We all dream of gaining recognition for being leaders in our fields. But, it takes a great deal of work to be worthy of such accolades. There’s no such thing as overnight success. To earn the coveted badge of “thought leader” or “industry influencer,” it takes guts, hard work, a consistent output of value, and tons of patience.
Here are 5 strategies startups can implement to establish themselves as leaders in the marketplace:
1) Find a niche
It’s very hard to become a leader in a vast sea of competition. By staking out a niche in the market, you can become a big fish in a small pond. Startups trying to compete with the big brands on their own turf are bound to get crushed. They will have far greater success if they provide a narrow, specialized product or service. Playing in a smaller ecosystem with less competition makes it easier to stand out and eventually become a leader in the wider market.
2) Be a purple cow
Even in a niche market, there is bound to be competition. Businesses only become leaders by differentiating themselves from others in their respective industries.
In his book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin explains that rolling out a stand-out product is the key to success.
Take Apple and Google for example. Both of these tech giants fit Godin’s Purple Cow model. There were already many computer manufacturers competing with one another when Apple launched the Macintosh in 1984. But, the company focused on design and user experience to a degree that their competitors did not. And when Google launched in 1998, it quickly surpassed other search engines by creating a novel, new approach to ranking search results and providing a user-friendly interface.
Focus on what can set your business apart. What are common pain-points your competitors aren’t addressing? Don’t play it safe. Think of creative ways to solve problems with your product or service.
3) It’s all about execution
Don’t wait for perfection before launching a product. Things will never be perfect. There will always be room for improvement. The most important thing is to get moving and get to the market as soon as possible.
After the product has been brought to market, listen to customer feedback and respond to their wants, needs and concerns. Adjust accordingly and adapt to changes in the market.
4) Satisfy customers
In today’s social media and technology-driven world, the customer is at the center of the universe. Until recently, a frustrated customer had nowhere to vent. And if she sang your praises, only a few people heard about it.
But now, a single tweet, Yelp review, or Facebook status can greatly affect the health of your business.
In fact, a recent study conducted by Cisco systems found that 52% of shoppers rely on online ratings and reviews when researching products and services. Now, more than ever before, a product or service needs to satisfy customers and transform them into brand ambassadors.
If a product does receive a negative review or bad feedback on social media, address the problem and use the commentary as a means to improve. After all, the best marketing in the world can never make up for a flawed product.
5) Get attention through creative marketing
Companies need to deploy creative branding, marketing and advertising strategies to reach consumers and generate awareness in our noisy, content-filled world.
Be ambitious, provide value, and create relationships with prospects that go toward building your long-term brand equity. For maximum effectiveness, take the time to build an engaged community even before you do any selling.
Demonstrate empathy for your prospects and customers by catering to their needs, responding to their queries and complaints, and creating content that gives them real value in the form of inspiration, education, and entertainment. Combine highly targeted ads, enticing value offers, and the occasional ask with your content and you are bound to see great results.
Want to learn more about becoming a thought leader? Download our free eBook, "PR Essentials for Your Tech Company".