In marketing if someone tells you they don’t have competition – then either there is no market or our person does not know where to play.
In the technology field you may have a window of opportunity of say a few months or maybe a year with your new product, but if you don’t see competition even on the horizon then you could be in the wrong market and that’s the scariest piece for a product management person in the technology field.
Most technology products or services are not born out of a specific need in the market. Most of the times companies keep tinkering and integrating various sub-modules to create a new product which the Product Management people are supposed to take to the market and convince their sales people to sell.
When you compete, a few things happen
- It means that there’s a definable market. You can choose a niche within that market where you may have less competition or where you define the niche. Your positioning improves because someone has already taken one slot in the market.
- It also means that you can aspire to pick up a larger piece of the market at a later date, so its not a FAD which will disappear as it came
- Competition also helps you fine tune your product or service better. Since you see the challenges the competition is facing in providing the same product or service, you can account for it already
- When you fight against a better competition you also hone your skills
I always get scared when I don’t see competition, even if its coming from a technology which is “n-1” from what we have, because then we know that there’s a market for the “n-1” at least. We just need to find enough people who have got disillusioned with it.
On the other hand I always admire how big companies like say P&G, Unilever or IBM etc. like to look at picking up a bigger piece of the market. They have such systematised methods to scale. I get to learn so much when they are in competition or when we join hands with one large company and compete against another large company. Its the best place to see how manager’s react , how decisions get made.
As they say, when you play a game against a better competitor you come out the winner either way – if you win, you win, but even when you lose you learn of the multiple things that you didn’t know off.
So always welcome competition.
Till next time then.