I had written 2 posts on this topic in March this year. I got a lot of likes for those posts.
For all those of you who are in marketing and sales, you can look at competition in a slightly negative way because they they take your deals away or they feed all the negative news about your company and you.
The first aspect that you need to be clear about is who is your direct competition and who is your indirect competition. For a computer seller who is selling a spreadsheet program in the market – Microsoft and Google resellers could be competition directly. But a paper register and a calculator can be an indirect competition. Depending on the size of the transactions that are done, a paper register can be used to note the transactions and a calculator can be used to do the addition, multiplication etc.
So why is this important. You need to see from a customer perspective – what is the outcome you get for the customer. What are the various ways that a customer can achieve the same outcome using your competition.
So taking the example above you know that you cannot provide value to a customer who can achieve his transactions on a paper register. So that segment of the market gets eliminated.
Now lets look at the other end of your competition which is direct. For example purposes we said its Microsoft and Google. So if you are in marketing , product management or sales, your first agenda will need to be to identify the specs on how your product performs on non-Microsoft platforms. Put another way, you would like to enhance the qualities of the product on non-Microsoft platforms.
Which makes your target market segment that much more well defined.
Its always better to dominate a small segment of the market than to be a nobody in a very large market.
Whenever you are entering a market, I have always maintained, you have to start with only a well defined Single Target Market only. Only after you dominate that, should you look to expand.
Till next time then…..keep looking out for competition from all directions.