How to Position a Technology Product
By Judith Uttal
The Company, a supplier of network adapter boards for enterprise data centers, found itself in a maturing market consisting of two merging technologies. Specialized high end storage networking technologies were being combined with Ethernet connectivity, the ubiquitous enterprise network of choice. The Company had historically split specialized storage connectivity applications with one other competitor, and now faced that supplier along with two other very large competitors already dominating Ethernet adapter board sales. The primary channel to market for all suppliers was OEM server designs with connectivity vendor preference specified by data center managers.
Due to leadership in the merged technology approach, the Company found itself quickly gaining share in the Ethernet adapter market, particularly at the high end. Although happy with share growth, Company management was concerned about the profit implications of the competitive and commoditized Ethernet market. Company marketing felt that storage heritage was a niche advantage, fleeting at best, and decided to invest in a project to craft a broader value proposition based on a sustainable basis of competitive differentiation. The Company’s Ethernet products needed to be positioned in the buyer’s mind in a way that continued to drive share growth and protected price.