To compete or NOT to compete? That is the marketing question.


Competition has been traditionally viewed as a zero-sum game.  Yet current market realities, as well as radical developments, are causing marketeers to reconsider this old thinking paradigm.  For marketeers searching for growth, competition should be viewed in a new light – may be even a source for growth. 

Marketing of old

corporate world and war - same basis
old world of marketing

The concept of corporate America has a strong correlation to the concept of war.  It’s evident from structure to jargon (for more on this topic see HBR: Blue Ocean Strategy).  This has served us well in a domestic, less transparent, mass market and TV/radio post WWII world.  Unfortunately, it has had unintended consequences for marketeers:

  • Product focused – either low price (efficiency) or superior product (engineering),
  • Structure – Internally focused, silos, top down, patriarchic,
  • Competitively paranoid – causing “me too” thinking, losing focus of the client or pricing wars,
  • There are many other examples…. (add more to this blog)

 

Yet the customer could care less about all of these fantasy games.  For them, it’s all about the benefits we can bring to them, regardless of how we get there – and yes, even at a premium if we create the appropriate value proposition.

Marketing today

One of the market trends we all face next year is the lack of resources – for our product and our customers.  Yet customers seek more value and the innovators will reap their rewards.  Those who figure out how to do BOTH will generate profits in 2010.

Another major change: global markets have antiquated the “not made here” mentality.  

Additionally: the proliferation of electronic media has made every brand and consumer transparent. 

Thus, the three aforementioned developments are primary drivers of our reality today.  Take the time now to consider your industry changes and innovations.  In doing so, consider part of your offering and value proposition, products or services you might have previously seen as competition. 

As a matter of fact, examine all relevant players in your offerings:

  • Suppliers,
  • Substitutes,
  • Complementors, and
  • Traditional competitors

 

Challenge yourself into thinking of all of these past rivals as potential partners in bringing customer benefits that are differentiated and value added.

5 Reasons Why

  1. Lack of capital- you will not have enough resources to develop what someone might already offer.
  2. Resource allocation – invest only in what makes you u n i q u e, outsource the rest, even to competition.
  3. Brand amplification – leverage someone’s brand to give you instant credibility, recognition and differentiation.
  4. Focus – keep your organization aligned, not chasing different frontiers (see my previous blog).
  5. To better serve your customer!!! 

 

Change your thinking as you go into 2010, you’ll be better for it.

Good marketing!

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