with Pete Hayes
Why is it important for brands to not use a “follow the leader” strategy?
Some companies may actually find that a “fast-follower” strategy is ideal. Let someone else create the market, and then come behind with a similar value proposition, but perhaps with some important extras. Lower price. Higher quality. Unique features. Or an offering that’s easier to acquire or deploy.
Is owning a market too romantic of an approach?
In some senses, yes. Serving a need that no one else is addressing can be quite difficult or expensive when you’re going for market awareness and momentum. Of course, when you can shape and own a market, you’re the centerpiece, the standard from which your followers will be judged. When managed well, this mindshare can contribute to good things – like brand loyalty, faster growth, better pricing and margins.
Isn’t it better to own your space?
It’s actually not critical to shape and own your market. According to research we did with the McCombs Business School at The University of Texas, many companies thrive by being well run, and then by growing through acquisition. There are fewer companies that are well run and learn how to grow organically by developing skills in capitalizing on market dynamics. The very few define a whole new market or “Blue Ocean.”
When you can shape and own a market, you’re the centerpiece, the standard from which your followers will be judged.
Why is it important to view the marketplace from your customers’ perspective?
It’s actually always important to view things from their perspective. Brands actually have to go out and get their perspectives. There’s a real difference. It’s not the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s more of the Platinum Rule – do unto others as they would have you do unto them.
How and why do brands miss the boat on this?
The challenge with getting and keeping the market’s perspective is that it’s not a “one and done” proposition. Companies have to regularly recalibrate all that they do – their offerings, pricing, positioning, communications, especially social channels now – based on their market’s dynamics.