Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked mainly about attracting new markets. We’ve discussed Christensen’s three tiers of non-consumers, and the logic behind their actions in the market. Tonight, we’ll continue this conversation with a discussion on the Core Market.
As I’ve outlined before, Christensen defines a market as two elements: the core and the expanded markets. The expanded market consists of the three tiers of non-consumers, which we’ve been discussing. The Core market on the other hand, is the regular customer. These are the people who actively buy product, and are interested in what’s being sold by the industry as a whole.
In short, these are the existing anime fans. These are the current bread and butter of the industry, who keep up with the news (to an extent), discuss the medium on message boards and social media, and are already excited about anime as a whole. These are the folks who pushed the Mikuru Beam to meme status, and made “Row Row Fight the Power” the unofficial anthem of certain corners of the internet.
Above: the anthem of certain parts of the web
The core is a fairly diverse group. Since it includes all customers, the core market ranges from individuals that crave “cold” titles like Genshiken and Nichijou, to the folks who line up to buy the latest volume of One Piece or Bleach on release. However, the core is a fickle mass – they have needs that must be met. Core customers know exactly what they want, and they often will get what they want, regardless of whether it’s available or not. They are impatient, they are demanding, and they are not afraid to pass up a show if it’s not to their standards. As Chad Kime of Geneon famously said, “give an anime fan a reason to not buy your product, and they will take it at the first opportunity.”
Regardless, the core consists of the most loyal of customers. Fickle nature aside, they will often stick with a company they trust through lean times, and contractionary periods. They can be counted on for repeat business, and for purchases of titles that may or may not perform well with the greater market. In this light, one could argue that the core is both a business’s greatest asset, and a perennial thorn in the side.
As the expanded market grows more established, it is gradually absorbed into the core, and their tastes become a part of the “new normal” for the core as a whole. And, as such, this group will need to be catered to, in order to prevent the loss of these members to the non-customer tiers. It’s a balancing act, especially when a business’s core ideals is to expand into new markets, in addition to making sure the core’s desires are met.