In some markets there is no clear-cut leader. Instead of having a market book-ended by black and white opposite approaches, the entire market is made up of the many shades of grey. This can happen when a market is still relatively young, or a market is particularly volatile or due to a lack of distribution. In these markets, how do you compete with the other shades of grey and eventually move on towards market leadership?
Let’s hop on over and take a look at the pet sitting market in my neck of the woods. In my hometown, I cannot see any leader gobbling up a majority of this market. Enter my brother and sister-in-law with their new pet sitting service, Companion Caregivers. Their pet sitting service provides at a reasonable price the love and care for pets in your own home (the pets natural environment) while you are away– but so does many of the other shades of grey in this market. But what may well move them to the top of the market is a unique service that acts as an instant “dye” to the color of their business.
While you are away from your pet and hopefully reading a good book while on some tropical beach, the nagging thought of “Is my beloved pet being treated o.k. while I am away?” may creep into your mind. Companion Caregivers has nearly reduced this fear down to zero. While you are away, they videotape your pet having a great time (like your cat chasing some string or your dog playing fetch). Then while you are still kayaking in Kenya, they e-mail you this video.
This approach is brilliant for three reasons: As I mentioned it helps to reduce the fear of how your pet is doing while you are away. It also reminds the customer of their loving service each time they watch it. Lastly (and maybe most importantly), the video acts as a natural conversation starter. We all know that pet lovers love to share anything and everything about their pets. These videos are e-mailed or sent to their video phone and shared with friends, co-workers and strangers on the bus (I mean, it really doesn’t take much for a pet lover to want to share with the world “the cutest thing that Daisy did today”). In the conversation, Companion Caregivers will naturally be brought up and word of mouth has been given a forum.
In a market full of shades of grey, go for the dye that will propel you from a shade of grey to the end of the market spectrum (market leadership). At times it doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be of value to the market. Dye. Rinse. Repeat. – it can be that easy. What can you do to “dye” your company to the top?