As a business owner, especially when you’re starting out with a new venture, there’s little you can do that’s more important than understanding your place in the market. This is not to say that you should know your place and not exceed it! Rather, understanding where you fit into the market means you know where you excel, where you’re offering something unique to customers, and where the space is between you and competition to make yourself heard clearly.
Today we’re going to take a look at how you can achieve that.
Looking at Your Customers
The first thing you need to do is look at your customers. For all the work you do to build a brand, from coming up with a voice for your business to be used across all your advertisements and communications, selecting a colour scheme and designing a logo, even tailoring a price point to communicate whether you stand for value or luxury, the final effect is put together by your customers in the privacy of their own thoughts. If you want to understand what your brand is, you have to go to them and let them tell you.
That’s one of the reasons market research is so important. Specialists in the field can interview a broad range of customers (from loyal, locked in shoppers to those who’ve chosen never to spend their money with you. Both valuable perspectives), conduct listening exercises on social media and interpret the resulting data into insights you can apply to your business to boost your success. They can tell you what customers think of you – what they see that uniquely draws them in, so you can lean into those qualities with confidence.
Looking at the Competition
The other key part of your market is the other businesses that make it up. Competitor Benchmarking is a process that identifies and ranks your closest competitors in the market for various relevant values. This is a vital exercise that helps you understand where you fit into the market – are you a titan with resources that outmatch most of the competition, or are you a much smaller player, relying on commanding loyalty from a small audience and offering something unique and bespoke?
This kind of research can also help identify likely future competitor movements: launch windows for new products or sales, price changes and more. The more you know about the competition, the more you can carve out a unique niche for yourself in the local market and give your customers something to latch onto over and above the alternatives.