Leaning into a crowded market

Before you read this, please do consider this question:

What is the smarter strategy: to look to break into a sector where there are only average profits but they are achievable and you can enter the market fairly easily or go for the harder to reach market with above average profits where  there are barriers to entry and the profit is less likely/takes longer to get but there is the potential to win big?  (answer at the end of this short blog).

Just when you thought it was as simple as “making a few calls”.  Let’s consider the conditions of the market you want to reach out to.

  • Is the market overcrowded and already well served?
  • Is what you offer perceived as a commodity in the market?

However great your idea of your business or offering is, most people are staring out onto a saturated market and their much loved and crafted solution to the target prospect is just one of many.   Be really clear on how you are perceived.

There is success to be had but if you don’t want to just compete on price you have to put some work in.

What you will probably find is that:
  • The prospects you approach are comfortable and not looking for something different. A direct approach using the same business model and offering as the incumbents in the market (being one of many with a different coloured background) just bounces off brushed aluminum entry barrier with the dreaded response of “no thanks we are all sorted with that”.
  • A Mafia style “whatever it takes” strategy risks reputation, devalues your solution, makes you difficult to trust and impossible to be considered as a long-term trusted advisor.

Research your crowded market:

Nothing new here but:

  • Know the market size how much revenue is being generated, how many customers
  • Potential is it growing and at what speed.
  • Competition – identify your main competitors/players, who and how they are serving their markets, pricing structure and business model they use. What are the strengths and weaknesses of what is currently on offer?    Can you see anything they are not doing that they should be?  This is where the opportunities will be in a saturated market.
  • Barriers – Are there any barriers to entering this market – from high capital investments, strong brand loyalty, limited distribution channels. How easy is it to reach your buyers?  Consider compliance and regulation requirements here too.
  • Buying behaviour – how do customers buy currently.
  • Technology and innovation in the sector – where is the market/supply at here.

Still think that this crowded market is worth a go?

A direct attack is futile unless you have lots more ammunition (usually costing £££s) than the competition and a mountain of magic momentum behind you (reputation, already established in this market or something close to it).

What are you to do?

You have to put some work in to not be one of many, you are looking for a hill to claim as yours.    How can you attack at the weaker points (and if there are a few to link together all the better) and carve out a foothold that competitors already in the space will find difficult to respond to or choose to ignore?

How many weaker points can you address?  Consider a more consultative approach and put together a winning combination.  To do this:

  1. Make the most of your strengths to create added value that matters to the prospect and which sets you apart from your competitors.
  2. Consider the power of niches and specialism to appeal to a smaller selection of customers within the broader market. Tailor your offerings to meet the specific needs of these groups.
  3. Find your difference – clearly define what sets your offer apart from competitors. This could be based on quality, price, features, customer service, or a mix.
  4. Create a unique solution that disrupts what is already on offer – look at both your product and the narrative. Look at how you can start to offer value and education to position you as a go to expert.
  5. Deliver amazing customer service to maximise delight, referral and word of mouth recommendations.
  6. Develop high-quality content that educates, entertains, or solves problems for your audience. Your aim is to get established as a thought leader.
  7. Build a strong voice and identity by being clear on your core messages and finding different ways to share that message. Show rather than tell by using testimonials, reviews, and case studies to build that all important know, like and trust and demonstrate your value.
  8. How can people demo/trial/experience what you offer – this might be demo, webinar, in person event.
  9. Are there any opportunities for partnerships, alliances, joint marketing or events with other companies already in the field?
  10. Be innovative and creative as you get traction introduce new products that compliment your existing offerings to further service your niche and attract a broader audience.
  11. One of anything never worked – by consistent, tenacious, creative and human in pursuit of penetrating your identified market.

Marketing to a highly saturated and well-served market is challenging, but with the right strategies, you can carve out a niche and attract customers.   If you are struggling with your approach to your targeted market, let’s have a chat.

One last thoughtful question for you, which market do you prefer:

The answer to my initial question:

The research you put in will help you answer this question for your unique circumstances and whether you need quick wins or see it as a long-term project.  The larger profits are always going to be attractive – put the work in set your world up to talk to your target market, consistently and relevantly pursue the market, be confident and patient but maintain consistency and curiosity.   There is every chance you can win big.

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