Strategies for Competing in Emerging Online Industry

Dealing with all the risks and opportunities of an emerging and ever changing online industry is one of the most challenging business strategy problems. To be successful in an emerging online industry companies usually have to pursue one or more of the following tactical avenues.

  1. Try to win the early race for industry leadership with risk-taking entrepreneurship and bold, creative strategy. A few good examples are Google, Apple regardless how many other companies have tried to compete with them they have not succeeded. Broad or focused differentiation strategies keyed to technological or product superiority typically offer the best chance for early competitive advantage.
  2. Push to perfect the technology aspects, to improve products or service quality, and to develop additional attractive performance features.  For instance adding new functionality features to your website such as live chat, 24-hours support phone etc., can tremendously help your chances in staying competitive.
  3. As Web 2.0 technological uncertainty clears and a dominant technology emerges, adopt bearer on expertise and to pioneer the dominant product design, businesses have to beware of betting too heavily on their own preferred technological approach or product design — especially when there are many competing technologies, research and development is costly, and technological developments can quickly move in a surprising new directions.
  4. Form strategic alliances with key influencers in your industry to gain access to specialized skills, technological capabilities, and critical materials or components.
  5. Acquire or form alliances with businesses that have related or complementary technological expertise so as to outcompete rivals on the basis of technological superiority. If you are a PR marking company try reaching out to high-tech web development agencies and collaborate or share resources with current clients.

Try to capture any first-mover advantages associated with early commitments to promising technologies, allying with most capable influencers, expanding product/service selection, improving styling, capturing experience curve effects, and getting well positioned in new distribution channels. Facebook , Twitter are the perfect examples of first mover advantage. Facebook not only swept MySpace out of its own business model but it created something what we now call “social media”. Facebook may have been the second or third after MySpace or Zynga but they made it into a first mover advantage.