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

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...
"WTF?!?!? Who is Brian Karas?!?" Exclaims Knightscope on Oct 21, 2016
Knightscope co-founder Stacy Stephens emailed us: He may not have intended to send it to us and he probably can figure out who Brian Karas is,...
IHS Sells Credibility To Manufacturer Sponsorships on Oct 18, 2016
A valuable manufacturer opportunity or a conflict of interest? Trade magazines have long offered promotional whitepapers and webinars to...
No Marketing Gimmick, Sharp Security Robot Targets Professional Market on Oct 17, 2016
Security robots are getting a lot of attention. Unfortunately, this is often for wrong reasons, most spectacularly highlighted by the Knightscope...
The 'Last Chance to Save' On Hikvision Is Here on Sep 29, 2016
It is over. After at least 8 across the board price cuts in the past 10 months, including an unprecedented back to back 20% off, Hikvision has...
How To Become an 'Expert' In An Hour on Sep 02, 2016
If you want to be perceived as an expert in your market, speak at every event possible... the math is simple: when someone stands in front of an...
Axis Takes Over Canon Surveillance Sales and Marketing on Sep 01, 2016
The wasteful Axis / Canon conflict is ending. After more than a year of Canon's video surveillance group competing with Axis, Canon...
How Much Axis and Avigilon Pay For Sales And Marketing Per Camera on Sep 01, 2016
When you buy an Axis or Avigilon camera, how much of that goes to pay sales and marketing expenses? Is it trivial like $2 or $3? Or is it far...
Get End User Leads for Just $997 A Month on Aug 31, 2016
Scam or opportunity? As trade mags continue to suffer from the decline of print media, they are scrounging for new ways to make money. Rather than...
Integrators Vs Manufacturers Direct To End Users on Aug 31, 2016
Many manufacturers have increasingly large and hungry sales forces that call on more and more end users. One recent example is Axis ~$20 Billion...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Dahua Says They Are Botnet Attack 'Victims' on Oct 26, 2016
'Victim' or 'accomplice'? Dahua has issued a new press release, referring to their products as 'victims' of the massive botnet attacks hitting the...
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...
Smart H.265 Samsung Test on Oct 26, 2016
In our first test of H.265 cameras (including Samsung and Vivotek), H.265 benefits were essentially nil, both versus leading H.264 cameras and,...
The Xiongmai Botnet 'Recall' Will Not Work on Oct 25, 2016
The Xiongmai 'recall' has been the topic of global news, following the unprecedented bot net attacks that use their equipment, among...
Hikvision Partners With Intel Movidius For Artificial intelligence Cameras on Oct 25, 2016
The world's largest camera manufacturer is partnering with the worlds largest semiconductor company to create a series of intelligent...
Intel Movidius Targets Video Surveillance Market on Oct 25, 2016
The most commonly used chips in IP cameras come from Ambarella, Hisilicon or TI. Now, Movidius, who Intel announced acquiring in September, is...
Favorite Access Control 2016 on Oct 25, 2016
Integrators told us "What is your favorite access control management software/system? Why?", and the responses are interesting indeed. While no...
Video Surveillance Manufacturers Risk Lawsuits For Botnet Attacks on Oct 24, 2016
The unprecedented scale of internet outages on October 21st from botnet attacks risk triggering lawsuits against video surveillance manufacturers,...
Mobile VMS Top Integrator Problems on Oct 24, 2016
In an IPVM survey, integrators report 4 problems most consistently with using mobile VMS applications: Network setup / cybersecurity...
Chinese Company Xiongmai Threatens Legal Action Against Western Accusers on Oct 24, 2016
The Chinese video surveillance manufacturer, Xiongmai, whose equipment numerous sources blame for driving massive Internet attacks over the past...

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