28 Aug How to Market Yourself in a Competitive Industry
As a small to medium business, trying to create a distinctive brand image for yourself in and amongst a growing list of competitors can be a challenge. Competitive industries have increased as our digital marketplace and global economy grow. On the flip side, this also means that there are more avenues and more people to sell your product or service than ever before. If you’re a relatively young business trying to make a splash or an established business up against some big opposition, there are some basic principles that you can follow to distinguish your business.
A common problem that impacts the majority of businesses within competitive industries, is that they all sell similar products or services and market them generically. While it’s important to take stock in what your competitor is doing, it doesn’t mean that this approach will automatically suit your business.
For small and medium businesses to compete against large companies within their market, there has to be a point of difference. To categorically make yourself known in a competitive industry, a business needs to create a disruption. Disruptions are essential in formulating a new pecking order. From a small businesses point of view, this may sound like a huge investment being put towards a risky pursuit.
This is the reason why most businesses settle for second place in the face of their bigger, stronger competitors. What many businesses don’t realise, however, is that thinking outside of the box may just be the key to standing out from the crowd.
Creating a wave in your industry could be the difference between being just another business and being the go-to business in your market. Being the dominant company in your market will mean sustainable business growth and profitability well into the future.
Here is my guide on how to market yourself in a competitive industry.
Be the Difference:
The number of ways you can disrupt your market is endless. It all starts with finding the right way to differentiate yourself. The main goal when it comes to disrupting your industry is doing something unexpected and unique. Maybe even something that hasn’t been attempted in your industry before.
Instead of fitting in and copying an idea that has already been proven to be good, find a new way to do it. When it comes to formulating a new approach, the majority of schemes are taken from similar businesses and built upon to make it better.
Being able to spot an innovative solution to a problem is the key to stirring the market and creating a well-recognised brand. But where do you even start looking for ideas?
Finding the Right Idea:
An obvious statement is that large businesses within a market will have the most amount of customers, it is what makes them the largest business. With any business no matter the size, it is hard to satisfy 100% of your customers. For small businesses trying to break into the market, finding those unhappy customers is key to finding your idea for disruption.
Research is essential when generating ideas. For businesses and marketers, knowing your target market and industry as a whole is crucial. For anyone who has never conducted research before, there are different sources and channels to do so. These range from free methods you can do yourself, to outsourcing companies who conduct research on behalf of you. Some helpful methods include:
- SEO including a website audit and market analysis.
- Looking at online reviews.
- Using research that has already been conducted.
- Analysing social media presence.
- Inspect your content
Once you have conducted research, you will find gaps in the market that have not been met. Use the data you have collated to your advantage, create the disruption that will allow your business to break barriers.
Once you have gathered the intel of what makes your business unique, you can begin to implement a plan. Leveraging digital marketing tools is a great way to make a distinctive mark on your industry. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Define your business’s added value
Think of yourself as a consumer and evaluate what aspects of your product or service would make you the consumer choose your business over your competitors. Then market this to your audience.
- Be controversial
Being controversial doesn’t have to mean being offensive or ruining your brand image. Sometimes it can be as simple as vocalising things your competitors are too afraid to say. My tip? Focus in on one thing you think your competitors are doing inadequately and demonstrate how your business is different.
- Create a niche
While your previous marketing efforts may have been focused on pursuing a broad audience, the key to standing out in your industry may come down to having a more targeted approach. Successfully aiming your ads or campaigns at a specific group of people will probably garner more results while also differentiating your brand.
It Takes Time and Effort:
Like anything, there is a lot of work and time that goes into growing a business and marketing strategy. Coming up with a successful way to market yourself in a competitive industry is not something that will happen overnight. In fact, it’s often a matter of trial and error before finding your marketing sweet spot.
The downside of being a small or medium business is that your big competitors can spend a large amount of money on their marketing campaigns to get their products launched quickly. With small businesses, choosing your marketing channels can be critical. Digital marketing can be a cost-effective technique if you have the right professional guidance. When it comes to harnessing digital marketing, it’s important to invest your resources in the approaches that will deliver you an ROI.
In the end, creating a lasting impact in your industry can be a daunting endeavour, especially when you’re coming up against bigger, stronger competitors. Take your time, think smart and work your way up to making your disruptive move.