If you have been doing Developer Advocacy for some time, it’s very likely you heard this question:
“So, how does your solution compare to <insert_competitor_solution>”
This is probably not a question of if (if someone will ask but) but a question of when. This question can be asked at a conference, meetup, workshop, an online forum or even just via email.
There is no right or wrong answer here – as usually in developer advocacy. I want to share some guidelines I shared with my team on how to respond to this question.
Unless you have a deep knowledge of the competitor’s solution and can offer a constructive comparison, don’t offer a comparison. With so many different frameworks, libraries, tools, clouds – it’s not easy to have a strong understanding of how competitor’s products work.
Never bash the competition. It doesn’t make you look good and most likely damages your credibility, reputation and your company’s. It also damages any goodwill you had with the community. It shows weakness.
Here is one example what you could say:
Solution X from company Y is a good solution but because I’m from company Z, I’m most familiar with our solution. You should try both solutions and see which one is a better fit for your particular problem. I’m here to help you. I will guide you and answer any questions you have about our solution. I will show you how it solves your problem.
Here is another approach (can be easily combined with above):
Solution X from company Y is a good solution but because I’m from company Z, I’m most familiar with our solution. Here is how our solution works [short explanation how it solves a particular problem] and these are the benefits [go over the main benefits, not features]. And here is a great resource [tutorial/how-to/video] to help you get started.
Say something positive about the competition (let’s face it, competition is essential) and then move on to talk about value and benefits your solution provides.
There is more than one way to answer this question. I hope this short blog post gives a template that you can customize for your unique situation.