Recently I was engaged by a Philippine based software development company, ToolTwist, to help them define a marketing strategy for a new website management application they had developed.
Their product is a software tool used by corporations to create sophisticated websites with Amazon-like functionality. While their product is truly exceptional in many ways, and has a strong customer following, they were trying to work out how to get more bang for their marketing buck.
The first step for the guys at ToolTwist was to clearly understand their potential market. You see, the solution this great application provided was not easily fitted into any specific vertical market, and looking at it horizontally made defining and targeting the best opportunities extremely difficult. Various other products, with larger marketing budgets, claim to provide similar benefits, so carving out a niche market is essential for Tooltwist.
Over a few days we “workshopped” ideas. We looked at why they had their initial success, what was it that the client REALLY bought, who made the decision and why. Ultimately it was determined that of the many benefits of their product, the one that was truly unique was not related to the technology, but to how it provided a better working environment between the marketing and IT staff AND delivered more potential sales to their customers.
The service provided a great solution to enable organisations to coordinate marketing and technical departments, forming a combined team to create and manage websites. Such an overlap in responsibility is traditionally a weak link in most organizations, but Tooltwist’s unique approach allows technical teams to concentrate on technical tasks, while marketing people have the freedom to create thousands of web pages, without any technical expertise. Put simply, website design is now in the hands of the people with the best understanding of what customers want.
So for ToolTwist, their primary competitive advantage was not just the ability to dramatically improve the efficiency with which their clients can make changes to their websites, but how the product can link responsibility and authority across departments and provide the right tools to the right people. This has proven a real winner when presenting the product to executive management of their now identified target market.
So, when looking for your competitive advantage, go beyond the obvious – it may not always be where you think it is.