Stop Obsessing About Your Competitors

Focus on Your Customers and How Your Web App Solves Their Problems First.

I wanted to continue with the Competitive Pricing theme of the last post.

You know when you go to the marketing site for a SaaS app and there is a “how we compare to our competitors grid?”

How often do you discover a new competitor of theirs that you hadn’t seen before, or realize that one of their competitors has a feature you didn’t know about?

I think too often as Web App vendors we assume our potential customers already know our competitors and are actively comparing the features of our product and the other guys.

This occurs because we are both paranoid about the competition and WE are focused on our competition so we assume everyone else is.

While some SaaS startups say “we have no competition” – which is a major problem – an even greater number can tell you every single competitor, SaaS or not, even down to the smallest open source project or tiny piece of shareware that hasn’t been updated since 2004.

So it just makes sense that we need to show everyone a chart of how we compare with those other guys, right?

Sure, and in the process you’ll INTRODUCE the the potential customer to a competitor they didn’t even know about!

You might get them to start second-guessing their choice to use your app.

So, know what your competitors are doing, but leave it at that… don’t help your audience find new alternatives to your offering that they didn’t already know about.

Just help them solve their problems!

But what if they ask “how do you compare to XYZ App?”

Well, it all comes down to positioning and promotion.

Both of those come down to one thing… knowing your customer.

What problem does your customer have and how can you solve it faster and better than what you’re displacing.

The keyword there is “displacing.”

If what you are displacing is an entrenched market leader; that might require a differentiation campaign where you lead with features (but maybe not, too).

If what you are displacing is a low-tech, high cost (labor, perhaps) solution… you probably don’t need to mention competitors, right?

Just some food for thought.

BTW… the folks on my mailing list got to benefit from this article a few months ago.

Make sure you get on the list so I can send you awesome messages like this.

About Lincoln Murphy

I am a Customer Success-driven Growth Consultant. I wrote the Customer Success book which you can buy at Amazon. If you need help growing your SaaS, request at least a 15-minute call with me via Clarity. Be sure to join my mailing list - I send awesome stuff to the list every week or so. Also, connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.

Comments

  1. This is mostly great advice! I would like to clarify on sharing competitors. Definitly do not introduce them to unknowns, but showing the obvious competitors or alternatives hrlps customers a) validate they are in a familiar space b) make them feel like they are doing some competitive research. It also has to do whether customers are enterprise or consumer and the amount of diligence they do before making a purchase.

    • Thanks… glad it was mostly good. So my point was that you need to know who the knowns and unknowns are in your market and speak to what you’re displacing. It’s all about knowing your customer.

      • Ok– I went and re-read. I would edit out the mostly – but still like the clarification. It all wraps up under psychographics (which you also imply).

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