03/11/2014

BLOG: Mastering Your Market

The chances are you know a lot about your field. Problem is, your competitors probably know a lot about it too and so how are you supposed to become the go-to company?

For me, understanding the market place has been central to enjoying my time as an entrepreneur. It’s also been the cornerstone of any success I’ve had. As a fledgling entrepreneur, it struck that I could make life much easier for myself if I chose a market I knew incredibly well.

I’d lived the student life for a while and understood how that market ticked, so tapping in to it seemed to be a quick way of becoming an authority in my field. At least that was the plan.
Considering you have to live and breathe a start-up business, focusing on a market you enjoy helps to maintain focus even when business gets tough. When I first started brainstorming the direction of my business, I found it pretty helpful to contemplate a couple of questions.

First, I needed to establish whether entering this market would make me any money because if the answer was no – what was the point? The easiest way to find out if there is money there is to check if there is already a competitor. It’s a bit of a cliché, but if you think you have no competition, unless you’re a genius, it’s nearly always because there is no money in what you are getting into.

I then had to be honest about how excited I was about the market. If you’re going to be doing this every day for the next god knows how long, you want to be passionate about your market, otherwise how will you have the drive to beat your competitors? Being passionate goes a long way towards helping you innovate in that market.

The next stage was to ask myself whether I could still relate to that market. If I couldn’t even relate to the audience, then communicating with them would have been tricky, and appealing to them near impossible. This is especially true in the age of social media as how will you make them ‘lol’ and like your brand if you can’t post up the perfect .jpg? Brands come to our company because we’re youth orientated and that helps us relate to our audience as well as building trust – the foundations of a solid business.

So having identified the youth market as my potential field of excellence, I quickly realised I didn’t have any experience. Despite my mammoth ambition I was, in fact, a fresh-faced, 22-year-old just out of university and struggling to gain credibility with multinational clients.

Trust me, it was an uphill challenge, but I learnt a few tricks to prove to the world just how much I knew. The first was to track changes in my audience’s habits and be the first to new trends. We researched trends among 18-21 year olds and then produced a report to pinpoint mistakes that companies made when trying to reach students. We utilised this to highlight how we could tap into market better than anyone else, and guess what? Clients were interested.

We then began to publish research to blogs or guest-post on sites to help Take Note reach the top of relevant Google searches. Guest posting within a credible channel also helped us to demonstrate our knowledge of the market and gain a bit of a voice.

From there we looked to build a personal profile around our market, in order to become an opinion maker. Speaking at events and entering competitions has been a great platform for getting noticed and made us lots of connections, some of which have become new business.

Having patience has become my final lesson. Despite planting the seeds for success through research, case studies and reports, the hardest thing is that there is a sizeable amount of time between doing that and people actually recognizing you as a go-to company in your market.
But it’s been exciting.

We’re really making headway and becoming known as a leader in what we do. Of course, now we’ve started to nail it, I’m beginning to wonder what else I might know and how can I do it all over again in a new market.


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