The Challenge of Market Leaders


A meeting I had recently with some executives reminded me of something Tom Watson, the man who built IBM, once said. He said a market leader’s greatest enemy is itself.

I agree. I’ve seen it many times. A company gets comfortable with its perch at the top. Complacency sets in. Maybe a little arrogance. The marketing communications effort is cut because they have the market share and the effort “just isn’t necessary.”

Inevitably, that mindset provides an opening for number two to move up, maybe even number three – because as Avis said, they try harder.

Truly great organizations never let up. Never. Even in downturns. And, definitely not when they have a comfortable lead. They know you stay at the top by continuing to do the things that got you there. They know that marketing communications is like engines on an airplane. Shut them off and the plane may continue to fly… for a little while. Just ask Sully.

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3 Responses to “The Challenge of Market Leaders”

  1. The Price of Quality « The Adams Group Blog Says:

    […] to any market leader came not from competitors, but rather from the leader itself (See also market leaders). As of today, Toyota has recalled 8.5 million cars and is suspending production on several models. […]

  2. Wayne Says:

    I think those are great ideas, Casey!

  3. Casey Says:

    The company I work for, Skyline Exhibits & Design, is trying to advocate a similar mindset among our employees. In our conference room we have a quote up on the white board for everyone to see, “Good is the enemy of great.” We keep that quote up there to try to remind ourselves that if we settle for good, we may begin to slip in our service and can be surpassed by companies who are not settling. It’s so easy to get comfortable in the “good” mindset because there is so much going on and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and rationalize that you’re doing the amount of work necessary. We’re planning a seminar series right now and have decided that we have a “good” expected turn-out and are doing a “good” job with our markteting strategies to promote the event. Then, we sat down and discussed whether “good” was enough and how we could become great.

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