You’ve all heard the advice: If you are starting or running an established business, you need to find and target your niche. Narrow down the demographics—age range, gender, socioeconomic status—and ignore the outliers.
But we’re all outliers. No individual fits neatly in a box. Why should we market that way?
Just ask any boomer what it means to be a boomer, and you’ll get wildly different answers, especially between early and late boomers. We need to recognize that niche characteristics are meaningless.
Consider also the example of retirement communities, a concept as dated as the niche marketing advice. Sequestering people together who may have nothing in common except their age, isolated from other generations, isolated from many members of their tribe, tucked away into invisibility and irrelevance.
This is just one reason we are clamoring for new community models, integration of multiple generations and people from all walks of life and with various talents and skills that they bring together for the good of the community and themselves. These people are all over the map in terms of niche. What they have in common is a shared sense of values, a similar language of the Soul.
The future of business, work, and life transcends demographics, transcends niches. The future is one of diversity, not seeking out the safety of sameness, particularly the superficial sameness of grouping people by demographics like age and gender.
We need to stop thinking of our businesses and our lives in terms of separation–separating out the people “not like us” according to arbitrary characteristics. This separationist thinking is exactly the same kind of thinking that Others people post-50, that makes it so difficult for us to get past the stereotypes of who we are supposed to be at a certain age.
The future of living a life and running a business that matters is rooted in connection, not separation. We need to start seeking out the shared values in everyone, at every age and stage, beyond boundaries of gender, race, nation, to embrace how our diversity can lead to visionary new ways of acting on our shared values for the future.
Meaningful success and making a difference in the world are not about targeting a niche but about expanding our tribe.
Featured image by by Mar Delgado of “Heart Connection” sculpture by Alisa Looney.