Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Building product for the mean vs niche user groups

Who will be the end user of your product? What will they use it for? Sometimes these questions are easy to answer with “we work in industry X, providing product Y to solve problem Z in market G.” However, often with large general consumer focused products and services, the product need’s to service many users, with varying use cases and requirements, making it a challenging proposition. Take the weather industry for example.

Developing a product for the mean is an extremely challenging proposition, given the level of personalization people want and get these days. Many entrepreneurs focus on finding a niche to go after, like Blank Label with Men’s Dress Shirts, as there is often more room for innovation and it is easier to market and target a small niche set of users rather than targeting the general everyday consumer and meeting their needs

Let’s take a look at an industry where designing for the mean makes sense to capture the largest user base, versus providing the best user experience, the weather.

Everybody checks the weather right? Well at least last month there were over 185 million searches on Google that included the term “weather”. Now, think about the various questions and snippets of information people are trying to find related to the weather, to make decision about their day. Then think about this with no actual insight into who they are and what they’re actually looking for. For example The Weather Channel had a horrible user experience and site design for a long time (recently updated) which on the surface didn’t make sense, however when you think about it, they were covering all the required features for the mean.

Are you building for the mean, trying to take on the world with your product?  Or is the niche market more in your hitting zone?

These are important questions to keep in mind when building features, because not everybody will love it, but will there be enough to love it, to see you through your first MVP? Also keep in mind that your first users are your most important to learn from on what features they do and don’t like, services etc.

There is even specific forecast for Weather at Babson Park.