How to Be a Market Maker

How to Be a Market Maker

The best way to totally dominate a market is to create the market that you want to dominate. You don't want to compete in it, you want to dominate it. Else what's the point of building a business in this capitalistic world? There is no middle ground, and mediocrity is unacceptable.

As the blog name goes, you need to be the winner, who can take it all.

But the very idea of wanting to dominate the market conjures up ideas of beating your competitors and stealing the market share from them. That's scarcity thinking. People think that there is a limited opportunity out there, and all of them are taken by the competition.

While stealing customers from competitors cannot be ignored, it comes as a side effect of being the market maker. Without being the market maker, you cannot just put focus on sales to steal the customers, because, in such a world, another competitor can steal it back from you.

What does it mean to be a market maker?

In every market, there are hungry customers, who are limited in quantity. These customers are valuable, cannot be ignored, and is important for the business. But most businesses, only compete for the share of the market that is hungry to buy.

That's why Google ads are much pricier per click than Facebook ads. People search for what they want proactively on Google. But the hungry customers only make for 20% of your potential customers. (And your competition thinks that the 20% is the 100%.)

80% of the potential customers are yet to be convinced that they need your product or service, and no one is putting effort into educating them and convincing them. This 80/20 is sometimes 90/10 or 99/1.

Your real competition is buyer inaction.

We sell digital marketing courses at LearnToday and we always say, our competition is not the other ed-techs who sell similar products. Our real competition is people deciding not to enroll in a digital marketing course.

When I worked at Razorpay payment gateway startup, we used to say, our competition is not other payment gateways, our competition is people choosing to use cash instead of digital payments.

In India, PayTM, Google Pay, and Razorpay have had an impact on people's behavior and they created the online payments market.

If Razorpay didn't exist, Razorpay's market share wouldn't have been captured by one of the competitors. Instead, the market size would be smaller. That's what it means to be a market maker.

We have estimated that in our business, around 65% of our customers wouldn't have enrolled in any digital marketing course if they didn't choose to enroll in our course.

That's because we are not trying to convince people who want to learn digital marketing, to learn it from us, instead, we are trying to convince people to learn digital marketing. There is a huge difference between the two.

Our products and our marketing is aligned towards convincing people to want to learn digital marketing. We are scratching the itch, not selling the calamine lotion.

We temporarily lose money at the top of the funnel because convincing people that they should be learning something alone cannot put money in the bank. But it is a good investment to make because once these customers decide to enroll in a digital marketing course, we would be the obvious and sometimes the only trustworthy option for them to buy from. This needs patience because you need to give a buffer of time for nurturing the leads.

We have a digital marketing training program, but we do not advertise the main product that is for sale. All our competition advertises their products, and they pay through the nose to Google and Facebook to acquire the leads who are ready to buy digital marketing training courses. But instead, we create lead magnets and advertise them.

The lead magnets have useful but incomplete value in them, which makes them wanting for more.

Here are some of the lead magnets we advertise for lead generation:

  • Free Digital Marketing Course with 25 Videos
  • eBook: How to Get Your Dream Digital Marketing Job
  • Free Webinar: Digital Marketing Career Opportunities
  • Digital Marketing Freelancing Opportunities
  • How to Build a Digital Marketing Agency

And more along these lines.

The content in these lead magnets convinces people to take digital marketing seriously. It also subtly upsells our premium course. People with lukewarm interest in digital marketing can never be sold to. We cannot get their money. But we can get their attention to our free content. And the content can convince them to pay money.

We will also put effort into convincing them to consume the free content (through repetition and gamification). They need to consume the content for the content to do its work. The medicine doesn't work if it is not consumed.

If you can convince them to pay attention, you can convince them to pay money. So put efforts into attracting attention and the leverage that attention to influence their actions in a specific direction.

My customers, at some point, might also buy from our competition, who might have products that we don't have. Some of the customers that the competitors get might not even exist in the first place; if not for us.

The competitors might be feeling bad about us having a higher market share but they might not realize that the market wouldn't even exist if not for the competition (us) they dread!

The competition is, always, a blessing in disguise.

In most cases, multiple top players in the market end up creating and expanding the market size.

For example, the number of online transactions enjoyed by mentors, e-commerce stores, ed-techs, streaming video services, and D2C brands might not exist if not for Flipkart bringing the wonders of online commerce to India and convincing a huge number of hesitant people to slowly move from COD to online payments.

If you want to dominate the market, forget trying to deviate people from your competition to you and start focusing on convincing people why they might need what you are selling.

Once you start looking at the idea of business growth and market dominance from this angle, your marketing strategy will change.

Create content and market that content. That's the true meaning of content marketing. A lot of people think of content marketing as a free traffic source through organic channels, it is not.

Content marketing's primary goal is to warm up potential leads. We could call it content+marketing rather than content marketing to distinguish the approach.

Let the content convert the cold leads into warm leads. When it is time to buy, you will be the only option for them. They wouldn't bother to look for options because you have already built the trust with content.

CATT: Content, Attention, Trust, Transaction.

You will help yourself and also end up helping your competition. Let the competition also grow the market size which would somehow come back to you.

🍻 to the market makers of India.

We are where we are today because of the visionaries who have made the market.

- Deepak