Making an entrance in a commoditised market


Date: 24 March 2021

A man unpacks a box of commodity products

Trying to break into any market can feel like arriving late at a party and having everyone look your way for the wrong reasons. After all, there's apparently no such thing as an original idea meaning. So, no matter where or how you're trying to make your mark, you're likely to step on someone else's toes.

When trying to break into a commoditised market in particular, you're very much muscling in on a crowded marketplace. In some ways, this is good news as it allows you to slip in largely unnoticed but, while you might not want the scrutiny of industry frontrunners, you most definitely want potential customers to see that you've landed.

The trouble is, as anyone who's been to a noisy music concert will tell you, shouting loud won't get you heard over the music. Instead, you need to find new ways to get yourself noticed. The question is, how exactly can you do that when you're building a business in a market that's already brimming with talent?

# 1 - Make market research a priority

Effectively, commoditisation happens when industry standards are so high customers don't need to worry about service but focus on price points instead. In some ways, this is the key reason why your market of choice is so tempting. But, as the new kid, you can't just slip right into the market.

Rather, you need to fight that bit harder to prove why you deserve a place against competitors who have been doing this for a whole lot longer. And, in large part, prioritising market research is the best way to do that.

After all, overcoming commoditisation isn't possible, but you can differentiate the services you provide to come out on top regardless. And, knowing precisely what your clients want is the best way to do that.

As well as allowing you to offer tailored services at the lowest price (which can help against commoditisation anyway), this ensures that you hit the ground running and can make sure that your marketing and offerings, are seen by the right people. 

# 2 - Understand what your competitors are, and aren't doing

Since social media and web presence became business prerequisites, keeping one eye on our competitor's inner workings has been standard practice. However, scoping out your competitors becomes more important when there's commoditisation at play, though perhaps in different ways.

Instead of simply matching or even swooping in first on marketing measures or offerings that your competitors are considering, you need to understand what they're doing now and in the near future, and steer well clear. After all, even if you're 'the first' to implement something, commoditisation still means that they could steal the floor with a cheaper price point.

So, once you know what your competitors are doing (aka what you shouldn't do,) you'll be able to determine what they're not doing (aka what you should do). It may be, for instance, that there are potential product developments on the table. Or perhaps you can simply swoop in with a customer-first focus. It doesn't matter what you decide to do, so long as you're doing something that no one else is doing, and that you're doing it well.

# 3 - Work on proving value from day one

Entering a commoditised market may make undeniable sense in some ways. However, it does mean you will need to work even harder to prove your place, and gain traction over competitors who will have more experience. They're also likely to come recommended by a variety of trusted sources.

Luckily, entering the market in the right way means you should be able to prove your value from day one. Specifically, you want to focus on creating trustworthy recommendations. There's a whole host of ways to do that, including working with influencers or developing content campaigns. As can be seen in this blog on backlinks, sharable content can be especially valuable for generating an enviable reputation, and fast. Certainly, the ability to rank higher in search results will see clients coming your way no matter what, leaving you free to swoop in with those competitive differences.

And, of course, providing perfected, intuitive services from the off, and making sure to follow up with review requests, can soon see you building a real-story reputation that cements your standing, and even sets you apart.

# 4 - Set reliable KPIs moving forward

Like any business trend, commoditisation moves with the times, and it would be naive to assume that you can enter in style and leave it at that.

You will also need to take significant steps right now to ensure your ongoing differentiation, with a focus on upselling and cross-selling to your first few customers. This, alone, should prevent the gaps that could see further commoditisation seeping in.

In large part, this means focusing on KPIs (key performance indicators) that prove what's working, and where your services, and your clients, could still benefit from further attention. This focus on outcomes, tailored alongside the insights and analysis gathered as part of your initial business planning, can ensure that you make an entrance and are 'the life of every party' from here on out.


Commoditisation might be the mark of a successful industry, but it most certainly puts the cat amongst the pigeons where your initial breakthrough is concerned. Luckily, a little forethought and a careful approach could actually put you in an even better position to build a reliable business base by ensuring you think about your competition and market before you even hit the ground. Don't get us wrong, it won't be easy. But, if you tackle these key pointers from the start, success should land rather nicely in your lap.

Copyright 2021. Article made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler.

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