Selections from a really thoughtful post by Michael Lummus below detail why it might be best to take on the strengths of one’s competition vs attacking their weaknesses. Lummus connects this to a recent Samsung tv spot challenging Apple as a proof point for how powerful transparency can be when Sun Tzu’s traditional military strategy is reversed.
One of my favorite ads this year was produced by Samsung in support of its Galaxy S3 smartphone. (Full disclosure: I own a Samsung Galaxy S2.) Apart from the well-executed humor, what I like best about the ad is textbook application of a new art of marketing war: Attack your opponent’s strength.
Samsung takes the raving fan mentality of Apple customers, the hipness of its culture and the increasing popularity of its products and turns them over head. The ad humorously satirizes long lines for product launches, inconsequential new features and (perhaps most effectively) attempts to squash the hip factor with two parents who confirm with their line-holding son, “This is the line for apps, right?” In essence, Samsung’s message is that Apple products have reached a level of mainstream success that should make counter-culturistic hipsters look elsewhere.
So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.
The Art of War, Sun Tzu
To be clear, I’m not asserting that Sun Tzu is wrong or obsolete. Understanding and exploiting the competition’s weaknesses is still a critical arrow in the marketer’s quiver.
Attacking a competitor’s strengths doesn’t entail developing those strengths yourself. Rather, it is about discrediting that the strengths actually exist or hold value. One is unlikely to beat a competitor at its own game, so the objective is to change the game to play on a different field, a field defined by you.
Samsung adeptly achieves this with humor, something practitioners should note. Consumers don’t respond well to harsh negativity and it doesn’t make the case for your brand either.
But what attacking your competition’s strengths does prompt is reconsideration of current opinions and buying choices to open conversation about your brand. More than anyone, current customers of a competitor know the weaknesses of what they own. Ultimately, they have chosen to endure the weaknesses in favor of the strengths. If the strengths themselves become questioned, however, the overall purchasing decision can be reopened. That is the objective.
As with any tactic, consider all options carefully before employing, reminded by Tzu that a skilled commander seeks victory from the situation. But the next time you find yourself on the defensive, consider attacking your opponent’s strength.
This is the story of the failure of Blippy, a product that launched in private beta in December of 2009 and that we breathlessly fawned over again, and again, and again and again (and again and again …).
“Imagine being able to see everything your friends buy with a credit card as they do it,” MG wrote. “This not only tells you what kind of things they’re actually into (rather than someone just saying they like something), but also other information like how cheap they are, as well as where they actually are at a given time.”
What we failed to ask was, “Who cares?”
The total mobile app market anticipated to be worth $25 Bil by 2015!
A new report from MarketsandMarkets indicates that the total global mobile applications market is expected to be worth $25 billion by 2015, up from about $6.8 billion in 2010, with a compound annual growth rate of 29.6 percent from 2009 to 2014. Apple’s App Store is projected to hold nearly 20.5 percent of the global market by 2015. Though Asia is the largest market in terms of mobile app downloads with 36 percent, North America led the market since 2009 with a 41.6 percent revenue share. The European mobile applications market stood at $1.2 billion in 2009, but is expected to become the largest market by 2015 at $8.4 billion and growing at a CAGR of 33.6 percent from 2010 to 2015.
(Source: TechCrunch, 1/18/2011)
Or in other words:
if this is news to you, you might be living under a rock! still, nice benchmark #s. now the question is, what phone will you have in 2015?
—Mikael Ricknas, source: Computerworld - full article
WOW! big news! this was heard today during the 2010 International Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, where Nokia gave a presentation re: exciting upgrades to Symbian, many planned to come in the first quarter of 2011, including improvements to the browser’s user interface. This is pretty exciting for Symbian fans everywhere hoping the combination of Nokia’s great touchscreen plus an updated UI could be something unparalleled. the HTML5 support is thoughtful too, as it could bring a generation of older mobile web-accessible but not quite ‘smart’ phones up to speed with a new software over the air update to roll out.