Student: Dr. Einstein, Aren’t these the same questions as last year’s [physics] final exam?
Dr. Einstein: Yes; But this year the answers are different.
I have heard this Einstein’s story several times. Although I am not so sure about its reality, I believe that the origin of the subject is exact in marketing. Every day, the process of marketing activities is encountered by strange and unprecedented sluggishness, difficulty, and low effect or ineffectiveness in relation to its past and yesterday, but the marketing challenges have always been remained as before. The main permanent question is that how we should dominate the market through marketing.
The critical point which is not told to you by most of the theorists in their lecture, articles, and books refers to the fact that it seems unlikely that those customers who have become the fans of a company or product would even listen to you. Accordingly, their movement toward you is an increasing difficulty and apparently an impossible event.
However, a great number of marketing strategists and experts are in search of finding a method to attract the attention of the rival consumers and customers toward their own products and spend much energy to carry out this activity. The advertising videos of Samsung Phones after the presentation of the iPhone 6 proves my claim that Samsung clearly tried to convince the audience to use its own products by tarnishing iPhone reputation. Was Samsung successful?
The report of International Data Corporation on August 2015 for Smartphone Vendor Market Share, which was carried out by resorting to share in unit shipment, shows that the market share of both rivals was suddenly dropped.
Apparently, this way of demolishing the rival is like a knife which is plunged into your own stomach before hurting the rival because by such activities you only increase the level of awareness of the consumers from the market realties and without realizing, you will create new gaps in your own market, and whenever you attempt to attract the rival’s customers toward yourself, these gaps will be deeper and wider. The drastic increase of the consumers’ awareness from market and products is one of the biggest problems of the present era for the marketers and companies.
What should be done now?
Firstly, start from changing your viewpoint about the problem. Instead of concentrating on the rivals’ customers, look for those customers who have never been the customer of your competitor, or they are not your rivals’ customers anymore. You need to focus on the people who are not fans but opponents of the rival companies because of other people’s recommendations on avoiding to buy from the competing companies or unsuccessful experience of using their products. When should you find them? These customers are located in the main weaknesses of the related market that these points are connected to each other unanimously. Are we talking about Market Gap? No! Let’s be bolder. I would like to call these customers’ locations “the Market Cracks.”
A gap is created in the market of a place in which the market leaders do not seem attractive for a large group of customers because they are not able to be accountable to the significant needs of the majority of the customers. The Market Gap theory observes the market as linear and one-dimensional on which all market rivals and activists, as well as the gap, are placed.
To see cracks in market, it should be analyzed in a multidimensional form. Cracks emerge where the customers’ demands from the market are not met by the rivals because of lacking full productivity of the potentials on the one hand, and on the other hand simultaneous with the first problem, technologic factors, changes in decisions and behavior of consumers, as well as changes of the society’s inclinations will expose the main nature of market with extinction.
Cracks in the market are exactly like the various cracks on an ancient wall. Whenever the internal and external factors find more time and opportunity for destroying the wall, then the cavities will be broader and deeper, and they will gradually bring about the decay of the walls.
Market Cracks vs. Market Gaps
The positioning of a market gap will be possible through two main Pull or Push strategies. In the Pull strategy, you will find the place of the gap, and you will remove the market problem by proposing new products or technology while in the Push one, you will remove the created gap through a different usage of a product or technology made before.
Using new product and technology or new usage of a previously-made product and technology for filling the market gap is in fact proposing an Added Value being able to be imitated and if you want to use more time of the opportunities, you need to be definitely the main leader or at least the second person of the market; otherwise, after proposing the new product, other activists of the market and market leaders will imitate you.
Unfortunately, the bigger problem emerges where, after filling the market gap, you will have only a limited deadline for using the opportunity you created because other activists will imitate you very soon, and this time, all pressures of the market will be applied to a certain point of it.
