“You can’t sell sameness’’ is a major quote credited to former Coca-Cola marketing executive, Sergio Zyman, and one cannot deny that this quote holds a lot of merit in the light of product strategy and differentiation.
You already know how it goes: Company X develops a new product or service, which becomes highly visible and eventually profitable. Others start seeing the dollar signs and decide to jump in on this cash cow. Before you know it, there are a lot of competitors coming out of the woodwork – seemingly all at once – all vying for the same customer naira.
While testing an unproven market can be expensive and risky on one hand, on the other hand, in a saturated market, there are clear signals about where opportunities lie, but it requires some strategic creativity. Here are the tips for becoming a bigger fish in an already large pond:
New products/product development
One of the most effective ways to break into a saturated or oversaturated market is by offering a product that is new to the industry or improving upon one that already exists. The goal is to offer something that will raise demand in the market and allow your business to take market share away from competitors. Be ready to look beyond what your business currently offers; you may be able to break into the industry by creating a product that improves upon one that the competition offers.
Lower the prices
In order to gain a competitive edge, it is of the absolute importance to lower your prices. If your products are clearly superior, it is okay if they cost more. However, you need a new plan if you offer the same product as your competitors. On the other hand, your prices can’t drop forever, because at one point you’ll start losing money.
Simplify the buying process
Simplifying the buying process can attract and retain customers because it reduces time wastage.
As a smart strategy, you are better off seeking additional payment methods like an e-commerce website or the use of a mobile app. Both approaches will ease your customers’ shopping experience and will ultimately increase your revenue.
Focus on customer feedback
Focus on staying consistent when it comes to listening to your customers, instead of investing a lot in analytic consultations and tools. Pay attention to what your customers complain the most about and have a social media management team to track the brand mentions on social media platforms.
People appreciate when they can reach and talk to your company directly and they don’t hesitate to be direct regarding all the shortcomings of your business or product. Your reputation plays a vital role in your business growth. The more effort you make to ensure customer satisfaction, the more chances you’ll have of gaining a favorable reputation. That is why you need to listen to what your customers have to say about your work and use the feedback to fix certain issues and improve your product.
The key to competition is product differentiation
The worst thing you can do when entering a saturated market is to copy the strategies others use. Don’t look at an industry to see what your competitors are doing; look to see what they are not doing then find a way to provide that exact thing in a perfected manner that cannot be rivaled.
Define your strengths and what makes you different and leverage them to gain a competitive edge. Whether you’re reinventing industry standards, creating a new business model or improving a process, differentiating yourself is one of the most effective ways to thrive.
To figure out what opportunities you have to brand yourself in a way that sets you apart, answer the following questions:
• Are there any needs or desires of my target market that are not currently being marketed by any of my competitors that I could market?
• Are there any subgroups within this target market that could be focused on?
• What marketing or branding opportunities are none of my competitors taking advantage of?
• What marketing tactics or branding efforts are overdone?
• Are there any promotional, branding, or experiential tactics used in other industries that are not being used in mine?
Stay on Top of Trends
No matter how saturated the market, consumer demand is never stagnant and keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry keeps you relevant and poises you for success. Smart businesses act on these trends and update their inventory accordingly. Always keep an eye open for market changes and opportunities that may allow you to outperform your competitors. Customers appreciate businesses that anticipate their needs and provide them with surprising products or services that they weren’t even aware they needed.
Offering incentives and value-added services is another smart strategy to consider when preparing to enter an oversaturated market. Are you offering frequent buyer programs? Reward levels? Dedicated personnel? Not only does adding value attract a larger audience, it strengthens customer retention, which leads to long term growth.
Customers want to ensure that they are getting their money’s worth, so they’re always on the lookout for the best and most cost-effective solutions. If they perceive more value in your goods than your competitors’, they are likely to pay more for your services/products. By offering small perks to loyal customers, for example, you encourage future purchases, generating growth.
An old investment rule says that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the same basket. This stays true for your business, especially if you’re competing in an oversaturated market. The competition is already fierce, so you don’t want to play all your marbles on just one product or service. By diversifying your products, you increase your chances of capturing every part of the market.
Penetrating an oversaturated market poses its own unique set of challenges and rewards. With each passing day, new businesses emerge, making the marketplace more crowded than it already was.
As such, staying competitive and relevant may seem borderline impossible. But, where most people see a roadblock, savvy entrepreneurs see an opportunity. Highlight what makes you different, always look for new customer needs and demands and ensure your products deliver high value and you will gain a competitive advantage.
These ideas are just a few good solutions to stay ahead of your competitors. They can be combined with others or used alone to further improve your business model. The best thing is that these ideas are very flexible and can easily be integrated into almost any industry. An oversaturated market may be a difficult environment to grow your business, but that doesn’t mean it lacks the opportunities or the potential for business growth. If you have a good strategy and a good angle to work with, you will have a chance to successfully grow your business, no matter how crowded the market is or how strong your competitors may be.