This counter-intuitive OSS niche marketing strategy rocked my thinking

Once upon a time I used to think that entrepreneurs had to be smart enough to develop a niche strategy. A nice smart strategy which will keep them hidden from the big ugly and powerful incumbents and other startups. A strategy to extract sneaky revenue. I learned how wrong I was the hard way… Turns out niche strategies limit the number of doors we can knock on. It limits the number of people we can sell to. It limits the angles of success we can have. It limits the number of rejections we can have (and we’ll get plenty) When we get a rejected from our core strategic market, we lose confidence, we count how many points of distribution we have left and start to struggle and lose faith. We invent our own failure.”
Steve Sammartino
in this blog.

This blog from Steve Sammartino has rocked my belief in niche strategies. I’ve spoken so often about the OSS indutry’s need to access the long tail of innovation, where smaller vendors are “hidden from the big ugly and powerful incumbents” and come up with innovative niche plays.

I still think that this concept is sound, and probably one of the important planks of the small-grid OSS strategy. However, it has made me reconsider how these niche players end up in their niche market.

OSS is already constrained by the number of customers available to market to (although there is room to massively expand the market to service e-enterprise), so targeting a niche within that small customer set is self-limiting.

Steve Sammartino’s perspective is an interesting one – pitching your concept to a broader chunk of the market and seeing where the traction is coming from, then pivoting if necessary to build on that traction. To let the market decide and evolve your offering.

Is this concept as obvious to you as it is to me (now, but wasn’t until having my eyes opened by this blog?)

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