defiant and proud about how polarizing you are.

… Unless you can succinctly and explain what your target market is and why they appreciate your product, you’re not being polarizing, you’re just giving yourself permission to swear a lot and draw whales on your website.
Xianhang Zhang

: Zubon

6 thoughts on “On Designing for a Niche”

  1. And just so we can avoid delicious revenge being served on us by ninjas under cover of night: This has nothing to do with recent events, right? Right?

  2. I found the initial quote on the article about 1000x times more compelling.

    It’s too damn easy to call something dangerous and come up with pitfalls. In the end everything must have a target market, otherwise IMHO they’re just bullshitting themselves that they’re for everyone, that they listen to everyone, that they’ve got a better product than everyone, or in this case that they know their market better than anyone else.

    We live in a word of mediocre products where they did a ton of market study that they claim they have a ‘deep understanding‘ of. Yet most of the better products seem to be things that people made first for themselves, because frankly that’s a lot more likely in the understanding dept..

    Just my $0.02 but what this guy believes IMHO is about 98% of why why capitalism sucks atm.

    Saying that making a specific game is

    Aiming for

  3. LOL ignore my trailing sentences at the end of my comment. I started putting a game development / marketing spin on it and meant to delete.

    I’ll append this instead: We already have too many damn people studying the market and all it does is take away from the budgets of the ones crafting for it.

  4. I think the justification comes from success. You can claim to be aiming for a niche all you want, but if your product fails, you clearly missed everyone INCLUDING that niche with your product.

    EVE is the perfect example: they say ‘no’ all the time, and they have the profits to back up those decisions, no matter how loud forum warriors shout that the game is a virtual spreadsheet.

  5. Well you have to listen to your customers, not your detractors. WoW would be a epic failure if they listened to the people who were not paying customers.

    I think EVE’s a misleading example of patching towards your target audience. Sure, they say “no” a lot, but they’ve also said “yes” a lot too, and on some pretty important issues. Concord’s one example – used to be that NO PLACE was safe and you could tank Concord. When the carebears cried, things changed.

    Inclusiveness is vital to any and every community, and the online community is no different. Syncaine, you say that if a product fails then it has “clearly” missed everyone, including that niche a company was seeking to fill, but that’s just not true. You can succeed with your niche and still fail, in which case the niche was simply too small of a base to support your product.

    And that’s why inclusiveness is so vital – it gives you a wider customer base. If CCP had not changed empire space, it WOULD have failed. Period. There’s no way there are millions of people willing to pay $15 a month to be killed by a twelve year old on summer vacation for four hours a day.

    Niche’s are nice, but precious few have the money to support an MMO all on their own.

    ———————————–
    Agent EVE, AFK Gamer
    http://eveagent.blogspot.com

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