Go After Your Competitors

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jul 06, 2015

For an industry that's 99.9% male, there's less testosterone here than the Golden Girl's living room.

Surveillance companies are just irrationally afraid of going after their competitors. And it is a big mistake.

In this note, we explain the benefits of doing so and why the fears are far overstated.

Features and Buzzwords

Most marketing consists of features and buzzwords. We offer XYZ, ABC, IPDD and it delivers IoT, PSIM, convergence, ROI, etc.

The mentality (or hope) is that buyers will look at that and determine that the offering is good, great or at least acceptable to buy. You stay above the fray and do not 'stoop' to attack your competitors.

The meek shall inherit the Earth, but they are not going to get much market share.

They Won't Figure It Out

The problem is most marketing sounds the same. Anyone can pepper in the same buzzwords and acronyms. And so they do.

This requires the buyer to figure out why one pitch is better than the other. Rarely do people have the time and skill to do so. That is why the default option is for either lowest price or strongest brand. Unfortunately, very few companies (manufacturers or integrators) have a powerful enough brand to win on that alone.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

There's literally hundreds of manufacturers to choose from and dozens of integrators in any region, which means most companies are going to be stuck in the middle, without a big enough brand or low enough price to be the 'easy' option.

You Will Be Compared Anyway

The reality is buyers compare your marketing / offering to competitors anyway, typically the lowest cost or biggest brand ones. Failing to go after those competitors clearly and crisply makes it easier for buyers to just default to those choices.

Update: Or worse, as a commenter has pointed out, they will go for the aggressive competitor who will say anything to convince the prospect and then deliver a terrible product or service.

Attracts More Interest

Buyers who may not consider you at all, will be more drawn to consider you if you cite the rival by name, because that rival has a bigger brand. They likely will say, "We are looking at [insert Big Brand Name or Bad Competitor] but this company says there are 5 / 10 / 20 reasons they are better than them. Let's check them out."

Going After Them

Now, you probably are concerned about coming off too strong. Even if it is true, you may not want to say "Avigilon's CEO has the charisma of a cinder block."

But you can be effective by following a few guidelines:

Biggest Competitors

Pick your biggest competitors and target them (e.g., premium cameras - Axis, end to end solutions - Avigilon, mid-tier VMSes - Exacq, etc.) and make clear cases against them.

Be Specific

Do not say vague things like you are 'better' or 'care more' or 'are dedicated'. Cite specific features or elements that you have (whether it is feature sets they do not have, favorable pricing terms or warranty, etc.)

Be Accurate

You better know the details of your competitor offerings or else prospects can easily refute your claims, concluding that you are either fools or charlatans.

Bonus - You Learn

A boxer who simply lift weights and jumps romp, may look good shadow boxing but he will not know if he is any good until he has a real fight. Likewise, a company who engages in fluff, vague marketing will get very little specific feedback. However, if your marketing goes after a specific competitor, you are far more likely to learn about your true competitive positioning as prospects push back against certain elements.

This will help you better understand where you are and are not superior to your toughest competitors. Sometimes this is a very hard lesson as companies tend to overhype themselves, especially with outsider executives. But this is a reality check everyone needs.

The Exception - The Biggest

We think the benefits of going after your competitors applies to 90%+ of companies.

Of course, there are a few exceptions. Axis is likely the most notable. More important than their size is their marketing power. Their marketing is so strong that "neg'ing" a competitor is more likely to help validate and introduce the competitor than simply ignoring them. As such, it is no surprise that Axis almost never mentions or criticizes its competitors by name.

If you asked an Axis executive about Hikvision, you should not be surprised if they respond, "Love their General Tso's chicken" or "My favorite dish there is the moo shu pork." And it is a good tactic for them because even as big as Hikvision is, Hikvision's brand is far less well known or respected in the West than Axis. And why should Axis help indirectly build it up?

