How to Successfully Pivot in a Saturated Market
Building a product, in general, is a scary thought. But creating something successful within a saturated market? Not that’s even more frightening.
It takes much willpower, confidence, and inner strength to be able to proclaim to strangers that your product will help. One of the most critical aspects an entrepreneur can focus on when wanting to merge forward through the muddy paths is to continue focusing on their who and why they want to be helping.
Entrepreneurs below share how finding consumers who can help spread a trustful word will help you successfully pivot when navigating through the saturated market.
Utilize word of mouth.
It’s an uphill battle once deciding to create a product in a saturated market, and you want to find out the best way to make your product stand out from your competition. While the common expression is there is plenty of room in the race, most consumers tend to be more accepting toward the products that they’ve heard and seen the most about.
Leon Elias Wu, a trans man and founder of Sharpe Suiting, believes that for business, word of mouth pairing with experiential marketing is the most robust means of promotion. “Clients refer new clients based on the level of service and experience they have in the process of creating a Sharpe suit, and thus, it’s much more about the service and the way the client feels after their experience than just the suit,” he said.
Being creative and unique in how you showcase your business helps grab people’s attention, thereby standing out from other products within your category. Lloyd Varnado, CEO of Tees2UrDoor, believes that anyone can look online or in-store and see look similar products. He urges future consumers to “be unique and create items that are cutting-edge or trending up.”
Find different ways to market and reach your target audience to set yourself apart and get consumers talking about your brand.
Find a community you trust.
Within saturated markets, entrepreneurs want to find the community they can reach and inspire with the most fortitude. They want to run a niche audience and figure out how they can connect with that community.
Preety Kumar, CEO and co-founder of Deque, believes that her product helps connect with the disability community. Kumar started Deque to make the web inclusive to everyone by making standards easy for developers to follow without slowing them down. For her, seeing the impact that digital accessibility barriers have on people with disabilities is enraging and offensive. As she was feeling the frustration, she believed that others who had disabilities were feeling it too.
By launching Deque, Kumar trusted that her users would connect with the offering and teach her issues with evolving, as well. “With accessibility, this is true of people with disabilities, the ultimate end-users as well as developers, the users of Deque’s products,” she said. “We trusted the world with what competition was considering to be proprietary rules, all yielding different results and being trusted by no one.”
Wu has also found that same trust in the community by being open and transparent about his story. He knew exactly what his target audience was looking for when he created his company. Queer fashion wasn’t tapped back in 2014, and he was determined to radically shift the world of fashion into a more inclusive space for clients within the LGBTQ+ community.
Sharpe Suiting saw a need to provide quality luxury fashion to traditionally marginalized communities – those that identify as women, masculine of center and butch lesbians/women, transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary.
[Related: Intention: It Will Make You Think AND Act!]
Focus on your vision.
There’s a reason why you’re looking to make your mark within your business. As an entrepreneur, you have an idea that you want to capitalize on and think people will need, even if you’re working within a saturated market.
Kumar focused on what she set out to do and kept focusing on the endgame, even though she was competing against many big tech software companies. “I was always focused on my mission of service, asking: How can I serve this underserved group of people?” The mission needs to drive your thoughts and actions, because the money comes and goes, but your mission is your primary purpose. For Kumar, “one-size-fits-all” wasn’t realistic when building accessible user experiences and not practical when building software to solve a problem.
Make sure to be branding your brand when you are creating your line. Varnado believes entrepreneurs must think forward, spending as much time as necessary to create a logo, style, and brand that is timeless. Take the time to trademark and copyright this to protect yourself. Include this brand in everything you advertise or release.
One of the benefits of creating a new product in a saturated market is that if you can find a way to differentiate the product and make it work, you can achieve scale quickly if the product is commonly used. A good example of this is socks, something that Justin Aquilla learned in the production of his alpaca-wool socks, Pacas.
“If you can make a great sock that customers love, they will keep coming back multiple times a year because they will always need them. Saturated markets are such because the products are in high demand, so if you can stick out, you can scale quickly,” said Aquila.
But he also believes you shouldn’t be afraid to follow: “While you are aspiring to develop something market changing, don’t be afraid to imitate some great things that are working for companies in the space to get to your final market-changing product,” said Aquila. “ If you love the way a certain company merchandises its product, don’t be afraid to do something similar...Creating a market redefining a product or service doesn’t necessarily mean you have to reinvent the wheel on everything.”
Olivia Liveng (nee Balsinger) is an experienced storytelling coach, brand strategist, entertainment producer, and Liveng Public Relations CEO, an agency amplifying hospitality, tourism, and female voices. She's also an award-winning travel journalist, with bylines in Fodors, Forbes, New York Post, and Business Insider, and LA Style. Find her on Instagram at @livliveng.
Carly Orris is a freelance writer and publicist based in New York. Her writing focuses on female empowerment, travel, entertainment, and lifestyle. Find her on Instagram at @carlyorris.
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