A different kind of market segmentation: – Your reach is no longer about your physical distance from the consumer. It’s almost entirely about whether or not they’ve heard of you and whether or not you are selling what they want. This means that your competitors aren’t the competitors of yesterday and that the very ground you stand on is changing.
Traditionally, if you were the best in town, you had the competitive advantage, and you stayed in business. That “town” is growing at a startling pace: with the Internet at their disposal, consumers increasingly ignore the best company in town, opting instead for the best company in the world.
How can we compete when it’s us against the world?
Change is Here
Seth Godin has called our current recession a “forever recession.” Investors were so uncertain about their future that they clung to the one thing they were sure could never fail, the housing market. We all know how that turned out. As a recent academic paper points out, we are now faced with the realization that the only constant is change.
A different kind of work – The product model is dying and Service is becoming the dominant economic driver. Networks, crowd sourcing, and publicly-operated media are taking on roles once dominated by private businesses. And at the current pace, most changes appear to be sudden and revolutionary, rather than incremental.
Your risk-assessment tools are out of date – ROI and other financial measures are extremely important, but they are losing values. The trouble with traditional financial measures is that they can only be used to measure short-term gains and losses.
Several studies suggest that companies who invest in relationships now tend to do better in the long term. The tools available make it possible, on some levels, to actually measure the strength and reach of relationships in ways that were never possible before.
How do we retool marketing strategies for small business? The only way to respond to these changes is with a change in mindset.
It’s not you against the world – It’s you with the world. If our most important investment in the future is an investment in relationships, we can’t afford to waste our time competing. Competition is about beating enemies. It’s far more important for us to make allies. Who can you partner with to become stronger?
It’s not about hoarding – A brilliant marketing communication strategy is to freely give away knowledge and help. That doesn’t mean you stop charging for your expertise. It means that those who freely share what they know will be the ones to prosper. With a buyer-centric market place, buyers will select from among those who offer help and thus showcase their expertise. What will your next Internet marketing campaign contribute to the world?
It’s not just about being the best – Why are Apple, Facebook, and Zappos winning in the new economy? On some level, they are the only ones in the world doing what they are doing. But they are unique enterprises focused on relationships. Apple sells gadgets – but who doesn’t want to belong to the iClub? Facebook connects the world. And at Zappos, exceptional, relationship-building customer service is the company’s core mission.
How are you staying relevant in the new economy?