First person thoughts from one of our co-founding partners, Sharon Couts:
I've been in the public relations field for over 15 years. I know what competition is when you're vying to secure for minutes of TV or radio or space in the local print publication or blog for a client. You have to have a good story to tell to beat out the competition.
Our Jag product launched six months ago. There have been a vast number of improvements since then and we're still adding more. Our goal is to be THE ONE SOLUTION for any chamber, association or business who does digital marketing. We're a startup... that's a simple fact. We are growing and expanding!
So when your biggest competition (in the membership world) starts copying your ideas... should I feel flattered or frustrated? I guess that depends on your story!
Our story began with complaints that Chambers were experiencing with our competitors. Old code, websites that would go down, bad customer service, etc. We were asked if we could create something new and fresh! With my business partner and husband having over 20 years of coding experience within nine languages, of course, the answer was, "Yes! We're almost done with it, just need feedback!" And Jag was launched a few months later.
Our competitor got first wind of Jag in October last year at a local state conference. Their representative never bothered to walk up to the booth and introduce themselves, instead, they would sneak by, take photos and flyers to see what Jag was all about. We were OK with that. When we sponsored a Chamber conference at the silver level, they upped their sponsorship from the bronze to silver level at the same conference. Fine. We're ok with that too.
Now, six months later, they announce a software upgrade. Their registration process used to be a long-form that Chamber members would have to fill out. We ourselves, members of many chambers, hated filling out that form. We decided to make it a step-by-step process. Chambers love it! Our report charts are colorful and one chamber called them, "pretty." Well, guess who now has a step-by-step registration process and pretty charts. Yep, you guessed it... our biggest competitor in the Chamber world!! We are also hearing that they are calling all of their current clients, giving them discounts and helping them through the frustrations they were having.
So should we be mad? NO! Should we be frustrated? Maybe a little. Should we be flattered? Why yes! Our biggest competitor is copying our ideas! They are increasing their customer service. Coincidence? Nope. The biggest indicator is their registration form going from long-form they had been using since 2006 to step-by-step form JUST LIKE JAG, which we've done from the beginning - long before we launched six months ago!!
We aren't scared of the competition copying us. You hear it all the time! Will it make it harder to maybe convert their clients, possibly, but Jag offers so much more than the competitors! Jag is your one solution that gets rid of all third-party solutions. Jag is more than a membership and event management tool, it's a digital marketing platform that allows chambers and businesses to manage their members/customers/donors. Jag offers:
The thing is, Jag is just getting started! We are taking input from chambers and business across the country. We recently on-boarded a title company out of Florida; a Chamber out of Colorado and Texas; and a coffeehouse in Algona. We also have a career coach and department of licensing office onboard as well! We have amazing customer service. One chamber said just recently this week, "I get my support ticket answered with 38 minutes, unbelievable what I used to go through!"
So... Should we be worried? Let the competition copy us. They may own the market for now but we're the new kid on the block and WE LOVE COMPETITION and building the best product available and we're doing this by listening to our current and potential customers!! We know we aren't perfect YET but soon we will be the best product on the market and we cost less than the competition, ask the analyst firms that are picking us such as, Gartner. Oh, we're certified PCI-DSS compliant!