Insights from BCC Research

How to Use Market Research to Distinguish Yourself in a Saturated Market

Posted by Bonnie Randell on Jun 29, 2016 6:00:00 AM

Most companies dream of tapping into a fresh, profitable market that is bursting with eager customers with payment in hand. However, the opposite is a much more frequent reality: many companies compete within saturated markets filled with competitors, and some of those competitors may have solid products and glossy reputations. So what are you to do when you are in the middle of, or about to join, such a crowded space? How do you distinguish yourself in saturated market?

Market saturation occurs when there are many competitors in a space and consumer demand is slowing due to the ready availability of the service or product. Sounds like a drag, right? Maybe you should abandon your current plan and scratch your new idea? Not at all! Saturated markets can actually be a great sign of a robust market with lots of potential. Competitors are doing business in the space because they all see a consumer need and think they can fill it and make a profit. If no one ever entered a saturated market, not a single new restaurant would open this year! Surely most people live within a few miles of several restaurant options… but the question is not “Does a customer have access to a restaurant?”, but “Does the customer like the restaurants in their neighborhood and what would drive them to visit a new restaurant?” Likewise, your goal will be to find your niche to win customers and gain market share, and market research is the first step to discovering what that could be. 

GET THE BEST POSSIBLE DATA

There are times when it is okay to look at broad market information and make some assumptions about the growth of an industry. And if you do a quick google search, I’m sure you will find lots of young companies offering inexpensive market data, which may be appealing to a small budget. However, when you are playing in a saturated market, every data point counts, and an experienced analyst can provide invaluable insight into what it all means for your company. If you want to succeed in a saturated market, you will need world-class, up-to-date data from a trusted market research firm.

UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET

Have you looked at your overall industry trends lately? Now is a great time to check in with the general market and get a fresh perspective on any major trends. Look for any changes in customers, competitors, or distribution channels to see how the sea bed is changing.

CHECK OUT YOUR COMPETITOTRS

Who are your competitors and what are they doing? If you’re a smaller business than your competitors, you will need to pay extra attention to what they are offering customers. You may not be able to match their advertising budget or their ability to provide customers with benefits and bonuses, but you may be able to find out what they’re unable to do because of their size or complexity. You may be able to react faster to the changing needs of your customers, and capitalize on that agility before the big players can make the necessary shift. If you’re able to capture the crest of a rising wave of niche demand, you can often retain those first customers and generate great word-of-mouth with consistent quality and service. If you’re the big player in the space and want to stay that way, you’ll still need to stay abreast of any rising companies. Understanding the factors propelling their growth (great customer service, generous return policies and so on) will help you to fill any gaps in your own model and ensure that you keep and take back as much share as possible.

FIND YOUR NICHE

Access to in-depth market intelligence can allow you to identify the best assets of your company or product in comparison to your competitors, and advertise accordingly, or plot out a new strategic position by reinventing your business model. For example, if everyone in the market is doing business the same stale way… “the way it’s always been done”, consider giving consumers a fresh choice that puts them more in control, or making it easier or faster to obtain your service. A novelty factor can often drive customers to try your product or service instead of their usual brand. Or, if your company has unimpeachable standards that your competitors just aren’t able to match consistently, you could look into promoting increased industry standards. It’s ultimately great for customers, and it would bring attention to your company’s superior record. There are many ways to carve out a niche, but what will work for your company, industry and environment will be easier to discern when you have high quality data and experienced analysis in hand.

Doing business in a saturated market means you will have to work a little smarter and a little harder to show customers why your service or product meets their needs better than the alternatives. Detailed market data and world-class analysis from a trusted market research firm will give you the best opportunity to draw a distinct line between you and your competitors, and ensure that you are strategically positioned to gain market share within your crowded space.