ENT 601 – Week 3 Blog by Mary Schuler

 

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What Products Will Customers Want to Buy? Which Market Segments should We Focus On?

Create and gaining a foothold in the market (please keep in mind, this is just a first battle in the war) and then to grow profitably along the sustaining trajectory into market-dominating products and services. Improvements that stretch to meet the needs of more profitable customers by creating a purpose brand so that customers know what is the product that meets their needs.

The mismatch between the true needs of the right customers and the data (products attributes or the demographic and psycho-graphic profiles of a potential consumers) that “shape most product development efforts leads most companies to aim their innovations at a nonexistent target”, said the authors.

One of the most successful and creative entrepreneur, president and founder of K, T.’s Kitchens, Kathleen Taggares, who has mastered a full spectrum of approaches to market her products – frozen pizza! Making $55 million in the 90s, her company provided products for the low, middle, and high end of the pizza market by creating lines of different private-label products to different low and high markets such as public schools, military, Sam’s Club and Costco…

How Can We Beat Our Most Powerful Competitor?

As mentioned in the previous blog, how to predictably identify and deal with the constant range of issues bidding for more time and money; how to become the disruptor in growing business process. Let say, ok now your business has made it through the toddler years and is now a child and would be an adult. Revenues and customers are there but at the same time with opportunities and issues. Profits are there but competition is surfacing.

To stay ahead of the competition, innovation will need to find a breeding ground, as this together with Sales and Marketing are the only money makers and growth busters in any company no matter size. They are like fire and water and need to be blended through business development which is the missing link to a successful go to market commercial strategy.

So, just give me some tips! You may ask. How to develop a realistic strategy or working model to get my products and or services to the customers? Are there ways and or theories to help me make good decision in different circumstances? etc., “The best way to attack established competitors is to disrupt them”, said the authors, “disruptive strategies greatly increase the odds of competitive success and ultimately kill the well-run, established competitors, based on the circumstances of innovation which are identified by two distinct categories:”

  • Sustaining circumstances: making better products that can be sold for more money to attractive customers à in this case, the established company would always prevail.
  • Disruptive circumstances: more convenient product that sells for less money and appeals to a new or unattractive customer set à in this case, the entrants are more likely to prevail.

What is the disruptive innovation model to help shape the strategies before the company get killed? There are two types of disruption:

  • New-Market Disruptions: New customers who had not owned or used the products or services. Compete against non-consumption to pull customers out of the original value network to the new one à induce incumbents to ignore the attackers.
  • Low-End Disruptions: Attack the least-profitable and most overserved customers at the low end of the original value network. Mostly occurred in retailing. Low cost business models that grew by picking off the least attractive of the established firms’ customers à motivate the incumbents to flee the attack.

As you all know Guy Kawasaki, a marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist, who rejoined Apple Computer after a break to help with their marketing strategy, said “there is no excuse not to know everything about your competitors.” After you fully understand what your competition is doing, figure out where they are vulnerable. “You are looking for chinks in the armor. You are looking for pockets of dissatisfied customers that you can steal from them” said Kawasaki.

Resources:

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth – by Christensen, Clayton M. and Michael E. Raynor, 2003

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDFi7BC1qQ0

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Kathleen-Taggares/18642796

 

 

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8 thoughts on “ENT 601 – Week 3 Blog by Mary Schuler

  1. The concept of knowing what your competitors are making is extremely valid. Figuring out what is not working or being addressed by your competitor, then take that opportunity to make your own product that is similar, but also addresses the issues in their item. One of the most obvious that I can think of at the moment is when you look at Facebook and Snapchat. Facebook has kind of created their own version of Snapchat by adding the ‘Live’ feature to the timelines. But, to add to that, when they bought out Instagram, Facebook added in a ‘My Story’ portion to Instagram which emulates a lot of what Snapchat is, but honestly surpasses it in many ways.

    Another example that I can think of, but can only remember a slight portion of it, is back when Nintendo had created the Game Boy Advance (I think). Someone that had worked and collaborated on created it, eventually quit and went to work with one of their competitors to create a very similar product for them that would compete with the Game Boy Advance. Well, that product ended up either not happening or not having near as much success as the Game Boy Advance did. Plus, I feel like that individual also ended up mysteriously dying in a car accident.

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  2. I’m reading the Innovator’s Dilemma by the same author, so it is interesting to see his ideas oriented toward “solutions” instead of just dilemmas. Christensen speaks a lot about sustaining and disruptive forces in his other book too. I guess Uber is a good example of a successful disruption by an entry of technology into a new market. Cabs had always been so local and transient. But it’s an interesting idea and clearly it’s making a lot of money for the owner. Enjoyed the post!

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  3. I like your post on how disruptive strategies are an important topic in the business world. I also feel as though everyone is familiar with who Guy Kawasaki is. I find it interesting to hear the stories of those who have left Apple and then return (other companies too). Not only the flexibility to leave and return, but also the idea that “there is no excuse not to know everything about your competitors” – is so true. WE must fully understand what our competition is doing and then go a step or ten beyond that. Better yet, make sure that we find ways to be passionate about what our competitors are doing (or at least intrigued by the process). It seems one should enter that space with a lot of energy and effort. We must know many things when being entrepreneurs. Knowing the roles of others, how companies move, who moves them, what changes take place – all of it is integral to seeing the macro and micro levels of business. Without these perspectives, the full business picture is lost. Knowing vulnerabilities is key as well, but I would say that it is more about seeing what the others have missed. Where are they doing it wrong – someone needs to do it right. That is when we can step in and decide that we can either make a difference for a profit or not. I like the “pockets of dissatisfied customers” comment – it is so true. That is where the most gain is found. Making customers extremely happy is what it’s all about. .

    Thanks for posting your reference videos. These are great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDFi7BC1qQ0 http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Kathleen-Taggares/18642796

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  4. Hi Mary,

    It’s interesting how you separated the two situations as sustaining circumstances and disruptive circumstances. I hadn’t really thought of it that way before. I always go back to two fundamental things when I think about competition. In truth, a company can only compete on the basis of equal quality and lower price, or higher quality and higher price – and what you’ve written in this article seems to agree with this.

    Great post!
    Austin

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    • Austin,
      I appreciate your input. It is funny how some people will not buy something unless it is the best of the best and is priced accordingly. I think this is why so many companies will repackage the same product different price points.
      Mary

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  5. Mary once again you have given food for thought. I am so glad that you have given us a understanding of the importance of data collection of your customer base. The reality is numbers never lie, if your product is needed and the numbers have given you a positive upside , your business will indeed prosper. It would be in your best interest as an entrepreneur to always be vigilant of the pitfalls that you have stated in your post.

    Great Work
    Eric

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  6. Mary – thank you! This reminds me of the responsibility an innovator of new ideas has to understanding the current market where their idea is trying to live. It is not ONLY having a NEW valuable idea, but it is also important to know your competition (know the market), and then in turn to know the ins/outs of the competitor INSIDE and OUT. You cannot simply start and stop with a “Great Idea”. That will not get you very far. You have reminded me of that detail. Thank you again, Mary!

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