Let's start this assuming you're read my other posts and that we know our market, and the niche within it we're trying to serve. We also know the pain we're trying to solve for them and, I'm assuming, we have the expertise to help them, and a tried and tested formula to get them to the result they need.
All good so far?
Well I've got good news and bad news for you.
The bad news is that other competitors are in the same position. You're not the only one in the market.
The good news is that other competitors are in the same position. You're not the only one in the market.
So, how can competition be good news and bad news?
Well, you don't want to be first into market unless you have really deep pockets. You'll be the one doing all the education, making all the mistakes, and paving the way for others with your own cash.
Competition is a good thing, especially is you can see that they are successful. It means there are people in the market willing to spend money on similar products. But it does mean that you've got a job to do in convincing people that your solution is a better choice.
This is where positioning comes in.
Positioning starts with the competition that they are familiar with and then gives them a point of difference which means something to the audience.
Let's look at a few examples, starting with everyone's favourite – the Apple Mc vs the PC.
Mac's are basically PC's, but for creative people.
That positioning is deliberately divisive. If you value being seen as “creative” it means a lot. If you don't it will drive you the other way. But the hope is that it will create more sales from the tribe of creatives than it will lose sales from the grey suits and process followers.
Let's look at another one – the PX90 training programme.
It's like other exercise programmes, but way more intense. Firstly, they are going after people who have tried home exercise programmes already. It would be hard work to get someone to swop from their gym routine to a home programme. Second, they are going after people who see themselves as being “better than the average programme”. Their raft of celebrity endorsements backs this up. A-type personalities have flocked to the programme since its launch.
The “like A, but more X” formula is a great way to quickly explain to prospects, in terms they are familiar with what is different about your product.
But remember, the X factor has to be meaningful to your prospect.
If the iMac had launched as “like a PC, but blue” it would have flopped. But look at the lines that Steve Jobs used to introduce it in 1998:
“The excitement of the internet.
The simplicity of Macintosh.”
Those were 2 concepts that the audience understood already, but by combining them, he made something unique. Simplicity – something that no other internet-ready computers of the day could ever be accused of – was a meaningful point of difference to the creatives and writers who didn't have the patience to monkey with technology that PC users had had to put up with.
For our Superlearner course, we used the line
“IMPROVE YOUR READING SPEED & MEMORY BY 320%…IN JUST 30 MINUTES A DAY”
Other programmes promised to create similar improvements but needed much more intensive starts to the programme. This was a major disincentive to students with an already full schedule. We had to find a way to fit the learning in so they didn't have the anxiety of letting more work build up while they acquired the new skill.
In the webinar, we laid out other points of difference which made the course more effective than our competition, and even set them up with some productivity tips that would give them the 30 minutes to do the practice.
If you're struggling to find meaningful points of difference, look at reviews for your competition and hunt down the ones which gave the 3 and 4 star reviews. Ones where they were basically happy with the product but there was something missing that would have made it perfect. Those are meaningful differences. If you can plug those holes you can now position your product against theirs.
Until you can compare your product to something your market already knows, using the “like A but with X” formula, you'll struggle to find a hook in their mind that they can use to understand your product.