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November 25, 2008

But we're doing okay where we are...

If you aren't playing to win then you shouldn't be playing at all.

I intend to be one of the leading bloggers and writers about marketing consulting services and products, and about consulting itself. Period! But as you may have realized I have some pretty stiff competition.

Alan Weiss, Seth Godin, Ford Harding, heck I'll even throw in a Tom Peters into the mix.

Do I think I can beat these guys? Well, if I'm honest they do have a pretty good start. Not only that but each of them does seem to have a unique way of understanding the world, and a fantastic way of expressing themselves.

But thats not the real reason why I won't win. I won't win because the game is not going to finish, at least not in the foreseeable future anyway.

Guerrilla Marketing clearly won the interruption marketing techniques game. Why? Because that game is over now. Godin is clearly leading the viral marketing game. (Coining the term Permission Marketing does help one would think) That is a game that is far from over, Weiss is winning the advising consultants game but that game is also far from over.

The key is not to win, if you win that means that it is all over. The key is to strive to win, to be in front, and to be leading a pack towards an exceptionally desirable prize.

If you still want to play, the prize is still worthwhile, and technology or thinking has not made you outdated; then you have an obligation to strive to be in the leading position. To be the best in the world.

I recently posted on this issue and it has me really intrigued. Particularly when you look at the differences between market leaders and the "also rans".

Some Gartner rankings, measured by total software revenues for 2007:
  • SAP leads the CRM market, with a total market share of 25.35 percent, placing nine percentage points over its closest competitor
  • SAP leads the SCM market, with a total market share of 22.4 percent, a sizeable lead over second-ranked competitor at 16 percent.
  • SAP leads the ERP market, with a total market share of 27.5 percent, far surpassing the second-ranked competitor at 13.9 percent.
These are revenues remember. This means that SAP earned around 27.5% of a market size approximating $7 billion during the 2006 - 2007 period. At $7 billion that means a total revenue of around $1.925 Billion in ERP alone. While their competitors, using the same figures, earned around $0.973 billion.

Twice the revenues of its nearest competitor.

In February of 2008 Information Week reported that Google held 23.7% of the online advertising market, while Yahoo held 11.4% and Microsoft languished at the bottom of the table with 5.6% market share.

Again the leader isn't just in the front by a nose, they are twice the size (at least) of their nearest rival, and almost 5 times the size of the Microsoft market share. 

The bigger the market space in terms of overall value, the greater this separation becomes.

But theres more. During February, and still today, Yahoo has been fighting a rearguard action to try to block Microsoft from consuming it entirely, destroying its history and melting it into a combined greater company.

You must strive to lead. If you are the leader you get more than everybody else. Not just a bit more, but a lot more - two times what your competitors are getting in these cases. 

Not only that, but once you are leading you get to dictate the rules of the game. 

Yahoo can do little to impact on how Google should play the game. But due to its own weak position it is vulnerable to changes in the market as well as competitive takeovers. But Google can change the game, and does so regularly.

If the prize is still desirable, and technology hasn't overtaken you and you still want to play - then you simply must play to win. Thats the only real survival strategy their is in business. 

So can I beat these guys? Wow.. who knows. But if I'm not willing to try then I might as well give up now.