Ries and Trout say, “Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions.” Sometimes the best product does not win.
Quite frequently, perception is merely an exaggeration of reality.
I like this advice:
Don’t try to create a “better” product. That strategy is too vague. Instead, try to create a product which is better for a specific group of people with specific problems that are not being solved very well by others. That specific group of people will perceive your product as the best (emphasis is mine).
I like it because, it lets me enter a marketplace where there are other products but they don’t satisfy the needs of certain classes of users.
Let me take a specific example. We have a product – TopicMinder, which can provide you topic based alerts. At a broad level, it can be perceived similar to Google Alerts. However, when you dig deeper, for specific research needs, it is better than Google Alerts. Google Alerts are broad. We are deep. So even though Google Alerts are perceived to be better (and free). We are starting to get users who came to us, because they do not get what they want from Google alerts.