Top tips for competing in a crowded digital marketplace

When you want to stand out among a crowd, is your first instinct to shout the loudest? Well, you’re wrong.

If you really want to compete for people’s attention you have to do something different, explain why you’re business is great, or pay for it. Below I’ve shown you exactly what you need to do to give your business the attention it deserves and stand out in the crowded digital marketplace.

crowded digital marketplace

Embrace and celebrate your niche – build out from it, not into it

Everybody loves a people pleaser, right? They’re always available to help, never put you down, and are great to be around. Thing is, people like this can come off as insincere, directionless, and forgettable. If you want to stand out in a crowded digital marketplace, your business can’t try and please everyone – it has to celebrate what makes it unique, and that means focusing on your niche.

Wendy’s is a great example of a brand that stands out because it celebrates its niche. Wendy’s sells great hamburgers, and chicken wraps across the US – great, so does McDonald’s, and Burger King. Wendy’s stands out with a spiky, witty, and relentless tone on its social media accounts, with its roasts becoming one a highlight of Twitter:

Wendy’s stands out by owning its niche as the fast food provider with personality, making it the outsider choice for burgers. While your business may not be as daring as Wendy’s, my tip is that you should be as brave by shouting loud and proud about your niche.

Pay for the attention – we all pay for it in some way

Have you seen Netflix’s Fyre? If your answer is no I can’t recommend it highly enough. If it’s a yes then you know have brutally brilliant it is. Fyre gives many lessons on how not to stand out (mostly by not delivering on your promises), but it does offer a great tip on how to get attention quickly and effectively – pay for it. Fyre festival announced itself by getting some of the top influencers (including Emily Ratajkowski) to talk about it. You might not have Emily Ratajkowski on speed dial, but you can still buy recognition for your company. How? With PPC.

Mad Men’s Don Draper once said: “people want to be told what to do so badly that they’ll listen to anyone.” PPC is a way of being the business that tells people what they want to hear. PPC stands for Paid Per Click. It’s a form of advertising that pushes your business to the top of the queue in searches, so that your target audience sees your company before any others. PPC targets the right people at the right times, and has an excellent ROI – you typically make £2 for every £1 you spend.

Google Ads is the most popular platform for PPC, but if you want to stand out you must utilize as many channels as possible – Bing Ads allows you to reach 63 million users that aren’t on Google, while Facebook,Twitter, and Facebook offer paid social that gives you access to billions of people. While you shouldn’t just throw money at getting attention, my tip is to invest in paid advertising that puts your business in front of the right people – just make sure you deliver on your promises!

Go analog – sidestep the digital crowd with direct marketing

Vintage is massive for the millennial generation – vinyl music sales overtook digital downloads a while ago, and second-hand clothing stores are as popular as ever. In the digital marketplace, there’s a lot of noise in content, social, and influencer marketing, but one format has been making a comeback recently – direct marketing. Direct marketing brings the personal touch that digital can lack and if it’s done right you can also compete in the digital realm. Don’t believe me? UK food brand Greggs has already shown it’s possible.

In 2019, Greggs launched its new vegan sausage roll by sending a sample out to people in the press. Each sausage roll was packed in an iPhone like box (inside the box marketing), making a cheeky nod to the world’s largest business. Twitter troll and media figure, Piers Morgan was sent a Greggs vegan sausage roll and tweeted  “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns.” But do you know what? Greggs was laughing all the way to the bank, as its share price jumped to a record £17.

There are so many ways you can cut and paste (pun intended) this idea from Greggs – it just depends on your industry niche. The important point, though, and my top tip (from this article) to you is that you use direct marketing to stand out from the crowded digital marketplace, by sidestepping it and getting your industry’s press to talk about your brand.

Digital has never been more crowded, with millions of brands competing in the same spaces and for the same people. Fighting fire with fire is great for companies with limitless funds, but the rest need to think smart. Celebrating your niche, paying for advertising, and using direct marketing are not only smart ways of competing – they’re proven methods for standing out in a crowded market place. So give them a try!