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Unlocking Your Brand’s Potential With White Space Analysis

Discover how white space analysis can uncover hidden opportunities and drive growth in your business with our comprehensive guide.

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In this blog post, we explore white space analysis as a way brands can find hidden areas of potential, enabling them to innovate, grow, and thrive in their category. 

 


Today, staying ahead of your competition means proactively identifying new and unique growth opportunities in your category to offer something no other brand does (or, offering a better version of it). White space analysis is a strategic type of market research that enables brands to do just that. 

 


 

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What is white space analysis?

White space analysis is the act of uncovering unmet customer needs, underserved customer segments, and emerging trends that other brands haven’t yet capitalized on. It’s a way to make informed decisions about potential new products or services to offer new and existing customers that make them gravitate toward your brand over others. Sometimes, white space analysis even opens doors to entirely new markets by understanding what customers truly want and need, but aren’t getting with the current options available.

Brands that pay attention to these opportunities gain a significant advantage. They’re the brands that customers view as innovative, authentic, and customer-forward. Below we’ll dive into what a white space analysis entails and the positive business impact that comes from it.
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Conducting a white space analysis

To conduct a white space analysis, you’ll need a market research tool, platform, or agency provider in order to capture customer data. Automated platforms make market research quick, efficient, and often fool-proof (given the lack of manual calculations and cross-team version control issues).

 

Automated white space research

Market research platforms (like quantilope’s Consumer Intelligence Platform) automate the tedious end-to-end tasks of setting up surveys, analyzing trends, and reporting on your findings, freeing up your team to focus on strategic and competitor analysis. With automated platform research and the use of AI tools, you can easily see how trends shift over time to jump on opportunities as they’re happening (thanks to automatically-updated charts and significance testing). Slice and dice data by any sample group or custom variable that you wish to see - and do the same for competitive brands.

Whatever approach you choose - be it a traditional market research agency or an automated/AI market research platform, below are the common steps you’ll take to conduct a white space analysis.

  1. Define your scope: Start by narrowing your focus. Are you aiming to explore new product categories within your existing market or venture into something entirely new? Are you looking to target a new/different demographic than you currently cater to, or are you trying to upsell or cross-sell to existing customers? Defining a clear scope prevents what’s known as ‘analysis paralysis’ and makes your resulting data much more actionable.
  2. Gather data: This is where you’ll actually collect feedback from your desired audience - most often through online surveys or qualitative focus groups. You can also supplement your preliminary data with secondary data sources such as industry trend reports, competitor sales data, or even social media conversations for a comprehensive look at your market.
  3. Identify gaps: With the data you’ve collected, look for patterns, inconsistencies, and areas where customer needs are not being met. Are there emerging trends that existing products haven't addressed? Are there specific pain points that competitors are wishing to get resolved? These potential gaps are the grounds for strategic white space opportunities.
  4. Evaluate opportunities: While looking at your identified white spaces/gaps, assess each potential new opportunity based on its market size, growth potential, profitability, and alignment with your brand's core competencies. Consider the competitive landscape – is the barrier to entry high? Are there regulatory hurdles?
  5. Prioritize and strategize: Based on your evaluation, pursue the opportunity or specific area of an opportunity that makes the most sense for your resources and goals. This may involve new product development, developing new marketing campaigns or shifting marketing strategies, forming new distribution partnerships, or even considering a merger and acquisition.
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How to identify white space opportunities for potential new products/services

Businesses leverage white space analysis to discover untapped selling opportunities in their space - such as how the company, Stakt, developed a foldable, stackable yoga mat knowing all others in the market were bulky to roll up and offered minimal support; or how Sarah Moret founded the natural deodorant company, Curie, after being frustrated by the lack of natural, aluminum-free deodorants on the market that actually worked.

Identifying key frustrations within a market or category is perfect fuel for new product development or product upgrades to close that white space gap. Below are three additional (hypothetical) examples of how a business might use white space analysis to discover new opportunities for potential new products and services.

