I always chuckle when people tell me their market is “really crowded” and for that reason, they’re a special case when it comes to marketing or business development.
What market is not really crowded in the 21st century?
I mean, we now have competing toilet sprays to keep people from knowing you’re going #2 while you’re at your significant other’s house.
A crowded market often means more opportunity, not less opportunity.
First, if a market is crowded it means that there is plenty of demand. There are loads of people who want to buy.
Second, if a market is crowded there are lots of straightforward, non-ninja ways to figure out what needs still aren’t being met.
And it’s this second piece of the puzzle that I want to focus on today.
You can develop a product in a crowded market and become a key player…
…if you focus on what’s “broken” about the other solutions on the market for the people you care about most.
Take Emily McDowell’s blockbuster success.
Emily noticed that, despite Valentine’s Day being a multi-billion dollar industry, none of the greeting cards she could find matched the relationships that she and her friends were really in.
Those greeting cards were “broken” for people like Emily (and probably for people like you, too).
Make a greeting card that was laser-focused on that kind of relationship.
1500 orders in 1 week with zero marketing on her part…
…and the idea was proven.
I did the same thing when I realized the way people consumed online courses about small business was broken. Business owners would jump from course to course, answering questions they didn’t really need to answer, but rarely taking real action and never filling in the gaps between courses with real support.
My answer? You don’t need more courses, you need more opportunities to get answers to the questions you have about growing your business any time of day or day of week. That’s why I created CoCommercial, the small business brain trust, where you can have honest conversations about what’s really working with people who have been there, done that, and are still doing it every day.
I “fixed” the problem with online business courses by creating a platform for entrepreneurs to help each other.
Last week, I talked with both Joanna Wiebe and Nathalie Lussier who have both launched software products in crowded spaces and they echoed the same strategy:
Find out what’s broken for the specific people you care about and fix it.
Joanna realized that, despite Google Docs and Evernote being incredible tools for writing or collaboration, they lacked features that would make creating marketing content much, much easier for teams. She created Airstory to fix the problem–and people are thrilled.
Nathalie realized that the software business owners were using didn’t match up with the goals they had for their businesses. They were cobbling together solutions built for other industries and with different kinds of entrepreneurs in mind. Nathalie didn’t try to create something no one had seen before–she simply created solutions that worked for the business owners she was connected with on a daily basis–and AmbitionAlly was born.
Don’t worry that your product is one of many in a crowded market, if it’s designed with for a customer who isn’t satisfied with the existing options–no matter how many there might be–you’ll have a winner on your hands.
Think about your own market:
What do you hear about being “broken?”
What do your customers have to “make work” for them?
What disappoints them about existing options?
The answers to those questions could be the key to your next blockbuster offer.