Welcome to “StrategyFirst” – a new blog with a fresh look at the world of marketing. We’ll examine top stories from leading businesses and marketing publications with a unique focus on extracting actionable insights, and how to leverage these new ideas to adapt your business and marketing strategy to create the most value for customers, stakeholders and shareholders.
Today, the revolutionary changes in the world around us pose additional risks and opportunities. We see channels collapse through disintermediation as media proliferates exponentially. While we focus on disruption from within our industry, the knockout innovation comes from outside players. Borderless markets help us improve supply chain and labor options as they simultaneously commoditize our products and services. All this as our customers gain more power with access to everything all the time.
Being nimble is no longer an option… it’s essential to survival. That is why it is imperative to get back to the one constant that remains the core driver of business and marketing success… Strategy.
To prove my point, my first blog focuses on a historic Harvard Business Review article written over half a century ago by Theodore Levitt – “Marketing Myopia” – At some point in its development, every industry can be considered a growth industry, based on the apparent superiority of its product. But in case after case, industries have fallen under the shadow of mismanagement. What usually gets emphasized is selling, not marketing. This is a mistake, since selling focuses on the needs of the seller, while marketing concentrates on the needs of the buyer.
In this article, Levitt writes:
- Mismanagement occurs when Selling is emphasized over Marketing.
- For companies to ensure continued evolution, they must define their industries broadly to take advantage of growth opportunities.
- An organization must learn to think of itself not as producing goods or services but as doing the things that will make people want to do business with it. (i.e. Market Driven)
Today, we see that Levitt remains correct for his time, however we have new approaches to business and marketing strategy that is based upon disruption of technologies, markets and channels. The single actionable insight to focus on is: Companies today have two choices to concentrate their business and marketing strategy around. While both solve problems or challenges of the marketplace, how you get there is completely different and one (market driving) typically enjoys a more robust growth path.
A Market Driven Strategy
- – research based, clearly defined and segmented product and services that meet specific market needs.
A Market Driving Strategy
- – company created products and services that identify new needs, wants and desires in the marketplace.
To help assess how to move, if desired, from a market driven model to a market driving model I present my version of a modified “two by two” that helps executives focus themselves and their team on amplifying their strategy with clarity. This “Current State/Future State” side-by-side comparison becomes an easy way to develop consensus within your organization to adapt nimbly and effectively to the desired changes you want implement.
Current State/Future State Modeling
In this example, assume you wanted to be the next Apple Computer of your market or industry and you are ready to begin the journey and become a Market Driving Brand. What would you do internally to ensure success?
|Current State (Market Driven)||Future State (Market Driving)|
|Research based modeling||Predictive analytics modeling|
|Adapt and/or enhance competitive offerings||Build and test new innovative offerings|
|Focus inside industry for trends||Focus outside industry for trends|
|Innovation is ad hoc||Innovation is a process|
|Leadership by committee||Leadership by Chief Innovation Officer|
|Product/features innovation||Value innovation|
|Respond to market||Shape market through buyer learning|
|Brand differentiation||Brand distinctiveness|
|Reactive culture||Disruptive culture|
|Rigid methodology||Agile methodology|
|Static state of operations||Dynamic state of operations|
|Internal team||Outsourced and insourced team|
This simple Current State/Future State modeling is the cornerstone of the Marketing Department Roadmap I use when helping companies define their operational and team structure to deliver on the future business and marketing strategies that will accelerate growth and improved marketing ROI.
Question of the Week:
After you read Marketing Myopia bring your leadership team together and ask one simple question – “What business are you in?” I think you will be surprised at the lack of consensus that exists and it will assist in creating focus and purpose. You may also want to define if and why you are a Market Driven or Market Driving Company.
I hope you are stimulated by the issues and opportunities communicated within… the future changes rapidly, but if you can remain steadfast to your core strategy, you won’t get lost in the ever changing tactics we must use to drive our strategies forward.