Start Up Blog

Who is your competition?

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 17, 2013

If we ask any well know brand who their major competitors are the answers are reasonably predictable. It’s those brands who have that other part of the market share pie. This is what we all got taught during marketing class, and it made sense in the AC Nielsen TV ratings market share industrial era. The problem is that it makes a lot less sense as we transition to the digital age. An age where incumbents are constantly being exposed on the flanks, rather than by direct competitors. If we went back and asked a number of industrial world businesses who their main competitors were, the story becomes much clearer:

Kodak: At first it was Fuji & Agfa, closely followed by Cannon and Nikon…. but really in the end their nemesis came from a different planet. The planet of Apple, Google, Instagram and Facebook. What is Facebook really other than a Kodak moment 2.0?

Encyclopedia Britannica: Clearly World Book and later Encarta, the CD ROM based delivery by Microsoft. But in the end it was you and me who provided more accurate data on the subject of ‘everything’ as we populated both Google and Wikipedia. We turned out to be more accurate, more timely and we came at everyone’s favourite price – free!

Free to Air Television: First became very worried about movie rental stores (VHS, DVD) followed by cable TV. While now their real worry is the other screens in the home as Netflix, Youtube and Pirate Bay eat their lunch.

There are of course an unlimited number of examples with the same story.

But the lessons in a period of technological transition are two fold.

Incumbents: If your company or brand is in a battle defending revenue and market share from industry players, you’re focusing on the wrong area.

Entrepreneurs: If you’re aiming to disrupt an industry that has intense and focused market share battles, you’re focusing on the right area.

Startup Blog says: In times of transition, it pays to look to the sides instead of straight ahead.

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2 Responses

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  1. Nick Rodriguez said, on June 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Indeed. It may not be wrong to simply look ahead and try to be innovative yourself, but it also is worth paying attention to your competitors that may potentially outsmart you and overtake your business.

  2. The story of ice | Start Up Blog said, on July 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    […] Most everyday products we use and take for granted have a deep story of innovation underneath them. Once such product is that of simple household ice. What’s interesting about ice is that it went through a number of disruptions. New Methodist and players arrived to usurp yesterdays heroes. Much like the industries did in this post. […]


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