If your business isn’t totally irrelevant or focused on such a tight niche no one would think of considering your business model, you do have to worry about the top players in your field. Those strong companies owning huge chunks of your market’s share and having dizzying budgets to play with in each department. While you choose field related events carefully, trying to maximize exposure and awareness and leads, they can go to all of them and be one of the big sponsors.
But is this reason enough for you to fear them? I’d say no and explain why based on an example. Company X is relatively a new comer in a certain segment of the software development market. An important partner of theirs tells them about this huge event they should take part in. Attendance isn’t cheap at all, but there are major benefits. They’ll have a nice presentation that can target one third of the even visitors, they have a nice booth and some promotion from the event organizers and a number of complimentary invitations that they can send out to their potential customers. Sounds like a plan! But which are the downsides? The largest player in this segment is also attending. They have about 10 presentations, not just one, strong promotion and great placement. Company X therefore decides to attend the event, but not to use the available invitations.
Company X thought that, by not inviting potential customers in the first place, they will not be exposed to their competitor’s solution. But as it is an important event, what happens if they do come anyway. They will still be reached by the competitor’s message. But instead of hearing it while focusing on finding out more on the alternative the company making the invitations has to offer, there will be no special interest in one product or the other.
Could they have planned something better? They had two choices: either not attend, as spending an important sum without having all the benefits is a bit of a waste. Or, if they attended, use the invitations. It is better to address a public that has already heard of you and, moreover, attends a certain event at following your invitation, than trying to convince those who have no idea who you are that you’re better than your competitor. Moreover, when inviting potential customers, the company can also make appointments for one-on-one meetings.
Competition is a factor one should always keep a close eye on. It should never be feared, because fear leads to bad decisions, such as running away and hiding. If you cannot be a mighty strong player, then play smart. A message in itself is more important than the number of times it is being repeated. One clear, powerful and very attractive presentation, backed by easy to spot, measure and compare benefits, is enough to stand tall among dozens of other marketing schemes.