I attended a roundtable session earlier this week where a guest from HP talked about their marketing strategy and their competition. HP operates in a complex world, where they have tiny customers, and massive customers, and they sell things that are relatively simple, as well as enterprise solutions that are tremendously complex.
The speaker did a great job of explaining their view of the market segments, and how they are trying to integrate. Some very nifty video, btw, which I'll post on tomorrow.
One of the charts presented made me ponder how we tend to define a given market from our own perspective, not from the customer's perspective. We define the product or service categories more or less based on our own product and service line-up. So we see a chart that has our own organization with an X in every row, just like the first chart above. And we then look at the competition from the same perspective.
Our customers and prospects define the market and competition in terms of all their needs and potential needs. Their chart looks more like the chart below, where no one company can meet all their needs.
The implication of this, of course, is that we wind up sounding like simpletons when we address the customer's requirements, because we ignore the ones we can't help with.
When you think about your competition, think broadly. Think in terms of your customer's view of the world. It's not fast food, it's food. It's not CBS versus NBC, it's entertainment. This does complicate things, of course. But it will get you to a better place.