Nearly all businesses wish they had a monopoly in their field, to be the only provider. To not just lead the market, to be the market. It would provide a business with limitless profit potential, even if it didn’t generate advocacy from the customers it extracted profit from.
Because whilst businesses want to monopolise, customers generally hate it when they do. Customers want choice, and choice is good for price. Different providers in the same market create variations to meet individual needs, which generally drives prices down.
And businesses today have to fight harder than ever to catch the customer’s attention, to be heard above the competition, to engage them in “why choose us?”
So perhaps the goal now is to hold a monopoly of the consumer’s mind, rather than on the market. If you think about it, some businesses may have already achieved this with you…
For example, as far as I’m concerned, Heinz are the only makers of tomato ketchup. In my mind no other company makes ketchup. Now, of course I know there are plenty of other brands around, but in my mind Heinz holds the ketchup monopoly. I won’t even consider another brand of ketchup.
Call me small minded, even hypocritical, given that I’ve blogged on several occasions about trying new things and not always sticking with what you like! In my defence, I have tried many other brands and varieties, but for me no other ketchup compares.
There will be many other products and services that have solidified themselves in consumers’ minds to create that “mind monopoly”. Generally, the “mind monopoly” comes about as a result of the consumer’s delight in the quality and originality of a product or service, as opposed to the market monopoly established through the sheer force or scale of a company.
Perhaps that is what businesses should be focused on, rather than spending millions of dollars to display images of their products to potential consumers, fighting for space amongst the countless images and adverts seen every day.
When you think about it, we all work in sales and marketing, no matter what our job. Everything’s a sale. A teacher sells knowledge to students, a politician seeks to sell their policies to the electorate, an artist hopes to sell their work to the world. Whatever the field, they’re all trying to occupy minds whilst simultaneously competing with the rest of the world; a world that also wants to occupy the same minds at the same time.
So you don’t have to be working in a ‘sales’ job to be in sales; we all want the attention of people around us, we all want some space in their mind, and in some cases we want to hold a mind monopoly.
So it might be worthwhile asking yourself what businesses have got a mind monopoly with you, and how have they done that? What is it about their product or service which means that they have a mind monopoly with you?
You may find it a useful process to consider this, and how you could replicate this. How could you refine your product, service or talent in order to establish a mind monopoly?