Nevertheless, sooner or late, you should expect to see the emergence of a new gap in the market. Nowadays, most of our markets are encountered by this problem and we have filled the created gaps by-products and technologies irrelevant to the main market so much that the vast majority of our brands have been changed into other things and contrary to their position, they have embarked on producing new products or linear expansion in the mind of the consumers.
However, market cracks are created when the useful life of a specific market is ending. In order to understand which market goes toward the extinction route, it is enough to look at its past, present, made, and unmade market gaps. If the numbers of the current and modified gaps are so that the leading layer of the market is destroyed, this is the best time for you to take action.
To use market cracks, you need to have so many appropriate potentials that your new product will create a new market and separate from the previous one. Under these conditions, you should not rush to help the previous market to fill the gaps, but you need to replace your own product and supply it to the customers of the previous market that you will cause destruction of the main walls of that market. How should we take action?
If you pay attention to the history of the majority of the brands, you will see that time has had a significant influence on their success. They are not 4Ps that determine the rate of success of your marketing plans, but time is the determining factor. Perhaps most of the existing successful brands have been entered the market without any codified and pre-written program, but they have won the game because of proposing their products at an appropriate and sensitive time.
Windows, YouTube, Yahoo Mail, Honda Motorcycles in the US, Amazon, and hundreds of other brands entered the market without any written marketing plan but in a quite delicate time. These brands answered the hidden needs of the customers unintentionally. Windows was the first operating system that allowed anyone to use a computer only by opening the windows. YouTube was the first online video network, which was giving you the opportunity to share your videos for free and watch other people’s videos. Yahoo Mail was the first E-mail service in mass form for the ordinary users of the internet. The small motorcycles of Honda were the first small Japanese motorcycles against American culture and Harley-Davidson. Amazon was the first place selling books electronically.
Although being the first ones has played a significant role in their success, if they were entered the market in an inappropriate time, perhaps they would not find an excellent chance to be successful.
Look at the history of the market. Different types of transportations were used to transfer our letter from one place to another, and suddenly E-mail took their position. Digital photography camera and digital video camera did the same thing with analog cameras and dozens of dependent industries to that market. Our history is full of these revolutionary ideas that, by being proposed, they ended the life of a market.
Find the deepest and widest gap in the market being endangered to extinction. First, provide a way for a selected group from that market’s customers so that they can have access to your products easily with minimum risk, and they tend to talk about it with other people. Then, at an appropriate time in which you become sure that a good number of that market have heard rumors and stories about you, rush into the market by resorting to public relations. This rush will cause that the market walls lack the ability for further resistance because of the present cracks, and they will collapse. Now that the path of customers is opened and can get out of that market’s environment, it will be your turn to show yourself.
What key points should be observed?
1. Note that your product should enjoy a feature that not only will bring about the extinction of a rival in the market but also it will target the main weakness which is shared among all opponents of that market.
2. It is imperative that you should never carry out your public relations before the final production of the product.
3. Firstly, make access to the product available for the people whose type and manner of their selection affects the other consumers’ decisions.
4. Rushing into a market becoming extinct is like swimming in the ocean that includes not more than two states. You will get to the shore, or you will sink; therefore, do not save your energy to return, instead, start to rush in full force.
5. Separation of a consumer from a market, though in the state of extinction, is like separation of a person from his/ her spouse after years of life. Without considering how much of the quality of a relationship is remained, most of the people think about the quantities of a relation. Until a consumer mind is not ready to leave a market, no revolutionary idea, no robust PR, and no marketing plan can destroy a market.
6. Reanalyze case 5 and be careful not to be replaced or turned into a backup. You should take action when the customers see you as the pivot of meeting his needs and requirements.
Sometimes consumers have not much faith, inclination, and interest to stay in an endangered market, but they still see motivations to remain. Finding those disturbing motivations to propose your idea is your duty. Sometimes consumers go beyond that level without any motivation to stay with the present suppliers, but in their view, you are more than what they want. Your idea should match the majority of consumers’ demands in that endangered market.
Now it is asked that who the next person is, you, or another person?