Competition is always good!

This is going to sell by itself!

Too many times, inexperienced entrepreneurs of all ages will use that deadly phrase.  It reminds me of the old Ralph Waldo Emerson cliche of "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." 
In the cold reality of the science of entrepreneurship, most likely that path will be very narrow if it exists at all.  As professional marketers, what we all want is for that small path to become a four-lane highway, and what we know is that will occur only through consistent marketing that doesn't talk about the product at all but highlights the value that the product brings.   After all, we really don't need a better mousetrap; we just need to get rid of the mice quickly, efficiently and without looking at squished mice caught in an ugly trap.   

There's always competition!   

Do Nothing Competition: The easiest form of competition is simply to do nothing and keep doing what one is currently doing. We experience it all the time in our personal lives whether it's continuing to use our old iPhone11 rather than use the much better camera features of the 14Pro.   Much simpler, and of course cheaper, simply to conclude that the camera on the 11 is "good enough".

Current Systems Competition:  In our firm's sales productivity work with new clients, we often see that management continues to want to "control" their salespeople through antiquated CRM software rather than use much newer AI-enabled platforms like Hubspot that provide open transparency of all the data to all the salespeople so that they can share best practices among themselves and improve their own productivity.  This type of competition often manifests itself as..."That's the way it is, and I don't want to change".

And then there is Wicked Competition!

In our Marketing course this semester, one of the six semester-long projects is to create a detailed marketing plan for a new nutrition product created by a highly respected Tufts Senior Scientist & Professor based on her years of research in reducing obesity and extending longevity through combinations of fruits and vegetables. 

Competition-F&V JuicesOriginally, I thought that it would be an intriguing project for a number of reasons not the least of which was that I thought that the product was "simply" a juice.  Then, two weeks into the course, I discovered that although the overall juice market is in fact huge at $130B, it's also in rapid decline given the very high calorie count in most of what we simply call "a juice".  As a result, the entrepreneurs along with their six-person student marketing team are now focused on the subset market of Smoothies, a $12B annual market growing at 10% a year. 


I took this photo in my local NH Market Basket.  First, extend the photo 2X in length.  Second, these "more healthy" products are in the fruit and vegetable section of the store, while "juices"-all of which have some fruit in them are sold in three other aisles, one of which is 40 feet long.  

Even given that the smoothie market is relatively smaller and is increasing in volume, competition-decision making still comes down to which smoothie name, (Pom, Naked, Bolthouse to name a few of the larger brands) in which container, in what color, with what texture, with which combination of vegetables and fruits and at what price.  All in a highly competitive market where although there may be great engineering in packaging and in formulations, there is no deep science and certainly no ability yet to make any medical claims.

Perhaps this new startup given their direction to complete human trials at some point in their future may make a difference, but its impact as a company and on this highly competitive market will still come down to creating the best marketing focused on detailed value propositions for the specific personas currently being assessed by their Gen Z marketing team.  


Jack and Tufts Entrepreneurship Center -2Just some thoughts for a Friday afternoon to think about over what looks like a spectacular weekend, and, yes, the leaves are at full color in Vermont where I am working today!

At any time, if you want to discuss your own marketing planning for the rest of this year, just connect with me for some quick ideas and feedback. There's no cost to a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about this new rapidly changing world of marketing, which is nothing like the old days of 2020!  In the meantime, take a look at our 2022 edition of our Writing the Winning Marketing Plan in 2022.

 Also, if you are interested in participating in either a Marketing or a Sales project this spring, just connect with me, and I will send you the instructions. I will be teaching Marketing again as I do both semesters and will be looking for six complex projects. I will also be teaching my Science of Sales course which I only teach in the spring.  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 












Tags: Tufts marketing projects, branding plans, Making Tough Choices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching entrepreneurship