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Niching down by desired outcomes for better results

Are you feeling unsure about how to segment your market? Are you feeling confused about how to niche down? In this post, we pull back the curtains to reveal our method for defining a niche.

Access the free introductory mini-course that pulls back the curtains on how to conduct online market research so you can go on to define a niche by desired outcomes.

Why traditional  methods for finding a niche often fail

Many business owners and marketers set themselves up for failure because their methods for determining a niche are ineffective.

When demographic, geographic or psychographic characteristics such as beliefs, likes, and dislikes of a market are used as the sole or primary factor for determining a niche, success is rarely realized.

People grouped into one segment based primarily on how they look, where they live, or what industry they work in will likely lead to a group of people who are similar on the surface but are moving in different directions towards different goals. Businesses that take this approach often experience failed content marketing funnels, and unsuccessful products and services.

Instead, needs and desired outcomes should be the focus when choosing a niche. Dividing a market into groups based on the shared desired outcome of the people in these groups makes sense. 

The goal of choosing a niche is to enable your business to target products, services and content to groups of consumers who are likely to find value in them. If your products and services are designed to help your audience achieve their goals then defining your niche by this desired outcome makes sense. 

Despite the fact that getting a niche right is imperative, many marketers continue to form niches with demographic characteristics as the deciding factor. Other marketers use psychographic or behavioral factors other than desired outcomes. 

However, using these factors as the primary focus for deciding on a niche provides no real benefit to the targeting process.

People are outcome-driven

Consumers do things because they are goal driven. They take on challenges and solve problems because they have the desired outcome. As a marketer, if all of your efforts are driven towards helping your customers achieve their goals, you will win. Product, service, content… everything should be created in pursuit of this, so it follows suit that your segments should be too.

When you look at a market through a lens of a job that needs to be done (e.g. content marketing), then segment the market based on the needs and desired outcomes of people first, you can define groups with common goals. Once you have defined these segments you can then study each group to find other shared characteristics, so you can understand your ideal customer and create a customer avatar.

In this article, we explore market segmentation by desired outcomes; what it is, and how to do it. But first, let’s look at some commonly used segmentation methods and how prioritizing these factors instead of needs and desired outcomes, can lead to failure. 

If your market segmentation method is flawed your content marketing, products, and services, are bound to fail.”

Prue Madden

A niche is a part of a market. In order to niche down, you need to decide which people in the market you will target. This process is called market segmentation. 

The term market segmentation is often used by larger businesses, and niching down is often used by smaller businesses. This is because smaller businesses find it difficult to compete with larger corporations that dominate large segments of a market.

Because of this, smaller businesses go after even smaller segments of the market. These are referred to as niches. However, the process of splitting a market up into smaller parts, whether they be large segments or small niches, is referred to as market segmentation.

So let’s look at the different types of market segmentation that can be used to define a market segment or a market niche.

Demographic segmentation

Demographic segmentation is a form of market segmentation often used by businesses. This segmentation focuses on dividing a market into groups based on age, gender, race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or education level. While this approach can be helpful as a secondary segmentation method, it is generally not optimized for success as the primary means for market segmentation. 

Why? Success in marketing is dependent on determining something that a population collectively values. If you are segmenting primarily on age or race, for example, this does not guarantee that all the people of this age will have the same value you are focussing on with your messaging. As a result, you will not connect with all people of that age or that race. You will only connect with the ones who are attracted to your messaging.

By making your primary focus the needs and desired outcomes of your market segmentation and your marketing focus, you will dramatically increase the chances that your content, products, and services will succeed, as they will connect with your target customers.

Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation falls under the category of demographic segmentation. It is often used by businesses wanting to target customers effectively. This approach focuses on dividing a market into regions and targeting consumers within those regional boundaries. For example, a company might divide the United States into six regions: East, West, North Central, South Central, Mountain, and Pacific. Then, it might create marketing campaigns specifically aimed at consumers in each region. 

Geographic segmentation can be helpful; for example, you may be more likely to sell some products in a warm climate than in a cool climate. However, as with demographic segmentation, geographic segmentation is often not the best primary consideration for segmenting a market. Understanding the needs and desired outcomes of people can help you form more reliable groups to target, understand what drives them, and create a more solid connection. Examining the geographic location of segment members to look for patterns can provide further insight, but as a primary means of classification, it will lead to lackluster results.

Psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation is another common approach businesses use to segment and target consumers. This segmentation often concentrates on understanding customer preferences through surveys or interviews or studying online data found in forums and online communities and studies as representative samples of the population. 

