Disrupt your industry by embracing market white space opportunities

Market white space refers to the unspoken, unmet needs of consumers that are not currently being met or fulfilled by competitors and/or identification of markets or businesses that are being underserved or completely overlooked. It’s where products and services don’t currently exist (or simply aren’t being presented in a way that’s relevant to the audience). Market white space is uncharted territory – but it’s where you find gold mines (and, off-the-charts successful IPO’s) – IF you know how to find them.

Who needs to understand market white space?

Companies who want to grow, evolve, innovate or disrupt their industry need to understand where there is available market white space so they can build-to-suit the unmet needs of the marketplace. 

White space exploration is used to identify opportunities in a highly saturated market (Method household products, Purple mattresses), by companies looking to disrupt old industries (Airbnb, Uber, Tesla) or companies wanting to explore strategic diversification (Virgin extending the brand into insurance and banking).

The Fear of White Space

Like any blank canvas the thought of taking advantage of market white space can provoke fear and hesitation. Many companies are reluctant to enter any white space because of the unknowns. It’s understandable – when we choose to embark on unknown territory we will be faced with new challenges that sometimes seem insurmountable. So instead, many businesses opt to stay where they are – comfortable with their tried-and-true methods, audiences and messages. 

As a result, this leads to businesses not wanting to take any risks and they instinctively retreat to what they know (only to find themselves soon being overtaken by the likes of an Airbnb, Tesla or Uber).  

Moving Into Market White Space

Oftentimes, in order to take advantage of white space opportunities a company is forced to reconsider how they think about, talk about and sell their product or service. As such, many companies face a dilemma – the fear mentioned above. 

Two years ago a client came to us that had hit a sales plateau. They made a medical test that, when administered, gave doctors the information they needed to help 95% of breast cancer patients eliminate body-harming drugs from their treatment plan with no negative effects (because the test showed when the drugs were and weren’t effective in a person’s body). This seems like a test that would be wildly successful and sell itself, right? Unfortunately, not. They were consistently missing sales goals and being pressured by investors to increase their $30M valuation to $250M in 3 years.

We conducted a white space exploration to identify where and how they could be gaining traction quickly. What we found was that their historical direct-to-doctor sales approach wouldn’t get them to their goal. Instead, we identified two white space opportunities: the first was a direct-to-consumer marketing approach; the second was increasing awareness among Key Opinion Leaders who had strong influence over oncologist decision-making. 

Using this learning we developed a new strategy for the brand, converted internal teams to consumer-centric thinking and worked with the company’s agency to develop a relevant and meaningful direct-to-consumer marketing campaign. The campaign launched in January of 2020, right before the pandemic. In December of 2020 (one year ahead of schedule) the company sold for $230M.

View the full success story here.

Grow or Die

As markets mature, competition intensifies, new technologies are invented, and new consumer behaviors emerge. To stay relevant and respond to evolving social environments, companies must actively seek out new opportunities to differentiate themselves. White space exploration helps companies to identify these game-changing initiatives and strategic opportunities for business growth. 

Market White Space: This is Our job

Need help evaluating market white space opportunities for your business? Give us a call – we’d be happy to help you through the process.

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