Last updated: October 2, 2020
Sometimes you have to think small in order to get big.
Certain products aren’t the obvious choice for most people, but for the ones that get it, they’re the only choice.
These are lumpy products.
Lumpy products have something different about them. They stand out. If they exist in a commoditized market, they aren’t the product that most people buy. They’re more expensive, more specialized, or harder to find. They’re never Amazon’s Choice, but for the people that get it, there isn’t any substitute.
Successfully advertising a lumpy product consists of saying “here it is, and here’s why,” (and you absolutely should test which one to say first).
A lot of products want to appear lumpy, but that’s mostly just marketing. It’s easier to take something generic and say something specific about it than it is to actually commit to making something specific.
There’s risk associated with making lumpy products, and there’s risk associated with buying them. As always, the best way to overcome the risks is to focus on the people. “This is for the people who…”
Do it well enough and your product doesn’t look all that lumpy after all. This is how you create your own category.
Sometimes products only look lumpy until they get it right.
Airbnb didn’t look like the new way to stay, it looked like a lumpy reservations platform — until they got it right.
The iPhone was just a cell phone with a touch screen. Until it wasn’t.
The lesson is that sometimes niche-ing down can result in scaling up, and it couldn’t have happened any other way.