We tend to like the calm. We like calm skies for our flights, calm waters when on a ship, and calm weather when traveling. The problem with calm is you always know what to expect. And while it makes it easier to fly, sail, or drive, it’s not necessarily the best thing in all areas of our lives.There is opportunity in turbulence. When industries are calm, it’s hard to get a foothold. The customers aren’t looking for someone new to buy from. There are no new differentiators between products. Things are pretty much status quo. If you are trying to get into the market or gain market share, it’s going to be tough. Why choose you over the industry leader?
When the market is turbulent, you have the opportunity to break from the pack and gain product or service notoriety. Consumers are up for grabs for the company that makes the best move. What should you do when you find yourself in turbulent times? Here are a few suggestions.
Listen to your customer. Really listen. Or, if you are new to the market, listen to other companies’ customers. Understanding what the customer is interested in can reap huge rewards in a turbulent market. Is there something really frustrating customers about the way things have always been done? Are customers asking for a feature that companies aren’t delivering? Put yourself in the consumers’ shoes and look at how your company might position itself.
Find the gap. Is the market gapped? Perhaps the industry has been slow to adopt new technology. Health care insurance companies have been slow to join the “there’s an app for that” movement. How beneficial would it be to have your insurance card, doctor’s information, etc. on your phone? Check out Cigna’s new app. While many banks were offering online banking to their customers, USAA was one of the first to offer mobile deposits. Take a picture of the check, and it’s deposited into your account. One less trip to the bank!
Be the hero. Look for ways to bring something new to your industry that the customers aren’t even aware they need! Apple did this with the iPhone. Who knew we needed to have music, Facebook, our banking information, and our Starbucks card all on our phones? They changed the cell phone market forever. Create a new need in your market by bringing a new perspective to the product or service.
Think of other ways to take advantage of turbulence as well. Whatever you do, watch for the turbulence (or even make waves yourself), and make sure you act on it. Those who were comfortable in the market prior to the turbulence will probably waste a lot of valuable time trying to make things the way they used to be and will give you a head start in becoming the newest front runner.