Andrew Penny, August 15 2023

Wedge Categories

Breaking into Crowded Markets

Standing out and capturing attention can be difficult, especially when you're introducing a new product in a market where there are dozens of similar offerings. How do you find the right buyers and how do they find you. The larger the number of buyers, the more competitors you’ll have to face. A great way to solve this problem is to use a Wedge Category approach. 

Consider the Minivan.  A perfect example is Chrysler’s introduction of the minivan. By identifying an emerging subsegment and establishing a new category, they propelled the minivan into a standalone market category. They gained instant awareness and, as the only player, dominated the market for years. 

Name It.   When exploring a new market, focus on what is distinct and/or unique about your product or service and look for a subset of users who’s needs or preferences match what you offer. The next step is to name the wedge category in a way that echos the incumbent category but is sufficiently different to attract attention.  

A Case in Point: UUAV Market.   Let's delve into a real-world example. Our recent project revolved around Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). These vehicles are built to serve a wide variety of needs such as fire-fighting, aerial survey, search and rescue and defence. Our client’s vehicle had the unique ability to carry a variety of payloads which enabled it to serve multiple functions. We determined that while some buyers wanted a UAV for a single specific application, other buyers could benefit from a multifunction UAV. And so, we coined the term UUAV – or Unmanned Utility Aerial Vehicle. This name instantly sets the product apart, generating curiosity and inquiries. This wedge category derives awareness from its connection to UAVs but then also requires the buyer to explore why this new category exists. Our client has the ability to define and dominate this new wedge category. Over time, we expect this UUAV category to grow into a self-standing category in the same way that the minivan did. 

In Conclusion.   The concept of Wedge Categories wields immense power. It differentiates your product from the competition, creates a buzz due to its uniqueness, and naturally attracts the right clientele. The result? Reduced marketing efforts and enhanced sales opportunities. So, the next time you're launching a product in a mature market, consider the powerful strategy of creating a Wedge Category. 


Written by

Andrew Penny


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