Tech Company: Smart Energy Device

Imagine a tech company specializing in smart home devices.

  • Define the scope:
    The company has had success with smart thermostats and home security systems, but they're eager to expand their offerings.
  • Gather data:

    To understand which new products/services to explore, they start with white space analysis research. First, they explore customer feedback from their existing products - from past research studies, online reviews, and customer support feedback. From these sources, the tech company notices a recurring theme: customers express a strong desire for a more intuitive way to manage their home's overall energy consumption. They want to know which appliances are energy-heavy, when they're using the most electricity, and how to make smarter choices to save money and reduce their environmental impact.

  • Identify gaps:

    They find that while there are some basic energy monitoring tools on the market, they're often confusing to set up, difficult to use, and don't provide actionable insights. Additionally, most of these tools focus solely on electricity usage, neglecting other aspects of energy consumption like water and gas.

  • Evaluate opportunities:

    Armed with this newly-collected data, the tech company identifies an exciting white space opportunity: a user-friendly, home energy management system that tracks and analyzes electricity, water, and gas usage in real time. Given their available budget and resources, along with being known as a highly-rated smart home device maker, they decide it’s a good fit to further explore. 

    They envision a mobile app with functionality that seamlessly integrates with other smart meters and tech-based usage monitors around the house, providing users with a comprehensive dashboard of their home's energy consumption. The app would use machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and provide personalized recommendations for reducing energy usage and costs. For example, it might suggest adjusting thermostat settings during certain hours, running certain appliances at off-peak energy usage times, or replacing inefficient appliances with energy-saving models.

  • Prioritize and strategize:

    To start, the company decides to begin developing the app to integrate just with other smart home devices like smart thermostats and smart light switches (before later expanding to other appliance monitors or other mobile apps that track a home’s water or gas usage).

    By strategically combining new and existing insights on customer feedback, competitive analysis, and trend research, the tech company has a compelling white space opportunity that they feel confident in further exploring. They are well-positioned to develop an innovative new product (app) that not only fills a white space gap in the market but also aligns with growing consumer demands for sustainability and energy efficiency. The potential for success is high, as they're meeting a clear need that existing products haven't yet addressed effectively.

 

Outdoor Gear Retailer: Durable, Lightweight Hiking Shoes

As another example, let's consider an outdoor gear retailer - widely known for its backpacks and camping equipment.

  • Define the scope:
    While the company is already well-positioned in the market for backpacks and camping equipment (such as tents, rain gear, etc.), the company wants to move into new retail territories in order to grow. However, the competition is high and they need to find a niche area they can tap into.
  • Gather data:
    The company leverages a white space analysis to fuel new product research and development through in-depth consumer surveys and social media interactions.
  • Identify gaps:
    From their data, the outdoor gear company discovered a common pain point among their target audience: a lack of hiking boots that were both durable, and easy to pack for travel. Many avid hikers (who travel often to explore new trails) expressed frustration with the current market offerings, which were either super lightweight but lacked comfort/durability, or were overly bulky and uneasy to travel with. Most hiking boot brands in the competitive landscape were prioritizing just one aspect - leaving hikers to sacrifice durability for the sake of space/weight, or vice versa. Further research into industry trends also revealed a growing consumer demand for products made from sustainable materials.
  • Evaluate opportunities:
    The rise of sustainability initiatives and eco-conscious consumerism (especially from nature-loving hiking enthusiasts) presented a clear white space opportunity for the company: to design and develop a line of hiking boots that were lightweight/packable, durable, and crafted from eco-friendly materials. As a company that’s already esteemed for their outdoor wear, with strong name recognition among those who would be in the market for hiking boots, they decide to proceed with their new product development process.  
  • Prioritize and strategize:
    To ensure the highest quality for their new product, the company collaborates with experts in various fields. Material scientists were brought on board to explore innovative, sustainable resources for the boot's construction and Podiatrists were consulted to help develop a lightweight yet supportive design, ensuring both comfort and performance. 

