Tuesday, April 10, 2012

De Facto Standard

What do Google, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Xerox and Vocollect have in common? At some point in their brand history, each of these companies have become the de facto standard in their industry. Achieving this goal requires having a vastly superior product and/or some major network effects.

What can you do with this market position? One excellent strategy (shown at left) is to remind your prospects that you are the industry standard. This strategy works effectively in part because any customer, especially in the B2B setting, wants to mitigate risk. Customers are risk-averse for human reasons, not just business reasons. The average individual wants to be a hero for picking the right solution rather than a goat for picking the solution that doesn't work.

In essence, reminding customers that you are the industry standard is not inwardly-focused marketing (which would be a bad idea). Rather, the idea is to remind prospective buyers that nobody ever got fired for buying Vocollect Voice(R). That's not something our competitors can say, by the way.

Sometimes, the de facto standard occurs because there were not other options to choose, but I have found more often that the de facto standard is, frankly, better.

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