I believe that every major water systems manufacturer now has a variable speed, constant pressure system. I’m often asked, “So, how does Franklin’s variable speed product compare to so-and-so’s product?” After a quick run-down of why I think our variable speed products, service, and support are better, I always add, “But, they aren’t the actual competition.” I generally get a quizzical look to this, and have to explain.
Here’s what I mean. Variable speed, constant pressure products have been around for years. Although it gets better every year, the market penetration still remains relatively low. Most of the pie still belongs to conventional systems that cycle the pressure with a large pressure tank. As a result, the real opportunity with constant pressure isn’t about trying to grab market share from someone else’s constant pressure product. It’s about competing against and articulating the superior benefits of variable speed systems over conventional systems. That’s where the opportunity lies.
Marketing textbooks refer to this as the “threat of substitutes“. That is, not only is your product competing against very similar products, but it’s also competing against alternatives to your product. For example, “It’s not which movie I’m going to, it’s a question of going to a movie or staying home and watching TV.” Constant pressure products are another classic case. The greater competitive threat is the substitute of conventional systems, not other variable speed products.
Having said this, lots of contractors are having remarkable success at selling constant pressure systems against conventional systems. In the coming weeks, I’m going to highlight the opportunity with constant pressure and what I’ve seen that works especially well and why it matters. In the meantime, play with this idea of substitutes and see where it leads.