Remember how I always tell you that you must plan to dominate your category?

Well, sometimes this also means deciding on what your core activity is and becoming the leader in that too. I read a great book, maybe 20 years ago, called _The Discipline of Market Leaders_ written by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. In this book, the authors identified three types of positioning that create three types of market leaders.

  • The first one is the product leader. This is where you lead by being the innovative, cutting-edge, blazing-the-trail kind of product. WordPress is a great example of that. They’re the product leader in content management and easy-to-build websites.
  • Then there’s the leader in operational excellence. Here, the focus is on operational efficiencies and the promise of the lowest possible price. The one company owning this positioning is Walmart.
  •  And lastly, there’s the customer intimacy leader. This is where you partner seamlessly with a customer company to provide a service or a capacity for them. And that service then becomes indistinguishable from the actual company itself. Think of hospital management companies that manage the administration of a hospital. Or hotel groups. Or UPS and their relationship with Amazon, where they’re completely integrated into Amazon’s shipping tools.

Now, here’s the thing

Once you start thinking about dominating your industry within the context laid out in this book, you’ll start asking yourself, “How does all this apply to me?”

And the answer you’ll find is quite simple: Look at your capabilities and what you already do as a business. Because that’s where your biggest opportunities actually are… For example, are you more of a “seamless integrator” with the potential to become a customer intimacy leader? Then, maybe focusing on finding more companies that need your service is the next step for you.

Or, perhaps, you have a really innovative product? If that’s the case, then focusing on making it the best it can be and putting all your attention into becoming the product leader is the way to go… And so on. But remember this: No matter what “type” of market leader you choose to be, the only real “secret” in becoming one is picking a single target market… and then planning to dominate it.

Which one of the three types of market leaders are you? 🙂

For more on market leaders and their habits, head to the podcast.