- Author of The Chasm Companion: Implementing Effective Marketing Strategies for High Technology Companies (HarperCollins, 2002)
- Representative clients include: Adobe, Affymetrix, AppDynamics, Brocade Communications, Citrix, Intel, Kofax, Pricer, Qmatic, Symantec, Verisign.
- All 7 Best Practices
- Pre-Call Discovery Process
- One-on-One Call with Expert
- Session Summary Report
- Post-Session Engagement
- Market maturity in many tech markets calls for new responses, strategies, processes and investments and many technology companies have not met this challenge; technology companies find it difficult to move past the inertia of their long-standing business models.
Tech markets are no longer new or mysterious by definition, yet technology companies are still focused on their tech core rather than on consumer-based marketing. The challenge tech companies now face is to create consumer preference rather than raw demand. Sometimes firms are bound by their traditional performance measures. Performance is a trailing indicator, a glance in the rear view mirror. What tech companies require to break free from inertia is power metrics that track five key elements: category, company, market, offer, and execution.
- Failure to attain market leadership in a given category means taking aggressive steps to achieve and sustain a strong #2 or #3 position in the marketplace.
If you are failing to make the top three in the product category then you must rethink the category and/or its current segmentation. Introducing new, potentially disruptive and/or discontinuous innovations requires strategic and tactical responses based on the life cycle forces that affect first and subsequent adoption. If you are not in the top two or three it probably means you have lost the battle with respect to some technology standard. Continuing to argue the point will get you nowhere. Your next step is to continue to innovate, rather than fighting yesterday's battle.
- Technology markets tend to move fast after coalescing around a coherent, widely-shared belief regarding basic technology standards, their application, and infrastructure; many technology companies lose out in the early, technology standard battle.
Markets coalesce quickly around a technology solution when customers, suppliers, pundits, and other key stakeholders decide that the technology is solid, that it has a sufficient market footprint, and it has an adequate supporting infrastructure. If your company is not in the conversation about establishing that standard you can miss the entire game. For example, Microsoft argued that a SmartPhone device needed a full Windows OS, while Apple pushed ahead by creating a new standard: the iOS. Microsoft lost this technology standard battle and came late to the SmartPhone game. The argument over standards ends not when your technology company says it ends but when the market decides.
- Technology companies that are not market leaders are often in denial as to why; they appear to forget that most if not all tech-based markets, particularly B2B markets, behave rationally.
Technology companies that are lagging behind competitors often insist that they have better technology than the share leaders. But “better” technology is in the eye of the marketplace. When the marketplace makes a decision it is comparable to a primary election. The market is going to narrow the field down to a candidate from each major party who will battle it out in a general election. If you’re a laggard in the market, with a fundamentally different technology standard than the leaders, then you have lost the battle. Your best hope is to try to find a new constituency in the market through creating new categories or new segmentations.
- Technology companies tend to espouse positioning and value propositions that are variously too undifferentiated, too equivocal, too complex – and way too long.
The “value” of a stated value proposition is inversely proportional to its length. A trap that tech companies fall into is to create a 50-page Powerpoint slide deck in order to convince customers or other stakeholders that their technology is better. Often this deck is only marginally different from a competitor’s slide deck. Many tech companies are neither clear nor concise about their product or service differentiation. If you can’t state your value proposition on one piece of paper then you haven’t achieved it.
- Competitive advantage created by technology is always fleeting.
Many technology companies assume that their competitive advantage rests on superior technology. This is prevalent especially among nascent technology markets. For example, Plaxo was a social media network in the space now dominated by LinkedIn. LinkedIn did not try to compete on technology, but realized that network effect was the name of the game. LinkedIn focused not on the technology platform but on getting as many networked users as possible. Tech companies focus too much on technology and not enough on people and the systems in which those people operate. Real competitive advantage is created by people.