Thursday, May 21, 2015

Differentiate your Software
by Being First

"Make a habit to keep on the lookout for novel and interesting ideas that others have used successfully," Thomas Edison said. He was quoted in Jack Trout's book "Differentiate or Die" in support of Trout's argument that being first is a good way to differentiate your company and your products.

Positioning is all about getting into prospects' minds with a defining idea about your software. Naturally, then, if you're the first company to create a particular type of software, this is a good way to differentiate your application.

Buyers have been trained to believe that there are originals, and there are me-too copies. Being first is a position of strength.

Another advantage to being the first to release a particular product is that your product name might become the generic term for all such products. Trout cites Xerox, Kleenex, and Scotch as examples.

The downside, of course, is that it can be difficult to get a new idea accepted in the marketplace. In our software development industry, it's particularly difficult because there is a huge support system that keeps people thinking about existing categories of software. The download sites are divided into categories that are known to most serious software buyers. And software searches on Google tend to use an established list of keywords and key phrases.

If you can stay ahead of imitators, then being first to release a new software product is a great place to be.

Not everybody agrees. For example, in his book "Small is the New Big," Seth Godin said "Web searches, digitally augmented word of mouth, low barriers to entry, and quick speed to market are all conspiring to make 'first and biggest' a pretty old-fashioned strategy."

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