There is an old saying–only the lead dog enjoys a change of scenery. You know what all the other dogs are doing? They are just sniffing at the behind of the dog in front.
This is the approach many companies take in competitive markets. They tend to watch what their competition is doing very closely, then quickly try to emulate their product and feature focus and market messaging. However, this approach often sets a company up for failure.
To start, you have no idea whether the competition got it right. What assurances do you have that the product focus and the feature set is relevant to your customers, assuming your customer focus is even the same? Before you answer, understand that the customer segment your competitors are addressing may not align with your target customers.
Secondly, even if the competition got the focus right, you have no idea what their strategy is and what resources, in terms of expertise and investments, they are in a position to deploy.
Lastly, even if all your stars align, you end up with a “me-too” product with comparable functionality and no differentiation. Given enough time, all products will have a similar feature set, as every company is copying their competition.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can’t make some money with this approach. In the short run, you may be profitable, but in the long run your prospects will suffer. The antidote for this is to focus on your customers rather than your competition. By working with real customers with real problems, you can create products that really matter.
Facing competition @ Forte
Often, when I’m asked who Forte’s competition is, I struggle with the answer. It’s not because there is no competition. There are other vendors, home-brew solutions, and alternative ways our customers can address their needs.
The Forte way is to closely collaborate with our customers to identify unsolved problems and gain a deep insight into their operational needs. Equipped with this we consider alternative solutions and co-create in conjunction with our customers the most innovative solutions that provide an amazing user experience. This, coupled with stellar customer support from a knowledgeable team, creates great traction and wide adoption.