Expert's Panel

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    What if you have to go head-to-head with an established competitor on his own turf. How would you position yourself?

  1. You have to figure out what you can do better than that competitor. Nobody does it perfectly and there are always openings that can be identified. Turn your focus to your positive differentiation for that very specific customer. Also, assess why your current customers buy from you. Within that context there are likely answers. If this, however, is a market you are just entering, I would suggest that you reconsider. Can you afford the cost and will you be successful under such taxing circumstances?
  2. Building off that final comment, do you know how large Applied’s Intel account team was during the peak years? 1,300 people. There is no other company around that can afford to compete with that. While this wouldn’t likely work at Intel, for some of the smaller customers you can play up to the arrogance issue, however. The customer may prefer to deal with you versus the 800 lb. gorilla.
  3. Are any of you aware of the Damscus Alliance. At least in front-end tools there is a real value in having integrated processing assurance. When Novellus did not have all of the technology it went out and found selected companies with solutions. Forming an alliance, they could collectively provide a solution that allowed them to compete with the established competitor. Their setup is a “configurable alliance”, depending upon what process you select, different companies may be part of it.
  4. The most important question in marketing is “Why should I buy your product? “. In this particular case a really compelling answer is the 800lb. gorilla is going to wipe the floor with you (the customer) . . . period.
  5. With materials it always comes down to two things, product differentiation or price. You better have one of the two. If you don’t have product differentiation that is attractive to the customer and you don’t have a better price, get out of that market! If you do, however, have a better answer in one of the two areas it comes down to selling. Get the message out –it is basic and simplistic.