I observed a particularly interesting phenomenon today and I’m interested in conducting a thought experiment on its applicability to marketing against competition or understanding how a consumer might behave. Bare with me here. Bear with me.
I’m currently enrolled in a class in which, much like every other class on the planet, the instructor gives lessons to the students. However, this class is unique in the sense that most of the students have quickly developed some level of appreciation for the instructor. Some of that appreciation is potentially instilled in us from youth, “respect your teacher!” as we were told. This isn’t particularly the case, because a fair number of us are learning from the course material (ironically) the ramifications of “respect your teacher!” mentality and shifting to a better student-teacher framework. The instructor as an expert in the field, but his expertise doesn’t necessarily correlate with praise nor cause it. More likely an explanation is that the instructor is genuinely interested in each of our own aspirations. Moreover, most of us are paying a fair price to be there and might feel foolish too have spent a large sum of money on something we don’t glorify (the classes are great by the way). Additionally, after a few months, you begin to build some level of liking and trust with the instructor.
There, I just listed five reasons why students might want to stick up for this instructor. So, when a rogue onlooker argues a point made by the instructor, how many students are influenced by some of the above five factors to either argue back at that onlooker or hope for a witty rebuttal from the instructor?
I would say… most of them.
Now let’s apply it to marketing.
If your competition has instilled its branding into their customers, consider this. Replace the instructor with your competitor, the students with your competitors customers. Where do you fit in? That’s right, the rogue onlooker. With all of those barriers potentially built up, you’d better have a hell of a product to win everyone over or try to find the “student’s ditching class” or ones disappointed with their current solutions, because quite frankly, it’s not easy to steal already very satisfied customers. Think Bill Nye or Elon Musk. They’d have to crash or be thoroughly overtaken to be dismantled. Ever wonder how it is MJ was less ridiculed for his behaviors? Or perhaps why Obama’s ratings took so long to decline? They all have fans, and these fans are powerful when the idol (or competitive product) does something really spectacular or useful.
♠ Thoughts of Your Competitors’ Customer’s ♣