Renee Prejean-Motanky

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Once Again, Seth Godin Says It Perfectly!

In Communications, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on December 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm


by: Seth Godin

Digital media expands. It’s not like paper, it can get bigger.

As digital marketers seek to increase profits, they almost always make the same mistake. They continue to add more clutter, messaging and offers, because, hey, it’s free.

One more link, one more banner, one more side deal on the Groupon page.

Economics tells us that the right thing to do is run the factory until the last item produced is being sold at marginal cost. In other words, keep adding until it doesn’t work any more.

In fact, human behavior tells us that this is a more permanent effect than we realize. Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.

And it’s hard to go backward.

More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.

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In Business Development, Business Strategies, marketing, Marketing Plan on December 1, 2010 at 3:18 am

 If the ongoing stream of news about economic recovery is tempting businesses to breathe a sigh of relief, that’s a mistake!

Being number one or number two is vital to gaining the scale and profile that generates profitable growth in a marketplace.  So, if you are stuck in the middle of the pack, it’s time to redefine your market if your goal is future growth. No need to be trapped by existing market definitions.  First, figure out what needs to be done, then act upon it.

To redefined your market for growth, you must first challenge your existing assumptions.  For example:

  1. Are you currently limited by your assumptions about geographical reach?
  2. The Products and service you offer?
  3. The types of customers you are targeting?
  4. The technology you will deploy?
  5. Your existing operational capacity and capability?

The second stage is to develop what if scenarios for potential new market assumptions.  Identify what new opportunities, risks and/or threats could emerge from these changes and determine the fit of your existing capabilities with these potential business ideas.

If new capabilities are required, ask what options exist for building them?  Businesses fall into the trap of competing within the status quo, when to be successful we ought to be reinventing the rules of the game.  The companies that capture the lion’s share of the marketplace are those that help customers realize wants and needs they didn’t even know they had.  In other words, by challenging the assumptions of their industries, these companies are propelled to greatness.  They have no competition, because they have redefined the essence of  their product or service.

Following are some great examples of what three well-known businesses did:

Southwest Airlines plane
Image via Wikipedia
  1. Southwest Airlines.  Airlines are notorious for price competition — a dangerous trap many businesses fall into with their competitors.  Southwest took a completely different approach to attracting customers by focusing on a target market all other airlines had previously ignored.  Southwest didn’t compete head-to-head against other airlines by offering better meals or other incentives.  Instead, it attracted those who typically drove to their destinations by making flying closer to driving… It offered the speed of the airplane with the economics and flexibility of driving.  The result? A profitable and healthy airline at a time when others are struggling to keep from closing their doors.
  2. Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...
    Image via CrunchBase

    When Steve Jobs returned to run Apple in the late 1990s, he faced a personal computer business that had been out-gunned by Microsoft.  Since then Jobs has transformed Apple from a niche player focused on dedicated Mac users, to a global powerhouse that has created an ecosystem of providers and partners dedicated to bringing the best digital-based products and services to everyone.  Apple’s release of the iPod back in 2001 when most of us were carrying around clunky CD players and purchasing 12 songs at a time by one artist, Apple redefined how we access music.  With iTunes and the iPod, the marketplace changed dramatically.  We still receive the same end product — personal music, but with the added convenience of a “skip-free” interface the size of a tube of lipstick.  We can purchase one song at a time for .99 or $1.29 each.  When Apple launched the iPod there was virtually no competition.  Consumer access to music was exponentially increased.  While costs diminished substantially.  Rather than compete with the recording industry, Apple created its own industry and rewrote the rules.  Apple has used third parties to create the systems that underpin many of its products and services.  Most innovative, the company has generated a new industry focused on the development of iPhone applications.

  3. An example of a Trader Joe's storefront
    Image via Wikipedia

    Trader Joe‘s

    has redefined the neighborhood specialty supermarket experience for its customers.  AT Trader Joe’s, listening to customers –and their valued feedback– is not about a carefully calibrated contact center or extensive customer research. Rather, it’s about something much more simple, and simply human: a conversation among the customer and the “captains” and “crew members,” as its Hawaiian shirt-clad managers and employees are called.  In the end, Trader Joe’s business model allows it to respond to customer feedback in ways that other supermarkets cannot.   Suppliers do not pay stocking fees or “rent,” to place products on Trader Joe’s shelves, a widespread industry practice that’s anything but customer-focused.  With drastically smaller square footage and inventories than typical grocery stores, the company removes items that don’t sell well to make room for new products.  In a sense, Trader Joe’s entire inventory is the result of listening to customers –both their feedback and their dollars.  “We like to think of Trader Joe’s as an economic food democracy.” says management.

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