Do you want to launch a new product? This is how to navigate a crowded market

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Except you are creating new markets through rare innovation, you will have to compete for space in an existing one. Competing for space in a fully or partially crowded market is often messy. Strong financial muscle, and an exceptional staying power, is required to succeed in such space – else it could prove extremely challenging.

Differentiation and positioning often provide an entrance into the consumers ‘well-worn’ hearts.

Brand positioning sets your service or product apart. In current deeply competitive markets, to play copy-cat can spell disaster, except the subject is one of those in-store brands in well trafficked stores.

It pays to stay different. But that won’t come natural. It starts with deeper understanding of the market, the focus of each competition, and the various desires of the consumers.

Certainly different consumers value different features as part of their purchasing motivation.

Philip Kotler, a renowned marketing thinker, captured that brand truth. He said, “It is the end of hollow brands without identity”.

He added, “One does not make money by selling products, but brands: That is to say a unique set of values, both tangible and intangible”.

Whatever a product offers differently is what determines the preception consumers develop about it at contact. Contact shapes experience. Experience develops into perception. Perception determines what image consumers derive from the whole product offering.

Meanwhile perception is key to making sound buying choices.

It is important not to be perceived as same with other brands. How do you arrive at that? Simply by taking note of what is missing in competing offerings, you will automatically develop a concept, an idea of what to do to attract a following.

As long as the market for a missing feature is large enough to generate a profit, go ahead and create that feature.

Toyota saves you money. Mercedes gives you class. BMW keeps you safe. Notice the differences. These brands can co-exist in the same market, however saturated. It is up to clientele to make a choice based on preference.

Of course, each brand offers a little of what every one offers. The difference is that one offers a particular feature more than the rest. Each brand therefore strategically communicates that uniqueness as mastery. That is a pull.

Think seriously about that. Here is what you need to do to create a strong and profitable positioning:

  1. Check for gap in the market – Ask what is missing or now offered sufficiently in the market? Is it speed? Affordability? Convenience? Class? Whatever!
  2. Conduct research to ascertain if there are sufficient numbers of people who desire that new attribute – When you have found that gap, size up the market.
  3. Factor the new feature into your product development concept – In your product development document detail the feature and specify which component will carry it. For instance, say ‘a flight booking firm that provide multiple choices at a click’; ‘an outsourcing firm that offers wider exposure’.
  4. Communicate the uniqueness – No one will notice what you do differently if you don’t tell them you did. Communication creates awareness; awareness stimulates trial. If what you said matches what you offer you will attract more patronage and build a client-base through word-of-mouth.
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He aims to enrich the Nigerian small business landscape. Through Hustle24 he connects entrepreneurs with information about new policies, enterprise solutions and opportunities that will aid their 'hustle'. He has written extensively for CobraReview, a product review portal, and served as a lead project manager for MarketingMix where he consulted as PR consultant for MTN Project Fame and Business Next Titan etc.

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