Needs and desired outcomes fit under the category of psychographics. While psychographic research can uncover valuable information without understanding a group’s needs and desired outcomes, you will lack direction without this information. Needs and desired outcomes drive the narrative for the consumer on their journey towards achieving their goals, and so too for the marketer when trying to connect with the consumer along this journey. 

For example, let’s work with a basic B2C example. Psychographic data may indicate that 90% of people between the ages of 60-44 prefer coffee over tea. Interesting data, but nonetheless, this information won’t be helpful if you don’t understand the needs they have and the desired outcomes they are trying to fulfill. Are they drinking it to get more energy? Feel more alert? Relax? Refresh thirst? Stay awake? Look cool in front of their friends? 

For example, what if you were to create a marketing campaign that focussed on women in their 30’s drinking coffee to relax when they often feel tired and drink coffee to stay awake? And what if, when they want to relax, they prefer tea? Your messaging for your campaign is a complete fail because you didn’t understand the group’s desired outcome. Without information about needs and desired outcomes, your marketing won’t connect. 

Behavioral Segmentation

Behavioral segmentation is a form of market segmentation that groups consumers based on their behavioral tendencies and preferences. This can include things like purchase habits, website visits, or social media activity. Behavioral segmentation can be helpful as a secondary means of targeting customers rather than a primary means. Why? Because first, you need to attract people to your website and your social media pages. To do this you need to understand their needs and desired outcomes to create content that resonates and compels them to take notice of our content. Then, once they have started to engage with your brand by visiting pages, clicking links, downloading lead magnets (free content), and perhaps even purchasing products, you will have enough data to begin to segment the visitors and customers based on their behavior.

It’s important to understand that with behavioral segmentation, you can’t put the cart before the horse. Before you can segment based on behavior, you first need to focus your attention on understanding your market segment’s needs and desired outcomes to attract them to your site.

Segment by desired outcomes to align content with customer goals.


#segment by desired outcomes

When you know your market’s jobs to be done and their desired outcomes, divide and conquer.

What is niching down by desired outcomes?

Let’s take a closer look at market segmentation, or niching down, using desired outcomes. Niching down using this method allows businesses to identify a group of people who have the desired outcomes, and predict who will develop these needs and desired outcomes.

It enables marketers to create content, messaging, products, services, and offers, and expose the group to all of this precisely when they need it. With marketing automation tools, it is possible to understand where people are in their journey and predict which customers will most likely achieve their specific desired outcomes. Combining segmentation with automation enables marketers to better serve people and increase business profits.

Using desired outcomes for niching down is particularly well-suited to B2B businesses. B2B buyers often have complex buying journeys, with numerous people involved both potential product users and decision-makers. Each person has their place in “buying in” to the product or service you are offering. By understanding the job that each person is trying to get done with your product, and their desired outcomes, you will be able to help them achieve their goals.

The result? People in these niches will feel like your content has been custom written to help them, your products and services have been custom designed for them, as that’s precisely what you’ve done. When you niche down based on needs and desired outcomes first and other factors secondary to this, your content, products, and services will be tightly aligned with the customer’s goals and their journey towards achieving them, and the transformation they want to experience.

Why is niching down using needs and desired outcomes best for B2B businesses?

There are several key reasons that segmenting a market using needs and desired outcomes first is the best for B2B businesses; 

1. When you know what outcomes your ideal customers are looking for, you can create messaging and positioning that resonates with them much more effectively. You can focus on their specific needs and how your product or service can help them achieve their desired results.

2. By defining your niche by desired outcomes, you automatically weed out those who aren’t a good fit for your business. If someone doesn’t want to change or improve their current situation, they’re not likely to be interested in what you offer – no matter how great it may be.

By contrast, if someone is actively searching for ways to improve their business outcomes (i.e., they want more sales/leads/customers), they’ll be much more receptive to learning about your solution. 

3. You also increase the likelihood of customer satisfaction, as you played an instrumental part in their “hero’s story”. You helped them meet their needs, achieve their desired outcomes, and achieve victory.

Humans are problem focussed and outcome-driven. We have survived and evolved by setting and achieving goals. People connect and communicate with others to achieve their desired outcomes, and they like people and businesses who understand their desires and help them achieve their goals. Therefore, you are more likely to be happy and recommend your business, products, and services to others. 

4. Finally, when niching down by desired outcomes, you can tap into trends for achieving those outcomes early to stay ahead of the competition. When you know what kinds of results people are trying to achieve, you can anticipate changes in the market and adjust your offerings accordingly.

