NPD Jargon Buster: Bowling Alley

A bowling alley is a type of early stage business strategy that emphasizes focused growth in specific niche markets.

A bowling alley is a type of early stage business strategy that emphasizes focused growth in specific niche markets. The goal is to build a strong position in those markets by delivering differentiated “whole products” and using that niche market strength as leverage for conquering conceptually neighboring niche markets. The success of this strategy depends on building product leadership through customer intimacy. In other words, businesses need to really understand their target customers and what they want in order to be successful. This type of strategy can be contrasted with the more generic “big-box store” approach, which tries to be all things to all people and often ends up being mediocre at everything. When executed well, the bowling alley strategy can be a powerful way to build a sustainable competitive advantage.

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