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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

Seven tips for succeeding in a saturated market

Leveraging positive reviews and testimonials to your advantage is a powerful way to market your product’s reliability and effectiveness, using firsthand accounts to show that customers are not only using your product, but genuinely enjoying the experience.

Seven tips for succeeding in a saturated market
[peshkova/AdobeStock]

You have a great idea for a new business that you’ve been working on. Or, you already have a business and see an opportunity to introduce a new product or service you believe will capture a significant percentage of market share—even in a saturated market.

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Here are seven tips to help you and your team succeed in today’s crowded market.

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK… ALL OF IT

Know the ins and outs of all your competitors, the market share each represents, their targeted demographic, advertising strategies, distribution channels, and what distinguishes each product or service. Visit your competitors’ websites and social media platforms to see how they are reaching their audience. If you can, pay for competitive research. The more information you have on your competitors, the better you will understand the market and thus be prepared to break in or expand.

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2. SHOW WHAT SETS YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE APART

Figure out how you can differentiate your product or service in the market. For example, there are many large and well-known email marketing software providers out there, but some are better than others. They all enable their users to get the same job done. However, one platform may offer a user-friendly approach to creating visually appealing emails while another may specialize in a more technical approach that focuses on automation and segmenting.

Another example can be seen in my background as the owner of a SaaS invoicing company. There were many billing services on the market before us, including some well-established brands offering extensive accounting systems. Yet we knew there were individuals just starting out who needed a basic invoicing program and didn’t need the advanced accounting features other programs offered.

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The trick here was to figure out what would differentiate our basic invoicing service. One way we did this was by focusing on invoice designs as a form of branding. We went in this direction because, traditionally, invoicing has always been done on plain, dull pieces of paper.

By focusing on the template designs and hiring graphic designers to create various templates ranging from fun and whimsical to clean and professional, we found a unique selling proposition that no one else on the market had explored. To date, we continue to use a wide range of templates in our advertising and marketing efforts to attract new users.

My best advice is to think long and hard about what distinguishes your product or service in the market.

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3. TELL A GREAT STORY

You believe in your product or service and your company, so let people know through your branding, website, social media, advertising, and promotions. If you have an interesting and compelling narrative behind the birth of your product/service, share it. Think about what sparked your idea and the founding of your company. Tell that story in a way that is relatable and inspiring so that more customers relate to you rather than your competitors.

4. CONSIDER FUTURE TRENDS

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Look at changes or trends that have the potential to impact the market and how you can capitalize on them, whether it’s in how you advertise or with your business model.

For example, there are several streaming platforms generating massive amounts of content and competing for the same eyeballs. While Netflix has led in market share, others are quickly gaining traction as they enter the space. Different models featuring less expensive subscription options and ad-supported content have helped others cut into Netflix’s subscription base. Once you know what your competitors are doing, think about how you can tap into changing consumer behaviors and expectations to do things differently.

5. FIND YOUR LANE AND STAY IN IT

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The overall market where you reside or want to enter may be saturated. But within that market, a specific niche may be open for your product or service. Access the common challenges customers face that may have been overlooked by the competition. Consider how you can address these challenges to fill existing gaps and establish a niche market for your company.

Take a look at the boom of coworking spaces in the past 10 to 15 years and all the new entrants in the market during that time. The traditional culture of an office went relatively unchanged for many years. Then, WeWork came on the scene with a totally fresh, more community-centric focus for shared office space and working environments. This set them apart in a highly competitive (and what was once considered saturated) market.

WeWork was hugely successful in the lane they paved for themselves. Once they began branching out into spaces unrelated to the core of their business, they lost their way a bit and the company suffered.

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6. EVALUATE PRICING

Think about how the pricing of your product or service compares to that of your competitors. Traditionally it’s not recommended to lower your pricing just to beat the competition. You need to keep your profit margin healthy after all. But ultimately pricing depends on your product and who your demographic is.

Oftentimes a lower/fair price can make your product more appealing to potential customers. You may look at offering bundled services or products at a reduced cost or, if possible, providing pricing tiers from which customers can choose based on their needs.

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7. LEVERAGE THE POWER OF TESTIMONIALS

More than ever, B2B consumers rely on social proof—reviews, testimonials, etc.—to assess your firm’s credibility and commitment to the customer experience. Leveraging positive reviews and testimonials to your advantage is a powerful way to market your product’s reliability and effectiveness, using firsthand accounts to show that customers are not only using your product, but genuinely enjoying the experience.

In a highly-competitive marketplace, it’s critical to utilize every tool in your arsenal to identify opportunities, set your business apart, and make a powerful and compelling impression on your target audience. Building a business that not only survives but thrives in a saturated environment demands a strong commitment to research, comprehensive market analysis, and a branding approach that breaks through the noise—demonstrating to customers why you are indeed the go-to in your niche.

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Petr Marek is the Founder and CEO at Wikilane Inc, producer of the InvoiceHome.com business invoice generation tool.

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