How to Succeed in a Saturated Market

‘There’s an opportunity for everyone out there. You can uncover gaps [in the competitive market].’

Your industry may be tough and highly competitive. This week, we talk about how to succeed in a saturated market. Let’s consider some points that will help you stand out in a saturated market:

– What’s your story? What sets you apart?

– Unique selling point

– Understand your competitors.

– Listen to your customers.

For more successful business ideas, listen to previous episodes.


Roger: Hello, and welcome to Local SEO Today. I’m Roger Murphy.

John: And I’m John Vuong.

Roger: John, thanks for joining. Today, our podcast is reaching and speaking directly to entrepreneurs, business owners, anyone that wants to start a business, or have a business and how to succeed. And what we’re talking about is succeeding in what could be a very saturated or a competitive environment.

John: Yeah, it’s definitely challenging for a lot of business owners to not just get into the market. But what does success really mean, right? To them? So, a saturated market is usually a metropolitan, big urban center. So, we live in Toronto, and it’s probably the capital. It has the most population in all of Canada. So, we understand what we, you know, we see in the marketplace in terms of like, saturation, competition and especially there’s a lot of competition in the retail service, hospitality industries. How do you compete and get ahead in front of your customers?

Roger: Exactly. I think Toronto is…I think we’re right now…We’re either number three or number four in total population…Largest in North America. So, we know that this is a competitive marketplace. But what I find fascinating, John, and again, through the years that I’ve been helping business owners, you know, succeed or get the advertising and the message out so they get new customers, there is opportunity for everyone out there. And what I mean by that is no matter if it’s a saturated market, if you’ve done your homework, you can uncover gaps. You can bring your style, your service. There’s something that you can differentiate yourself, John, with competition.

John: Definitely. I mean, you look at hyper competitive industries like, the restaurant industry, or dentists. I mean, there’s one in every single corner, right? Multiple restaurants that are competing for business. The customers spend for daily dining or takeout, right? So, how do you stand out? What are you doing differently? How do you get into the marketing first place? So, the first thing I want to talk about is like, understanding your story really. Like, you are different, you understand that you came into the business differently than anyone else in the marketplace so let people in on what sets you apart. Like, why did you go into business? What was your journey like? What was your story like? And what do you want out of it? So, I would say talk about that in your brand message. Talk about that in your About Us page, in your brochures and flyers. If you have a storefront like, let people in on why you made this business happen.

Roger: Yep, I like the other term as well of your USP, Unique Selling Proposition. So, if you are a service based business, if you’re a retailer. As you say, John, if you’re a restaurateur, what is it that’s different about you, what is unique? And it could be pricing, it could be quality, it could be faster turnaround time. You need to understand your own…What differentiates you from the marketplace and then let people in on that.

John: Yeah, and there’s so many different segments in USP, right? The value you’re bringing, what is your service differing? Is it color, product size, you know, service level, speed delivery? Don’t just look at price, right? There’s manufacturers, suppliers and supply chain. So many other factors that you have to know your competition. And the first thing I always tell people to do is buy a product or service from your existing clients, your existing competitors. So, really understand what they’re doing and how they’re going to market, right? And there’s gonna be opportunities there. Once you start collaborating, those five different competitors of your major ones, then you have an idea of how you’re going to set yourself apart and that allows you a go to action market plan to really, you know, make it happen, right?  Because then you know, what’s going on in the marketplace, and how you’re going to be unique. And, you know, maybe it is a segment, a small niche, it’s maybe a small community that you’re after. And that’s okay, start small and then go expand afterwards.

Roger: And, you know, we have spent so much of our careers, John, you know, in the direct response, you know, ready to buy, I need something. So, they’re searching the directories, whether it’s the Yellow Pages. Now, of course, it’s Google. But our clientele that we really have worked with for so many years, which is the service-based businesses…Those service-based guys and gals. Typically, what they do is they work for somebody else. They see gaps, and that’s where the smart players…They see, “Huh, look how much…Look how long it takes for this, you know, my current employer…Look how long it takes them to return a phone call or look they don’t really want to serve that area because it’s too far away, or their pricing, or they don’t carry enough parts on their trucks and we’re always running back and forth, to our suppliers and we’re not efficient with our time.” These are the things that, you know, to your point,  John, of, you know, you mentioned earlier, buying product from your competition right now to learn about them. Even as a service person you’re learning where the gaps are in the current business  and if you can see, you know, what I’m gonna come to market, I’m gonna provide this, this and this, which goes far beyond what’s being offered today. That’s where you start to carve out your segment of that business.