However, chances are, even if you are $100 million business, your brand and positioning is still not strong enough to simply rely on feature lists and buzzwords. Take a chance, take aim at your bigger brand competitors and get your word out better.

1 report cite this report:

Pelco Criticizes Arecont's Multi-Imager on Jul 10, 2015
Pelco is rolling out their new multi-imager line and they are taking aim at Arecont. In their new promotion, here is the comparison they...
Comments (22): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Marketing

ADI Battles Manufacturer Partners on Jan 11, 2017
ADI is battling their manufacturer partners, building up their own competitive house brand W-Box, while manufacturers still fund ADI's business...
Exacq 3 Co-Founders Exit on Jan 10, 2017
Exacq co-founders David Underwood and Daniel Rittman have exited the company. UPDATE: And a 3rd co-founder is now also leaving. In this note,...
How Axis Can Beat Hikvision on Jan 09, 2017
Hikvision has rocked the industry globally, bullying former video surveillance revenue leader Axis even in the Western world. What can Axis...
Dahua New Marketing Head Hired From Hanwha / Samsung on Jan 04, 2017
Dahua is bad at marketing. And they are finally taking a step to correct that, hiring Janet Fenner, who joins after 6+ years at Samsung / Hanwha...
Axis Launches A Blog on Dec 22, 2016
Is it 2007 or 2017? Because Axis Communications has just launched a blog. Are they 10 years too late or just right? In this post, we examine...
3VR Sales And Marketing Execs Out, Company Shifting on Nov 22, 2016
Two executives are out at 3VR, both after relatively short tenures at the company. 3VR's CEO says this is part of a shift to cover new markets....
Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing 2016 on Nov 21, 2016
Hikvision has been the top gaining manufacturer in IPVM's annual integrator survey the past 2 years (see 2015 results and 2014 results). Can they...
Sony and Bosch Combine Forces on Nov 15, 2016
Two of the biggest brands in the video surveillance industry are joining forces. Following a wave of industry consolidation and the race to the...
Samsung Brand 'Phasing' Out For Hanhwa Techwin on Nov 14, 2016
The phasing out of the Samsung brand for video surveillance products continues. First, it was the corporate name changing from Samsung Techwin to...
Milestone Launches $50,000 Developer Contest on Oct 26, 2016
Milestone wants independent developers to enhance XProtect. In a hackathon-style contest Milestone is soliciting developers to submit ideas for a...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Canon 250MP Prototype Targeted At Surveillance on Jan 17, 2017
At one point Axis declared the megapixel race was over, but now parent company Canon is showing an imager that would be a rocket ship in a...
Cut in Half, Everfocus Shifts Strategies on Jan 17, 2017
The race to the bottom impact continues. Now, Everfocus, who used to be one of the larger budget providers, is shifting strategies after years of...
Top ISC West 2017 Booth Trends on Jan 16, 2017
There are significant moves among many major manufacturers on the ISC West show floor, and very few prime spaces left unoccupied. In this report we...
Genetec Favorability Results on Jan 16, 2017
In the race to the bottom and flight to 'solutions', Genetec has taken a contrary path. The company remains independent, focusing up market,...
Free VMS Software Directory on Jan 13, 2017
Many Video Management Software (VMS) providers offer free versions, either open source, for a limited number of cameras or for a limited amount of...
Milestone Essential Subscription Removed on Jan 12, 2017
Subscriptions may be the future for Milestone and VMSes but not right now. Responding to negative feedback, Milestone has removed subscriptions...
Alarm Reporting Formats Overview on Jan 12, 2017
Alarm reporting formats are methods for communicating complicated information quickly, using plain old telephone service. It is still the main...
Amazon Sales of Hikvision China Cameras on Jan 12, 2017
Hikvision has become widely available in the US, including on popular retail outlets like Amazon, with over 2,600 results: 4MP Hikvision outdoor...
Last Day IP Networking Course January 2017 on Jan 12, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact