Last year, I shared with the group my belief that Merchers are facing a creativity crisis. Many of our peers are (still) simply chasing and mimicking top-selling niche designs.
In retrospect, I think there’s another mistake Merchers make just as frequently. Sometimes, I catch myself being guilty of it too.
The problem? We assume in our designs that consumers all experience things the same way.
The Christmas niche is a perfect example. Firstly, not everyone celebrates the holiday. But most importantly, Christmas is observed by so many people in so many different ways that we are sabotaging our own efforts by plowing ahead, year after year, with the same old generic Santa Claus designs.
This week alone, I have received multiple messages from friends in this group (you know who you are) saying they didn’t even touch the Christmas niche because all the unique ideas are “taken.” I’m going to tell you precisely what I told each of them — Holidays, especially Christmas, are among the LEAST creatively explored niches in our orbit.
I’m not going to say this without backing it up with facts. And here’s one to consider.
Growing up, my father never called Santa Claus by that name. My old man called him “Santy.” I didn’t realize until I was much older that a lot of people say “Santy Claus.” In fact, in Ireland, a majority of Christmas observers say “Santy” too. (Proof: https://www.dailyedge.ie/santy-3136523-Dec2016/).
Upon digging further, it appears that folks all over the world — like my dad, who isn’t even Irish — also call Santa by that name. It’s just one of many various monikers that Santa has.
Now, how many “Santy Claus” tshirts have Merchers published this year? ZERO.
Considering how popular the Irish niche is across MBA — from cultural pride and beer, to St. Patrick’s Day and symbols of Irish luck — Irish themed Christmas tees about “Santy” would have been a completely original holiday tshirt design.
My dad would have certainly bought one.
I maintain a personal list — a long list — of ideas like these for many holidays. I haven’t had time to touch most of them yet and there doesn’t seem to be a rush because most Merchers are still designing for audiences under the assumption that niches are universally experienced the same way.
Until we do a better job of thinking beyond the boundaries of niche norms, we’ll be missing opportunities to better serve and monetize audiences on Amazon.
One of my paramount goals for this group, my guides, and much of what I plan to write about and speak about in 2021 will stem from the basic principle that achieving niche diversity and appealing to diverse audiences involves more than just deploying new design styles and uncovering low-competition sub-niches. We simply must do a better job of speaking to niches as they are experienced in different ways by different (and large) segments of the global population.
And that’s precisely what we are going to do.