Lets start at the beginning with Market or Niche Dominance – Element 1: Doing Business in a New Way as a series of photos. Just like trying to understand what a building looks like, one photo will not do, we need multiple photos and assemble it to create a mosaic. I will present the major topics as 4 photos.
Photo #1: Competitive Advantage
What are the features in this photo?
- Target Market – where is the competitive advantage? Is it creating an entirely new market, something that does exist? Is it redefining the current market? Is it optimizing (bring new elements together) the current market? Or is it offering a substitution for what is currently offered?
Photo #2: Customers
What are the features in the photo?
- What trends are affecting the customers competitive advantage (B2B) or the customers lifestyle (B2C)? What trends are affecting their buying decisions?, What trends are affecting how they distribute and sell their products and services(B2B)? And what trends are affecting their business model – how they do business?
Photo #3: Higher Order Benefits
- When the customer uses the product or service you sell (or intend to sell), is it a simple sale – they are buying just the item? Or is it complex – a product wrapped in services driven by the entire buying, using, and supporting the sale?
Photo #4: Competitors
- What factors are your competitors competing on? What factors are they investing in?
Now you have the photos, lets post them on the wall and see what story it tells. The way to pull it all together is to create a matrix and plot your competitors with their competitive and investment factors at the bottom – the x axis. Now on the vertical or y axis write high, moderate, and low. Once you have built this simple chart – using different colors, plot how all of the identified competitors rank on each factor. Make sure your company is included if you are currently in the game.
What are you looking for? It is called a value plot and it should indicate where each player ranks on the factors. The first revelation will be how different or how much alike are the players. My guess – after doing this over many years – everyone is bunched up on most of the items and the market leader does it better or they are doing one or two things different.
As you look at the wall, your strength and weakness will be apparent. Now what?
Well, time for some decisions. Reviewing photos 1, 2, and 3 – what is everyone missing? If you were to change your ranking from high to low, or low to high, or the elimination of moderate, how could you immediately distinguish your company from the pack and over take the leader?
There, you have a value plot of competitors! You have identified the what of Doing it in a New Way, what is next is how. See you tomorrow.