    The result was a resounding success. The new line of eco-friendly, packable, yet durable, hiking boots resonated deeply with their target customers. The boots filled a void in the market, attracting a new segment of eco-conscious hikers while strengthening the company's reputation as a leader in sustainable outdoor gear.

Pet Care Company: Stimulating Dog Toy

Finally, let’s explore a third example - this time a pet care company.

  • Define the scope:
    The pet care company specializes in dog toys, but they’ve seen sales have been pretty low lately. To help with revenue growth, they decide to explore product line expansion to offer new and exciting products to their customers.
  • Gather data:
    The company decided the best way to gather actionable feedback is through an online survey aimed at their target audience of dog owners.
  • Identify gaps:
    Through the online market research survey, the company discovered dog owners were increasingly seeking interactive toys that could mentally stimulate their pets while they were away at work or working from home. The current market was saturated with simple chew toys and plush toys that provided minimal mental engagement, or interactive toys that required a lot of physical activity (such as automatic ball launchers or treat-dispensing toys).

    They identified a gap in the market for dog toys that challenged dogs mentally, but didn’t require a lot of physical exertion or that they be let outside (as to not conflict with their owners' work schedule).
  • Evaluate opportunities:
    Armed with their research, the pet company considered different avenues to explore that could fill this gap. They envisioned a line of puzzle toys that would stimulate dogs' cognitive abilities through problem-solving and reward-based challenges. With an already-successful reputation for dog toys, the company felt confident enough to explore the new opportunity. 
  • Prioritize and strategize:
    This white space opportunity led to the development of their innovative “Smarty Pawz” toy series. In developing this new line, the company prioritized their focus on providing toys with various levels of difficulty - with hidden compartments, sliding panels, and treat-dispensing mechanisms that required dogs to figure out how to access their rewards without much physical exertion.

    The series was an instant hit with dog owners. The toys provided much-needed mental stimulation for dogs during the day, reducing boredom and destructive behaviors. The company's reputation as a leader in innovative pet products was solidified, resulting in increased sales, a broader customer base, and glowing reviews from satisfied pet parents.
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The business impact of white space analysis

As mentioned above - through real and hypothetical example, white space analysis has the potential to launch, grow, and transform your business. It can uncover a new market that generates massive revenue, expand your business to an entirely new customer base, and generate customer loyalty in the long run.

Businesses that choose to invest in white space research can see their investment return in the form of new revenue streams and higher sales opportunities from happier, more satisfied customers. They position themselves as a leader that other competitors in their space then have to try to catch up to if they want to stay relevant; that’s a really powerful position to be in. Plus, it’s a low risk form of research with massive upside, as businesses rarely say they have too much information about their category opportunities. 

When businesses care about meeting unmet needs and growing alongside their consumers, it shows in their customer loyalty, customer retention, and customer advocacy - all aspects that further help your brand grow (and your sales team reps will thank you).

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White space analysis with quantilope

White space analysis is a strategic form of research for businesses seeking sustainable growth in a highly competitive landscape or new potential areas in their existing space.

Start with one of quantilope’s customizable survey templates or drag and drop your own questions and methods into your white space analysis survey as you wish. Monitor results in real-time, as soon as respondents begin completing your survey, and begin building charts that will update automatically with any new data as it’s available.

With quantilope, brands can leverage the real-time insights platform to identify unmet needs in their market (or even unmet needs per consumer segments), test new or additional products through advanced methods like an A/B test or Conjoint analysis, and create a valuable insights dashboard in real-time, with actionable findings for key stakeholders. quantilope’s platform even offers the AI assistance from it’s co-pilot, quinn, to help with advanced method survey inputs, chart headlines, and actionable dashboard summaries, leaving more time for strategic thinking.

White space mapping with quantilope helps brands discover new business opportunities to gain a better understanding of their consumers and build a lasting competitive advantage.

To learn more about white space analysis with quantilope, get in touch below!

Get in touch to learn more about white space analysis with quantilope!

 

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