There are three “I”‘s of every product category: the Innovator, the Imitator and the Idiot. You can clearly see this pattern in any product category.
Why it Happens
There are many reasons that products follow a herd mentality.
– Strategic reasons (ie to cover a flank).
– Desperation (ie we are failing and have no better idea).
– Bad Timing (ie we were planning a similar product unknowingly and they beat us to market)
– Ego (ie I am awesome and I can do the same thing better)
Once one company in a particular space shows success, the Imitator quickly follows and then the Idiots enter. This strategy rarely works for the 4th or 5th entry. No industry is big enough to support that many products. The common theme among most of these entrants is that their product is a “me too.”
What’s a “Me Too”?
If you try a product and can’t clearly and compellingly understand within the first 30 seconds how it is different then the market leader…that’s a Me Too product. It should be obvious within seconds why someone should switch from the leader to your product. Or at the least clear to a non-user of the market leader why they should choose your product over the leader.