Updated: Sep 11, 2018
Competition is something we all have to face. It's the fact of life it's everywhere. When you are starting out a business or you re-strategizing on an existing business competition can seem intimidating because it can affect the way you would market your business from Price to Promotion.
Marketing in an highly competitive niche especially when your product is a commodity is going to be different from selling in a less crowded space due to your niche (market)
How then can you discover customer's even in a competitive market? Let's take a look at frequently asked question.
"Can i build a business and find customers when there are 15 companies selling the same stuff"
"Is it possible to stand out in a crowded marketplace?"
Getting customers is always going to be an essential part in your business especially when you are just starting out. Although there are numerous ways to go about it from Social media marketing to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Paid Advertising. And which one works best would depend on your products, your customer and you.
Remember your target customer have so many options, how then do you convince them to choose you?
It's easy to daydream that someday, you'll have a moment of inspiration and come up with a product that's so unique that it would have zero competition. However, even the most innovative new products will evetually face competition as others enter the market.
However, if you have a business idea or a business running, there are ways to succeed even in a crowded market.
1. Research Your Competitors And Their Products
Ajeast Nigeria Limited, the makers of Rite Foods Limited (marketers of Bigi and Rite Sausage Rolls). They decided to venture into soft drinks business, but they have a very huge competitive market to deal with, dominated by Coca-cola and 7up plc.
Instead of letting that discourage them, they drove right into competitive research. That's when Ajeast Nigeria Limited knew they could produce a product that could stand out in the Nigerian market, even though they would be up against a wide range of established direct competitors.
2. Build A Competitive Advantage
Using competitor's products helps you understand not only what they offer, but where there are gaps, and how your product can fill these gaps. Once you're filled with that huge information you can leverage on it to test and iterate your product until it truly fills a gap in the market, no matter how competitive that market is.
That's exactly what Ajeast Nigeria Limited did next to create a product "Bigi Cola" that would stand out.
The product created was a similar product to the ones in the market, but it came with four variants (Bigi Apple, Bigi Cola, Bigi Orange & Bigi Lemon)
Something to take away: Make sure your product don't remind people of a horror movie (unless that's the effect you're going for)
Even if you don't have the flexibility to create a competitive edge with your product, you can still conduct a competitive analysis of the market to find gaps in messaging, retail distribution or target audience.
3. Get Your Product in Customers Hands
You've got a product and you are confident it will fill a gap in the market. Now it's time to get it in your customers' hands. That's one thing that was crucial for Ajeast Nigeria Limited (makers of Bigi Cola).
Because you can be confident that your product is better than anything out there, but when you're a new business, you can't just tell people that. You have to show them.
"Like Ajeast Nigeria Limited, after intensive competitive research, coming up with competitive advantage, they decided to come up with Bigi Cola which was packed in 500ml."
"The wholesale price of a carton of PET bottle (50cl0 of Bigi Cola is N950, Pepsi goes for N1050 and Coca-cola goes for N1150. While the retail price of Bigi Cola & Pepsi is N100, Coca-cola is N120."
Here are the comments of customers:
A Retailer - If i buy Bigi Cola at N1000 and sell at N100, i make more money than when i buy a cartoon of coca-cola at N120 to make profit.
End User - Bigi Cola taste nice, it tastes better than Coca-cola, Big Cola & Pepsi.
This kind of strategy works once you're truly confident that you've got a product that stands out in the marketplace, so the time you invest in competitive research and product testing is the cornerstone of this strategy.
Once you are there, you can focus on finding opportunities to hook new customers and win loyal fans for your brand relying on the strength of the product.
4. Use Competition to Inform and Inspire
When taking your first steps into competitive market, seeing all of the polished, established brands in your space can be intimidating. Greogry a business owner who took advantage of competitive research shared that you should never compare your step one to someone else's step 100.
If you've got a good understanding of the competitors products and you've invested time into refining your product to fill a gap in the market. You're ready to start selling. The rest will come.
Related Post: Benefits of Online Marketing for Businesses