Every new startup seems to have discovered a brand new way of offering a service or developing a product like never seen before. However, as we’re all fully aware that isn’t the case.

Look at how we describe Tech Collective – it isn’t a new concept and we’re not that much different from INC, Fast Company or other great technology publication. We just keep our focus on the region and take a slightly different approach to how we develop content. So how do we stand out in such a crowded market?

We decided to differentiate ourselves from other publications rather trying to be completely different. Rather than offer something new, we offered them something valuable in the context of technology and startup content.

We’ll break it down further for you here in a more general sense.

How to scale communication as you grow your company

Improve the user experience

This is commonly attempted, though rarely successful in entering a market. Simply put, this is taking something that you’ve already used and making it noticeably better or easier to do so that your product or service stands out.

Large companies like Apple have done this with the iPod – music players weren’t invented by Apple – and iPhones – remember the Palm?

silver iPhone X

In a local context, look at what Grab did if we can ignore their rather blatant copy of EasyTaxi and Uber. They entered an established, but rather poorly run industry – taxis – and made it their own with better service standards, GPS tracking, easy-to-use mobile services and a complete lack of market foresight by the taxi companies in the region.

Price yourself differently

Let’s play this one carefully folks. A price war leads everyone down a path of lower margins and often can disrupt an industry negatively, but can be an effective way to gain significant market share in a crowded industry.

Every single new service to launch in the transport, food delivery or similar space has gone down the route of cheaper options at the start. Think Deliveroo vs FoodPanda for food delivery.

Pricing is a quick and easy way to break into a market but may have long-term ramifications that even includes creating consumer segments that become very price sensitive in the long term.

There continues to be market disruption across the region

Personalisation versus mass market

This is a great way for startups to compete in a space led by the big brands. Often larger brands focus on quantity, brand recognition, and distribution to dominate a space, which often leaves consumers with a limited choice in terms of customisation and personalisation of their services or products.

Being able to customise the customer’s experience or personalise their product is a fun, but challenging way to differentiate yourself. It can mean higher prices, but developing a niche in a crowded market. Think customised tailoring versus buying a suit off the shelf.

man wearing beige coat

Some of these strategies are not applicable across all industries in the region. Also, Southeast Asia doesn’t work like most of the rest of the world, where big companies just let small players enter the market.

However, the bottom line here is that creating a unique differentiator helps your business get noticed and this, in itself, is one of the most effective ways to penetrate a crowded market.