When you go out into the market, one of the steps to place yourself in a consumer’s mind map is to compare yourself to your competitors. For the most part, you do so with your direct competition, leaving indirect enemies aside. So when you have that positioning in place, you are ready to confront your battles, you know who will come and try to take the prize from your hands.
What happens when one of the indirect competitors, or someone else you hadn’t even considered comes along and catches you blind? You didn’t even see it coming. It would be like thinking cereal could replace you drinking Coca Cola. Completely unrelated.
To exemplify more specifically, most of the people I know either have Google or Facebook as their home pages. You would think that they serve completely different purposes. Google is the search monster and Facebook is the social monster. But… think again. When you want to know about a certain place, a product or a service, who do you trust more? An ad or a friend? So, if you chose friend (which the vast majority of you did) why would you Google about the product in question? You would directly ask a friend or a peer that has undergone that experience.
The other day a social media expert was telling us, People don’t search anymore. Facebook is the new search engine. You post something on your status, and moments afterwards you have people answering your questions. Same goes for Twitter, Foursquare, etc.
Not just research for that matter. According to Mr. Ryan Singel, http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/11/google-fears-facebook/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+wired/index+(Wired:+Index+3+(Top+Stories+2))&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher Facebook is stepping on Google’s toes for several other services. Rumors of new email accounts with @fb.com or the more refined and targeted ads that are displayed on FB.
Perhaps new techniques of remapping or repositioning should take place. One never knows when you’ll have some healthy competition arriving your way. It’s not enough to differentiate your product or service anymore, some other tricks are going to need some modeling.