April 8, 2015

The real competitors


New markets don’t work the same way as old markets.

In established markets, products go head-to-head in three fields of combat: price, features and positioning. Competition is clear and the rules of engagement clean(ish).

Start-ups and innovators taking new products to new markets rarely have like-for-like competitors. Instead, their battles are against ignorance, ambivalence and trust.

Ignorance – customers don’t know who you are or that your product exists. Don’t wait for word of mouth, give it a helping helping hand. Socialise, speak, market, meet, sell.

Ambivalence – even when they know you, they probably don’t care. Companies run out of cash trying to convince customers to listen. Don’t waste your time. Try to find people who already know they have a problem and care about it enough that they’re actively trying to solve it but are unsatisfied with their current way of doing things.

Trust – everyone suffers trust issues. How can you convince them you’re a safe bet with their money, time and attention? What can you put on the table? Recommendations, evidence, financials, credentials. Show them the whites of your eyes.

Spend your resources breaking down barriers, go where customers need you, and fight the battles that matter.

Skippy Strategy: What’s your biggest blocker: competitors, or ignorance, ambivalence and trust? What’s your plan?

Making Promises