Time in and time out, companies sometimes are too conservative when it comes to becoming a competitive aggressor. Situational opportunities occasionally arises and should be considered as competitive “gifts.” To quickly capitalize on these competitive “gifts”can mean a jump of 10% increase to your revenues or even taking market share away from your fiercest competitor.
However, companies tend to squander on these opportunities because they deem them either too aggressive or too excessive. Most executives take the conservative path thinking that when something negative happens to them, they hope that their competitors will not return the favor. This is a fallacy. To be competitive, you need every competitive edge available.
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Case in point. I worked at a company where the company had the ripe opportunity to capitalize on a competitor’s faux pas. A competitor’s product failed miserably in a customer bake-off situation. Frankly, the product just broke like a brand new car that won’t start prior to leaving the car lot. The failures were meticulously documented by product management. When I first learned about the documented failures of the competitor’s product, I wanted to create a sales SPIFF by attacking that particular competitor’s product by informing the competitor’s customers and prospects that their marketing did not properly articulate what the product can do. This was not about creating FUD (Fear, uncertainty, and doubt) nor trying to create a smear campaign on the competition. This was an opportunity to take market share away with factual evidences and informing the customer about the product’s failures. Furthermore, it is the obligation to the customer to know the truth about a competitor’s product if it does not work as advertised. To meticulously exploit the competitor’s weaknesses with factual competitive evidences is exactly what a competitive aggressor should do. It is fair play, and sales should quickly be inoculated to exploit on these opportunities because every competitive “gift” has a time limit of its effectiveness.
But to my disappointment, the idea was squashed by management because it was deemed “too aggressive.” They were worried that the competitor would do the same if one of our company’s products experienced similar fates. What puzzled me were twofold.
- We should never GA a flawed product
- We should always capitalize on situational opportunities and deem them as “gifts” because another opportunity may not present itself again
To win in a tight competitive market place, every opportunity is a competitive advantage. So do you consider yourself a competitive aggressor? Or do you consider yourself a conservative defender? By knowing what you really are could mean either being the market leader or being a market laggard.
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