Recent smartphone statistics paint a stark picture of a commercial technology market that is oversaturated. The industry saw anemic growth—a small 2.1-2.8% increase in worldwide shipments—between 2015 and 2017. Naysayers might be tempted to look at these figures and decry that they portend an overall cooling in the tech industry as a whole.
However, on the other hand, not every market watcher is convinced that hope is lost. There are many techie philosopher kings out there who take the view that, as long as technology has existed, it’s always been a saturated market (consider the personal computing boom of the ‘80s).
Moreover, inveterate optimists will tell you that a saturated market is a good thing, as it shows there is a demand by your target audience for whatever your product or service may be. And even with mass competition, these targets are likely to gravitate to a new product that improves or expands on what has come before it. The key is to find ways to bypass the obstacles inherent in this reality.
Here we’ll look at what your business needs to achieve to stand out in a hyper-competitive tech landscape.
Do research to separate yourself
Sounds simple enough on paper, but standing out in the crowd is a subtle art—especially in the tech space. Maybe you have developed the perfect product—perhaps a fun mobile app with a solid feature set, user-friendly interface, and unhackable security protocols. Yet somehow you’re not scaling; there’s no word-of-mouth buzz.
This is likely due to the uncomfortable reality that there are plenty of ideal products out there—and you’re simply not doing enough to separate your stellar item from the pack.
Like in any commercial enterprise, whether it’s creating a great new tech solution or writing the next great American novel, internal blinders can be the biggest problem. Simply put: if you’re too close to something, you don’t have an unbiased opinion about it.
So while your sales team may be enthusiastic about praising the virtues of your great new solution, whether or not the market perceives it that way is an altogether different story.
So how do you find those great features that separate you from the pack and adequately communicate them to your prospects? By assiduously deconstructing the competition, of course. Perform a comprehensive review of all your competitors; look at their specs, user reviews, webinars and white papers. And do this at least a couple of times a year, marketers in the B2B space often times don’t spend enough time on research, and you can never do too much of it.
Keep in mind that no two companies can be exactly the same; there’s always a difference somewhere, even if you have to dig really deep to find it.
It’s your One True Difference – however small – that will make you stand out and that will keep customers coming back to you rather than your competitor.
So really take the time to think about what makes your tech company different.
- Is your pricing really competitive?
- Do you target a really niche customer group, like top CEOs or cleaning businesses?
- Does your service make one thing super easy for customers that your competitors’ service doesn’t?
When you’ve determined the key difference between your brand and your competitors’ brands, you can hone in on the key benefits you provide customers and use these to fuel your marketing and branding.
As a result, you’ll create a company that’s solid in its messaging, knows who it’s audience is, and will have more longevity in the ever-changing tech world.
Leave no data unturned
To stand out in a saturated market, you’ll need all weapons at your disposal. And these weapons come in the form of quantitative data. Customers want proof that a product delivers, and packaging this proof in the form of an infographic, for example, is effective at spreading the word. After all, stats like, “our product satisfaction rate is 90%,” is catnip to potential buyers.
Savvy brands even go so far as to combine data and testimonials. It’s not enough to have a CMO give a standardized sales pitch about your product’s effectiveness. Hammer the point home by including a glowing client testimonial that details, in their own words, how your process improved their efficiency.
Educate the customer
It’s not enough to point out cool new features but to ensure the potential customer has the tools to use them properly. Maybe you’re offering an intriguing piece of hardware or software that only becomes cumbersome once prospects get their hands on it.
The solution to ease their journey on the purchase path is by educating them about the product features. Interactive tutorials are ideal for this, as are webinars, digital advisors, questionnaires and more. By implementing these solutions you effectively show the customer that you understand his or her needs. In other words, you educate them along the way to making an informed, confident purchase.
If you pull it off effectively you’ll have provided the customer with a positive experience, which will likely be reflected in greater brand loyalty, positive word of mouth and, ultimately, more growth.
Make Yours the Better Experience
These days, customers aren’t just looking to buy and forget. They want more than just the product; they want an experience. This means creating a journey for them that’s better and more convenient than your competitors.
In order to do this well, you have to know what the average experience is for consumers within your market. For example, if you create analytics tools for eCommerce brands, it’s important that you understand the usual way clients use analytics for eCommerce – then you can get innovative and pinpoint the ways those uses can be improved.
Take Shopify, for example.
In the past, small businesses could sell their wares online through a variety of different outlets or create their own websites, but often these methods were time-consuming or meant they missed out on a large cut of the profit.
The Shopify software has made the process of setting up an online shop much more streamlined so small businesses can focus on selling.
Sell a Feeling
Look at any advert on the TV or the internet and you’ll begin to see that they’re not actually selling the product, but are in fact selling a feeling or a dream. Take marketing automation for example. These companies don’t sell marketing automation, they sell more time and increased numbers.
This can be done by sharing your story as a brand. Many tech companies are created because the founder came across a sticking point in their market and wanted to build something to get around that. They wanted to make their lives easier and, in the process, are helping others make their lives easier too.
As a result, clients and customers feel a deeper connection with the brand because it’s more personal; it’s a “we’ve been there too” kind of feeling. And, when you inject your own story, you’re being more human, which in turn attracts more customers.
“Showing personality, treating customers like family, and emphasizing human values will help your company stand out from the crowd and in turn generate more business,” says the CEO of dotloop, Austin Allison.
Put Your Customers First
It can be tempting to solely focus on what your competitors are doing and trying to keep up with them, but these aren’t the people you should be worrying about.
Instead, it should be all about your customers.
B2B software provider Brainshark uses personalization to provide relevant resources and content to its “freemium” users. When the customer is logged in, they are served pop-ups for webinars, courses, and downloads that relate to their specific business with the aim of upgrading them to the premium subscription.
Customers like to feel special and providing personalization within your brand is a great way to do this.
Research by Infosys showed that 31% of surveyed consumers wished their buying experience was far more personalized than it already is, with further reports showing that only 22% of consumers are currently satisfied with the level of personalization they receive from brands.
These low numbers give you the chance to swoop in and provide your customers with what they want – and, by all accounts, that seems to be more personalization.