Digital marketing is the solution managers often arrive at when they’re looking to increase a brand’s market share. Digital marketing isn’t exclusively for online retailers but can also be used to drive customers to brick-and-mortar locations. Attracting enough of those users to a product or location will help a company build on its control of the market segment. Another benefit of digital marketing is that it levels the playing field between large brands and niche brands, thus allowing even small startups to become challenger brands in a crowded segment. To increase market share of a brand, marketing leaders should seek out an underserved, niche consumer demographic, develop brand affinity within that cohort, and continually test new campaigns as new markets open.
Often, the only imaginable solution for those wondering how to increase market share of a brand is to acquire a competitor. This can be an expensive and risky move. A smarter, less expensive solution is to create a new market rather than try to control the old one. Build a brand reputation in a niche category and consumers will be eager to share your brand’s message. Digital can be the ideal space for a brand to carve out larger market share.
Control a Niche to Increase Market Share
When looking to gain market share, begin by going after low-hanging fruit. Sometimes, what would seem an obvious hole in the market isn’t obvious to all competitors, perhaps due to expectations around societal norms. As trends change, markets open and brands can reach new customers. We can see several examples of brands capitalizing on trends that have resulted from recent societal changes:
- Covergirl ushers in the male ambassador: Consider one hole in the cosmetics market that’s slowly being filled: makeup for men. Covergirl anticipated this trend and celebrated it by hiring its first-ever male beauty ambassador, James Charles, in 2016. As men wearing cosmetics goes mainstream, Covergirl has an established relationship with the segment and has established itself as a market leader.
- Campbell pivots to embrace health trends: Health food, long a niche category, has gone mainstream. As more consumers demand organic, less-processed food, established companies are being forced to adjust. Campbell’s took a lead in the traditionally preservative-laden segment soup market and began adding healthier, organic premium soup lines designed to capture health-conscious consumers.
- Red Bull crosses demographics: On the one hand, Red Bull markets itself as an extreme brand for younger consumers by sponsoring high-octane sporting events. On the other, it uses targeted messaging for a more mature crowd by using simple, cartoon advertisements—which often joke about adult problems like being exhausted at work or having problems with kids—to reach an older demographic. Using dual strategies allows the brand to straddle demographics and reach both audiences.
These brands make the most of all available markets—and those with growth potential—even those that may seem niche at present. None of these practices are trends but are rather long-term evolutions within the industries the brands represent. As those changes take shape, new brand ambassadors will emerge.
How to Increase Market Share of a Brand with Ambassadors
A brand ambassador acts as the middleman between brands and consumers, connecting the two by using their clout within social circles. Brand ambassadors don’t have to be celebrities or major online personalities, they just have to have a big social network. As such, they are the archetype of a brand’s ideal customer. Say a skin cream company wants to market to middle-class women over age 40 who are worried about fine lines: brand ambassadors can attract these women. A good ambassador can become a brand’s evangelist who does the heavy lifting of engaging and exciting potential customers without appearing to sell or advertise to them.
Consumers who use shopping apps also make good brand ambassadors, as they’re already involved enough to seek out deals
Sometimes, brand ambassadors are not people but are instead part of an embedded experience. Take, for example, how retail shopping apps have begun incentivizing sales by allowing consumers to interact with a brand and receive rewards. Consumers who use shopping apps also make good brand ambassadors, as they’re already involved enough to seek out deals. This is part of Shopkick’s strategy for helping brands connect with consumers both online and in brick-and-mortar locations.
Regardless of the strategy a brand pursues, the plan should never be static. Brands should be willing to test strategy often to see what resonates with consumers.
To Maximize Consumer Connections, Test the Campaign
When pursuing an aggressive market growth strategy, a brand must be prepared to test, adjust, and retest campaigns for the best results. Brands should monitor data on the effectiveness of campaigns based on:
- Platform: When evaluating the effectiveness of a platform, consider its value on a per capita basis. Rather than assess the platform purely by size, break down the purchase percentage for the platform overall. It’s better to get a 10% conversion rate for 100 hits than a 1% conversion rate for 500.
- Time of day: Real-time data based on mobile traffic can offer brands a better way to pinpoint peak times when consumers are online and motivated to make a purchase. With mobile data, brands can get extremely specific on timing to ensure that most advertising occurs at the exact right moment.
- Language choice: Language should always be targeted to the audience. In certain situations a casual, relaxed tone works; in others, it might feel too informal. Evaluate what content consumers engage with and share the most to determine what tone resonates with each audience.
- Audience segment: In some cases, like in the examples from Red Bull, Covergirl and Campbell’s, brands might need to address several different audiences and adjust their messaging for each.
By reviewing the messages that gain the most engagement, understanding the times and places they’re most popular, and controlling niche markets, brands can reach a wider audience of consumers. This will help to build brand affinity, which is a key technique for how to increase market share of a brand.
Often, a good way to use all three of these strategies together is to use a shopping app like Shopkick. This allows brands to connect with an engaged market of shoppers, locate target demographics, and find the data to optimize campaigns. These three steps can help a brand—large or small—understand what markets are underserved but enthusiastic, and help that brand grow market share.
Images courtesy of Joykid