Mean. It’s a great word isn’t it. But what does mean, mean? If you see what I mean. It’s either hateful, the intended meaning of something or, as I want to use it here – an average. In this case it’s the “average” marketing strategy for a specific marketing segment. What would be the value of knowing the “average” marketing strategy for any number of strategic marketing elements for the segment in which you compete?
i.e. on average for your market segment who is the ideal target customer organisation? On average what job roles do your competitors target? On average which vertical markets are favoured? On average who does your competition see as their primary competition? etc.
The above Marketing Element Distribution(TM) charts are taken from a recent Lustratus REPAMA(TM) Segment Analysis Study into High Performance Messaging. The study compared the marketing strategy of IBM’s WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging (LLM), 29West’s Latency Busters Messaging (LBM) and Solace Systems’ Content Router. Whilst the study contains full details for each of these vendor’s strategies, the calculated “Market Mean” reflects the mean value of each of the marketing elements across those 3 vendors.
Lustratus produces this intelligence as part of the Lustratus REPAMA Segment Analysis Study and we obviously plot the positions of each of the vendors in addition to the mean, but this is relatively simple exercise to conduct for yourselves. The question is what do you do once you know the mean? Do you look to be outside of the mean? The religion of “differentiate or die” suggests you probably do. But the idea that what “most” of your competitors are doing must be right, suggests that you might want to simply track them. Look at the Vertical Market Segmentation chart above and ask yourself whether you want to aim outside of Financial Services? Well it might be an uncontested space, but at the same time their might be a lot of tumbleweed.
The answer of course is that whilst you can compute an “average” marketing strategy, the right strategy for your organisations depends on many factors. Aiming at the average vertical market and at the average ideal customer might be valid strategies because it suggests that is where the rest of the segment feels there is opportunity. But if you attack these prospects with “average” messaging and “average” differentiation it will be death by a thousand ho-hum cuts.
Either way, knowing what your competitors are doing is a good place to start.