Thursday, July 5, 2007

Guest Post: Could You Sell a Bagel Without The Hole? Creating a New Market Niche

Once I stopped at a bagel shop in Redondo Beach on the coast south of Los Angeles. They had a huge variety of those chewy "rolls with holes". Many types were new to me but were typical of the California urge for experimentation.

What caught my eye was that they also had bialys. A bialy is a flat, round roll, and has no hole in the middle. Traditionally it has a depression in the top center filled with both chopped onions and poppy seeds. Bialys are so flavorful they can be eaten without adding anything. (They are even better with a smear of butter or cream cheese). Bialys are so fragrant that usually they are bagged separately from bagels.

I asked for some bialys, and was shocked by the counterman’s reply of: "with or without onions?" To me his question was absurd, since a bialy without onions violated the basic definition for the tasty roll from the city of Bialystok in eastern Poland.

Later I realized that a bialy without onions also is very close to being a plain bagel - but without the hole. It brilliantly enlarges the range of rolls by adding a completely new category to the existing classifications. Could you change your marketing and enlarge your range of consulting services by creating a completely new niche - a bagel without a hole?

The old-time baseball place hitter, Willie Keeler said that: "I keep my eyes clear and I hit ‘em where they ain’t." There is a recent book by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne called Blue Ocean Strategy (How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant). This strategy is discussed in this document.

First, they say don’t compete in existing market space – create a new uncontested space (a blue ocean, without other ships). Second, don’t try to beat the competition – make the competition irrelevant. Third, don’t exploit existing demand – create and capture new demand. Fourth, don’t make the value versus cost tradeoff – break it instead.

Cirque du Soleil is an example of blue ocean strategy. So is Yellowtail wine, as discussed in a long magazine article by Kim & Mauborgne.

About the author
Richard Garber is a materials consultant who has twenty years experience in failure analysis – figuring out why systems, products, or components either busted or rusted. You can see a profile of his business on the TVCNet directory under the Technical Consultant listing.

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