So Are you a 21st Century Business Predator?
What do I mean by that I hear you ask.
There is a growing school of thought (particularly in the USA) that businesses that have either services or products which are commercially disruptive need to adopt a ‘predator’ mentality in order to achieve early success and recognition.
Indeed, several boutique investment houses on the West Coast are considering making this a pre-requisite qualification as part of their investment criteria.
But what does it mean and is it fair?
What some of these ‘West Coasties’ (Cute word don’t you think… not predatory at all) really mean is that it is so very difficult to gain market acceptance for a new ‘disruptive’ technology or commercial plan, if you don’t adopt a mentality of ‘let’s nail the competition’ early on, you are likely to fail.
Surely the point of - say - a new disruptive technology is to attract adopters by clearly demonstrating the power of the new stuff and how it delivers something better / easier/ quicker/ cheaper for the end user. – If it is truly fresh, new and disruptive, it won’t have any direct competitors to be compared with.
So are the ‘Coasties’ (even better!) saying you need to go after the incumbent businesses delivering the old way of doing things? – Bit of a big ask in my book.
First rule of marketing new technology: Have an innovator / early adopter strategy and incentivise these nice people by reinforcing their decision to take a risk on you, and deliver them the best service they have ever had. If you can do this you will turn many of them into willing evangelists and they will spread the word, better, faster, and further than you could yourself.
Why waste time, energy and cash on campaigns that target the incumbent businesses… this is not predatory, it could be just plain stupid. These guys may have big businesses, big positions and deep pockets. They would undoubtedly respond to any directly aggressive campaigning on your part and probably have the resources to destroy your message before it gets going.
My advice: Don’t focus on them as businesses or competitors, study what – and how - they deliver to their customers and work out how to tease a few of those customers away to try your new stuff.
Just focus on the customers or end users and get as many as you can to try, and then adopt your new way. – Reward them. Encourage them. Talk to them. Make it your company policy to make every adopter a ‘friend’.
Believe me, taking this approach is disruptive on its own!
Truly disruptive businesses achieve success because they put customer engagement above all other commercial - or marketing – tasks. This suggests to customers that they want a 2 -way relationship and are both grateful for their business and willing to listen when contacted.
As you grow, try to remember how you kicked it all off; stay connected with your customers and you have a chance of ending up as the biggest raptor on the block… without having to act like one.
A cuddly predator perhaps..
Passionate product marketer.
Want to help businesses and brands get their products discovered.