John: Exactly. And it’s all dictated by customers, right? If there’s an opportunity, if there’s a need and you’re adding more value. And maybe it’s a market that those, you know, the old company that you’re working for doesn’t even want to touch because they’re lower tier, right? So, there’s a lot of people in that lower tier that you can serve and do very well and become profitable. And yes, maybe it is your entry point to get into the market and eventually you may want higher ticket product offering by at least it gives you a good foundation to understand how to run a business, how to really stand apart and unique selling property…The messaging, the marketing piece like, getting to market and understand gaps in the marketplace is so critical to sustain your business. And having fun along the way is also something we always talk about but this is what marketing is about. This is what business ownership is about. Pivoting, understanding the gaps, listening to your customers. Going to a big urban center, there’s hyper competition. Everyone’s competing for the same type of customers spend. And what are you doing differently? What is your strategy like? What is your messaging like? Who is your target? Like what is the demographics, your communities or whatever it is. You have to understand. And the more you’re in tune with your business and listening to your customers, the better you’re going to be able to offer your clients with good value and in a product and service that they’ll be wanting to come back to you for.

Roger: Exactly, and that’s really what it comes down to and it’s is not…As you mentioned earlier, John, it’s not all about money. It’s not about price. But it’s…And I’ve always said this, it’s about value, hat are you offering, what are you bringing to that consumer. It’s not that, “This is my price.” But what comes with that price. And I’ll just…If I could, I’ll just say with our business here at Local SEO, you know, on a daily basis, helping our business owners. We bring more to the table than so many more of our competitors. We just do that. That’s just what we want to do. We carved out, we provide more value and that’s what every business owner every…Whether you’re service-based, whether you’re a professional, a dentist, legal, manufacturer. It’s so straightforward to do your homework and see where the gaps are in the marketplace and you fill the gaps and that is the first step in going towards attracting and growing your business. 

John: And yes, USP. But then once you distinguish that the value prop, right?  And what your go  to market is, how do you attract more of it? So, again, running a business is challenging, You gotta always focus on that customer and fulfill, right?  Whatever you’re offering, your product and service. Do what you say you’re going to do and over deliver on that promise. Always be true to yourself, make sure your team is in alignment with all the values that you’re bringing to the table, and make sure that these customers of yours are your ideal type of clients. And that takes time to acknowledge as well because you’re gonna make a lot of mistakes over the years, you’re gonna understand that some of these profiles that you thought you wanted to work with aren’t really the type of clients that you really resonate with. And that takes time for you to acknowledge and pivot because things change, right?  The type of customers…And as you mature in your business, you’ll realize who you want to attract and who you wanna be known as in your industry. 

Roger: And that, of course, comes with time. In the early days, you want everybody. You’ll take any business because that’s the way business is.  But it is true over time you learn what your expertise is, you learn what you’re good at, you learn what you like to do more of. Provide that value, John, and yeah, that’s, you know, that’s how your business will change and evolve based on what you enjoy doing and what’s profitable, and what is getting a good response from your customers out there.

John: And every industry changes. There’s always new technology, there’s more. And understand the landscape of the product and service you’re offering. The technology stack of every single business has transformed every industry, from delivery, the speed to, you know, engagement, the instant response, right? Understand what the expectations are in your customers, and realize that. See if you can adapt to those changes because if you are not equipped to do it, there’s people that you can hire to actually do it for you, right? Understand there’s people that you need to sustain your business. And you can’t do everything yourself. You can’t, you know, magically understand what’s going on in your space. So, I think that’s why like, having a team is so important if you’re running a successful business that’s in alignment with all your processes and understanding what your customers demand and listening and making sure that you’re always in tune with what’s going on.

Roger: Yeah, it’s so true and again, it’s all an evolution but really a saturated market should not scare anyone off. And of course, to the other end of the spectrum, John, it’s business areas that have very little competition. Frankly, there might not be enough business over there. So, that’s why you might go, “I do understand why saturated markets are gonna be better for me.” You, as a business owner, entrepreneur have to just figure out where the gaps are in that marketplace that you feel you can do a good job at filling.

John: Exactly. And like you mentioned, like gaps. Figure it out as a business owner, that’s what you’re in business for, right? Trying to find opportunities, find a need in the marketplace so that you can add value in someone else’s life so that they’re willing to pay for your product and service and now you have a business so…

Roger: So, I’ll just say it’s fascinating that some businesses still today, John, they stop taking phone calls at 4:30 in the afternoon. So, just think about that. In a saturated market, what if you answered your phone a little bit longer? What if you took calls because people shop and they need services at different times? That’s what it’s called, you know, being different in the marketplace. Well, John, these are some great ideas and I know we get sort of passionate about this because this is what we’ve done for so long. But it’s great talking to you and thanks for your ideas.

John: Thanks a lot, Roger. Very insightful as well.

Roger: Thank you and we’ll see everyone again at Local SEO Today.