Consider this quote from Seth Godin :
I did a gig in New York today about the Dip and it went really well. Afterward, someone asked me a question about his new business.
I asked back, “if you accomplish that, will you be seen by your audience as the best in the world, or will you be seen as doing your best?”
He didn’t have to answer. He got it.
If you’re doing your best, only your AYSO soccer coach cares. If you’re the best in the world, the market cares. The secret, if you have limited resources (don’t we all) is to make ‘world’ small enough that you can actually accomplish that.
If you are a small company in a market traditionally dominated by old industry, then you don’t have the economies of scale (to compete on price ) or research resources ( to compete on technological upgrades), yet.
So you dole out a costlier but still a quality product out in the market, the only place that you can differentiate is the customer service in this scenario. You have to be known as the best in the “world” for customer service. Then the “world” becomes that market segment who care about such a service than the best technology or price.
So this will bring you the resources to focus on the next most important thing in the roster. The product (or the service ) itself. Once you succeed within your initial “world” , you can now focus on improving the boundaries of your world to include those who care about the technology, the design and performance of the product in itself.*
This will bring you even more resources to focus on the most important weapon to compete in the mass market – the price (or ) the economies of scale. This still doesn’t mean, that you have to price your service or product in the easily affordable category, you could very well put it in the range of “aspirational” , provided you have taken care of the first two “worlds” very well and by ‘very well’ , I mean being the best in the world.
*It is very important to note here that the first two “worlds” are very interchangeable indeed , you can start to focus on amazing customer experience or a great product as the top priority, since these worlds are often overlapping to a great extent.