The Real Competition Is Clutter : Marty Neumeier

Neumeier explained the competition in his book ZAG with altogether different approach. Traditionally substitute of your product or services are considered the competition.

But Neumeier analysed it in terms of multiple variables apart from traditional defined definition of competition.

He explained the clutter and established the point that real competition is various type of clutters. Here I am sharing you the excerpt from his book.

We not only live in a world of FASTER, we live in a world of MORE. Traditional marketing strategists tend to frame the competition in terms of other offerings in the same category (i.e., other sports cars).

When they think outside the box, they may even include offerings in tangent categories (i.e., sporty sedans and motorcycles).

But today’s real competition—competition that’s so pervasive we can’t even see it—doesn’t come from direct or even indirect competitors. It comes from the extreme clutter of the marketplace.

When John Wannamaker launched the first department store in 1876, he opened the door to wider customer choice, and our choices have been multiplying ever since. By the time Moore’s Law was established in 1965, the average supermarket carried 20,000 items.

Now we can choose from among 40,000 items or more. In 2005 alone, 195,000 book titles were published, adding to the four million already in print. In the same year, 40 billion product-jammed catalogs were published in the United States, which amounts to 134 catalogs for every man, woman, and child.

In the financial sector, more transactions were recorded in a single day of 2005 than in all of 1965. These are all examples of PRODUCT CLUTTER. Each product and service is defined by its features, which offers more scope for

of a 2006 cell phone to see what’s possible when engineers put their minds to it. This is an example of FEATURE CLUTTER, which comes from the type of straight-line thinking that says more is always better. With a growing list of features, companies are naturally more eager to communicate the resulting benefits.

This has led to a reported 3,000 marketing messages per day, per person—up from 1,500 at the time of Moore’s Law. Yet our ability to pay attention to marketing messages hasn’t grown at all.

The number of messages we can take in, according to The American Association of Advertising Agencies, is still less than 100 per day.

Not surprisingly, two-thirds of Americans complain that they feel “constantly bombarded” by ADVERTISING CLUTTER.

Research shows that most commercial messages contain too many elements, all competing with one another for our understanding. And the elements themselves may be uninteresting, unclear, or off-message.

When CEOs say they know that half of their advertising money is wasted—they just don’t know which half—it may be the half that’s spent on MESSAGE CLUTTER.

Finally, technology and competition have resulted in MEDIA CLUTTER. In 1960 there were 8,400 magazine titles, 440 radio stations, and 6 television channels.

Today there are 12,000 magazine titles, 13,500 radio stations, and 85 television channels, as well as 25,000 Internet broadcast channels that didn’t exist before Moore’s Law.

Back then, television networks competed with other television networks.

Today, thanks to our multi-tasking-speed-obsessed culture, they also compete for our time against the computer, the magazine, and the MP3 player.

Despite a 75% increase in advertising, evidence shows we’re paying less attention to any given product, service, message, or medium.

In an article titled “Complexities of Choice,” adwriter Glory Carlberg offered an explanation: “Years ago, the exponents of good merchandising pointed out that in giving a choice you made it more difficult for the prospective buyer to say no.

However, it is just possible that today’s range of choices may so confuse the buyer that he or she will put up with the old model rather than decide which is the best of the 23 varieties advertised.”

She wrote that article in 1965. Ironically, when companies are faced with competition from too many products, services, features, messages, meanings, or media, their first reaction is to fight clutter with more clutter. It’s like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

Summery: Marketplace Clutter Takes 5 Forms:

PRODUCT CLUTTER. Too many products and services.

FEATURE CLUTTER. Too many features in each product.

ADVERTISING CLUTTER. Too many media messages.

MESSAGE CLUTTER. Too many elements per message.

MEDIA CLUTTER. Too many competing channels.

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