By Max Stinson
For marketers, competition can be a good challenge at best and a death sentence at worst. It’s pretty natural to never see it as a good thing. Heck, the only good thing about competition comes from beating it and getting (or perhaps retaining) your market share.
This leads many to think that it’s better to aim for a niche market that’s got no competition to begin with. But is a no-man’s land like that really a likely source of more sales leads? It might as well be like this year’s nominations in the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Why the analogy? Well, try asking anyone familiar with the many animated feature films that were marketed this year. Think your B2B company’s got nothing in common with Pixar or Dream Works? You will if you’re going to talk about the lack of competition. Only three nominations were selected from last year’s line-up.
Is little competition really a good thing?
Of course, this isn’t the first time that the Golden Globe Awards were pretty sparse in selecting animated films (they’ve only started allowing five nominees since 2009). But the fact remains, fewer competitors means lesser competition. This is a dream situation for plenty B2B marketers but what’s the reality?
- Competitors culled by the powers that be – You may think you’ve found a niche but it’s also just as likely that you’ve found some legal loophole to market/sell something that normally can’t be sold! Look at how IBM blew the whistle on Amazon’s CIA deal. Sometimes you end fighting the real battle in a courtroom than in the actual market.
- Demand is scarce – Sometimes there isn’t even a real market to begin with! There can be a niche and there can be too niche. It’s like marketing a product for business scenarios that aren’t entirely commonplace. You may not have a lot of competition but neither do you have the necessary demand to generate sales leads.
- It’s a failed market – You could also be going for a market that many have gone to before but with little success. That’s why they’re not always a good sign. If this be the case, you might want to brace yourself (or even research on what your competitors may have done wrong).
Having no competitors is closer to an ideal result than an ideal start. Because at the very least, coming out on top in the end lets you keep the memory of what your business went up against. Otherwise, it’d be just like using this year’s Golden Globe nominees as a reference without knowing just how many other decent animated feature films were released last year.