Finding hidden segments and opportunities

Suppose you research the market’s desired outcomes deeply enough and talk to people with these needs and desires. In that case, you can discover whether or not they are being fulfilled sufficiently by existing solutions. You can discover niches that no one is serving. You can discover underserved segments. And you can discover niches that you are already serving but are talking to with the right messaging or not sufficiently helping with your existing solutions. Opportunities are everywhere, just waiting to be discovered if you understand how to niche down in markets effectively. 

How to prepare to segment a market to find a niche 

Research and analysis are two critical steps in finding a niche. First, you need to define your market and then conduct research in your market. Following this, you need to analyze the results of your research and look for insights that help you define niches; we’ve already established that segmenting a market based on desired outcomes first, and then other factors secondary to that is our preferred method.

But how do you go about conducting the preliminary research? While researching a customer base is relatively straightforward with interviews and surveys, it is a costly endeavor. And if you don’t yet have a customer base, or even a sizable audience, it can seem like an impossible task, particularly if your business has a limited budget. But it’s not impossible. On the contrary, it’s within reach of every business, even for a small start-up or a solo entrepreneur.

How to easily conduct research online to find a B2B niche

Here at Sell On Autopilot, we start the research process by examining job listings on job marketplaces. That’s right, Careerjet, Seek, MyCareer, and many other job market places people commonly go to look for work. 

1. Collect data from job role advertisements in job marketplaces

By collecting data from job advertisements on online marketplace sites, you can quickly identify the requirements (needs) of the business that the person is being hired to complete and the desired outcomes they expect that role to achieve.

2. Expand your search

Expand your search sideways. Exploring other job roles that are related to the jobs roles that you expected would use your solution can help you to uncover new market segments that you had not considered.

3. Copy the job data to a spreadsheet

We’ve created a spreadsheet that we use to capture the data from job listings. The spreadsheet also helps to analyze and organize the data.

You can download a free copy of the spreadsheet here:

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Once you’ve captured your research data from the job listing, you can move on to the next step…

How to analyze your research data to decide how to segment a market 

Once you’ve collected the data from job listings, it’s time to organize the data, looking for jobs in common that people are trying to complete and their expected outcomes, and grouping them together. You will often find that many job roles complete different stages of one job. So people with different job roles can all have the same desired outcomes, and therefore they can all be targeted with the same messaging in your marketing.

Using this method, you’ll stop thinking about primarily targeting one Job role such as “Marketing Strategists” or “CEOs”, and start marketing to a segment of people who are doing a job, such as brand marketing. You’ll now be able to create highly targeted and personalized content and products based on your segments shared needs and desired outcomes. 

For example, if you were looking at the job listings of job titles that do content marketing, then you would examine all of the job titles and you might find that some of the job titles focus on product marketing. Others may focus on building a brand. Others may focus on something else entirely. It’s essential to think about the different jobs to be done in each role, and then determine the desired outcomes for each job. It’s important to understand that one title can have more than one job to be done, and one job to be done can have many desired outcomes, anywhere from 20 to 100 and beyond.

It is important to note that we don’t use all the desired outcomes of a job to be done to decide on segments. We only find the desired outcomes that show the differences in what customers want to achieve when getting the job done. For example, product marketing and brand marketing both share common outcomes but they have different outcomes too. Sales revenue is often mentioned as a desired outcome in Brand Marketing job adverts, and it is also almost always mentioned in product marketing adverts. Because it appears in both, you might not use this desired outcome as a focus for segmentation, and instead, look for desired outcomes that explain differences. Identifying differences is the secret to a successful market segmentation process.

In summary

If you want to research and define market segments with a strategic and logic-based approach, using desired outcomes as the primary factor for segmentation is best. When you segment markets based on their needs and desired outcomes first, and then study this group to find other shared characteristics, you have a group defined by their needs and desired outcomes concerning a job they are trying to complete.

By understanding the “job” that customers want to get done, their needs, and the desired outcomes that they want to achieve when they complete the “job”, you can segment markets based on their needs and desired outcomes first, and then study this group to find other shared characteristics, to further enhance your understanding of the segment.

When you use this as a foundation for your segmentation and your marketing strategy, you can work towards a united goal with the people in the segment: help them achieve their desired outcomes with your content, products, and services. 

Researching desired outcomes and needs using job advertisements sourced from online marketplaces is a quick and easy way to gather data about needs and desired outcomes. This approach has the advantage of discovering market segments you have not considered.

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