What is a Market Challenger? | Squarebird

What is a Market Challenger?

Breaking the mould in your industry is a challenge. When you’ve got a revolutionary idea, a ground-breaking concept, or a fresh take of something old, letting the world know can be a challenge. If you try it anyway, that could make you a “market challenger”.

At Squarebird, we’ve not always been the leading web design and digital agency in the South West – we had to start by challenging the market norms. In this article we’ll define market challengers; outline their importance, benefits, and associated challenges; and offer first-hand insight.

Whether you’re an old hat or a fresh face, we can help you realise your ideas by growing and evolving your digital presence. Get in touch!


“Market challenging is inevitable in any part of a market lifecycle. There are phases of long peace in it, but upheavals eventually occur.” – Jon Bird, Squarebird Managing Partner


The Definition of a Market Challenger

A “market challenger” can be defined as someone who is doing something that breaks open the status quo in a fashion backed by purpose, reason, and widespread potential.

Often, market challengers are the new players in their industries. They come in with fresh ideas and new ways of thinking. Without an established system or history, they can be more adaptable to changes, leveraging new technology and remaining at the forefront of advances in the field. This lets them crack open the mould.

Market challengers can pick apart industry looks, feels, and identities that have oversaturated themselves in the current market. What results is a new field of play that can provide benefits and freshness to brands and their customers.

In general, market challengers are seen as something that’s investment-backed – a start-up that’s had a small but electric amount of success, which goes on to get investment based on the impact their fresh ideas are projected to bring.

A market challenger can be seen as something national or international, but this isn’t always the case; even a business that’s regional, or perhaps even more locally, can make waves in their industry.

Start challenging your market with a tone of voice that portrays who you are – find out how >

What is the Importance of Market Challengers?

With a different approach to technology and a different attitude in the marketplace, a market challenger provides fresh ideas to what could otherwise be a stagnating industry. They don’t tend to look at things in isolation, instead taking a holistic approach to services as a whole.

This is important for businesses as it means they can continue to grow and develop; it is equally important for customers, whose expectations constantly change over time.

By challenging your market, you can secure your place as a leader in your field while also improving the satisfaction and user experience of your discerning customers.

Can Anyone Challenge the Market?

To some extent, even we are still a market challenger. While we don’t produce new tech, the way we implement it and use it to deliver increased value to our clients is different from the norm.

Even the market’s leading force can challenge it. If you’re setting the precedent, then you’re in the best position to change peoples’ attitudes – even if you helped create the current market in the first place!

Rather than seeing market challenging as a fearsome prospect, it’s best instead to look at the opportunities that can arise from it. Mix-ups in the market are an inevitable part of the market lifestyle – long phases of peace will occur, but eventually the winds will change.

An interesting modern marketplace to look at is the banking sector. For the longest time, there’s been no obligation for banks to balance their tech and services to their customers. In fact, a large part of the customer-base of traditional banks are unable or unwilling to adopt digital technologies.

These banks have built up a trawler net of users that have made it difficult for them to change. On the other hand, new market challengers like Monzo and Starling Bank – feather-light, rapid, and dynamic – are able to appeal to and draw in the most lucrative prospects.

This showcases how market challengers are able to tear their way even into what can be seen as the most established, set-in-stone industries in the world.

The Benefits of Being a Market Challenger

When a business engages with an agency it’s usually because they’re looking to change, stand out, or do something differently. This can be the start of becoming a market challenger making waves in their field.

Our clients often find the process to be both enjoyable and highly valuable, as our position allows us to deliver our digital outputs by utilising the latest technologies and innovative, out-of-the-box processes of method and delivery.

A market challenger agency can align themselves with likeminded clients, creating a symbiotic relationship where the energy and ideas of each help to fuel the evolution and success of the other. Both want to grow, and they can’t do it without the other. This means they need to bring:

  • Inward and outward thought
  • Leadership
  • Authenticity
  • Innovative ideas
  • Cutting-edge solutions

All while being willing to invest time and money, implement these aspects, and change.

As market challengers, we more easily understand the visions and sky-high aspirations of our clients because we’ve been in similar situations; this is seen most keenly in the website lifecycle, where two years is enough time for a website to start looking dated. We know the potential pains and pitfalls, as well as the benefits of having a hot emergent website.

Check out how we operate in an exclusive look at a day in the life of a web design agency >

What are the Challenges of Breaking the Market Mould?

Challenge is in the name. As such, there are a number of hurdles to either leap over or barrel through when you’re looking to become a market challenger.

In the early days, a large part of this is cost. Not just for you, but your clients as well. They won’t want to be spending on an idea that isn’t proven, so keeping costs low at the start can produce explosive results in market share down the line.

Breaking into the market requires efficiently boiling services down to their essentials and developing ways to deliver high value projects at a low cost. This means better results for clients, creating a positive reception of your new ideas and services.

How to Become a Market Challenger

Making the right choices for your new ideas in terms of technology, partners, and commitments isn’t something that’ll happen overnight. Before you can start nurturing your nestling idea, you’ll need to rigorously invest time and energy to vet it as much as possible.

Some key ways to expediate your market challenges are to:

  • Get senior external expertise to inform key decisions
  • Acquire specific expertise in specific technologies
  • Refine your offering

We started with a lot of ideas. And while a lot of them were great, some of them weren’t. Over time we’ve developed our ideas, condensing them into something purer.

This process lets you develop maturity, specialisms, and focus. For us, this started just by doing more case studies in services, industries, and technology that all fed in to narrowing down our offering.

Threats to Avoid as a Market Challenger

A huge threat to the impact of market challengers is getting acquired too early in their potential. You see it a lot in older industries that want to get rid of a competitor, particularly with product-based businesses. This can lead to getting ripped off, or ideas falling apart before they’re given a chance to develop.

Another part of this threat is the accessibility of worldwide cheap production. This might seem like an attractive prospect, but lower prices often mean lower quality – which can lead to your innovations not getting the proper credit they deserve.

Is AI a threat? Find out in our article on using AI tools in marketing >

What’s the Result of Being a Market Challenger?

Even when your challenging concept is brought to fruition, this doesn’t mean the end. We haven’t stopped challenging, innovating, or refining our offering yet, and neither would you have to.

Market challengers can continue to disrupt the market once they’ve broken into it, but at a much higher level, with more authority behind their decisions – building upon the relationships you’ve grown and developed through your rise and continuing to innovate in every aspect of your field.

Challenge Your Market with Squarebird

By becoming a market challenger, you can drastically improve your position in your industry while also producing benefits to your business and customers alike. Change is inevitable, so make sure you’re the one leading the flock.

Begin challenging the market with web design, marketing, and SEO from Squarebird. Contact us to find out more about how you can benefit from our full-stack services or read on with some articles below!

Challenging your market can start by changing your look – find out whether you need a redesign, rebuild, or reskin >

Zap over to our article where we go over the complete website development process >

Get a free consultation call with our team.