Edited excerpt from Mint Sales and Marketing: How Mint Beat Wesabe by Noah Cagan:
We spent countless weeks figuring out what people really wanted before we launched our beta. Guess who we found out Mint’s biggest competitor was? No one. Apathy. This shocked me! Most people would rather not track anything and just see how they are doing when they go to the ATM. Guess who was #2? Ms Money, Intuit, Wesabe? NOPE. Microsoft Excel. Who would have believed that!
Learning about all this provided us with the messaging, approach and branding to appeal to the right audience. Internally and externally we were similar to Firefox in saying “take back your money.”
(1) I bet this is true for most disruptive startups — the real challenge is creating a compelling user experience, rather than being incrementally better than an existing competitor.
(2) This is why “worry more about your customers than your competitors” is good advice.