On Competition – There’s More Than Meets the Eye
We all face competition. After all we live in an “age of abundance.” Regardless of the category there is a plethora of potential alternatives customers may choose among to fulfill their basic needs. There are 39,500 items, on average, in a supermarket. Just minutes from my home I can find five supermarket chains. There are more than a dozen brands of toothpaste alone and within the major brands you’ll find a multitude of product offerings. There’s no end of choice. We all have a wide range and variety of offerings to satisfy our appetites and budgets.
The age of abundance is not just true of consumer products but pharmaceuticals as well. For example, an emerging therapeutic area, NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis – fatty-liver disease), has dozens of pharmaceutical companies pursuing treatments. At this moment, more than 40-drugs are engaged in mid- and late-stage clinical trials. Payers, HCPs (health care practitioners) and patients will have choices.
There’s plenty of competition, no matter the sector or category. As soon as someone creates a market, competitors rush-in to capture a piece of it and/or grow market demand. These you know, or should know, if you plan to be successful. They are your “external” competitors.
But there’s more to competition than those who oppose you in the marketplace. They are offerings we typically don’t consider. These are our “internal” competitors. These are the brands and products that your company currently markets and/or plans to market. Each of them vies for attention and the limited, precious resources available for investment. After all, companies do not have unlimited funds to fully support multiple brands. Nor should they support all equally.
Senior managers are like investment bankers. They will put their chips on those brands, those geographies, those marketing mix elements and those initiatives that are expected to have the biggest impact on sales, generate the most lucrative ROI and fatten the bottom line. Accordingly, we must first compete with these internal entities to win management favor before we gain the resources we need to compete (more) effectively with external competitors.
What might we do better, or differently, to deliver more favorable results to become the preferred investment internally?