Friday, June 8, 2007

Buckle up....

Okay, here we go....
Have you ever considered what makes the difference between a successful company and one that is simply in the game? What are the essential elements that make the difference - in MBA speak, what are the Key Success Factors (KSFs)? What makes a person in charge a true leader, and just what is required to be a leader? Is authority the same as leadership? How about control - is controlling the same as leading? How does a company grow? Does a company need to grow? What is marketing? What is branding? What is relationship selling? What about strategy? Does a company need a strategy or a business plan?

These are the types of questions to explore at BizInsight. My mission is to always be talking about the latest thinking in business...and I know what you're thinking. Some of these questions I've listed are pretty fundamental and you're absolutely right. But, most of the time the latest thinking is just about applying the fundamentals in a different way. Most Key Success Factors are basic. I'll give a brief example:

The Ford Mustang was a paradigm buster when it was realeased in 1964 by visionary Lee Iacocca. It went on to sell a million units by 1966 - let's just say the car went on to be wildly successful. Was the muscle car concept new? No! Does the name Corvette ring a bell? What was new was the concept of a powerful street car the average guy could afford. The price point was a KSF. One of the key tools of marketing is Price, but we can't always think of price in terms of 'lower is better'. Not when we're marketing a product or service.

We have to think of Price as one component of the marketing mix, and it must be aligned with all the other components. For example, the price must match the brand position of the product or service. Lee Iacocca defined a new niche with the Mustang. The car was much more powerful than the Corvair or the Falcon so it had to be priced higher than those cars. But, it was no match for the Corvette in performance, and was therefore priced lower. Had the Price of the Mustang been inconsistent with its Brand Position (ie, affordable muscle car) it would have surely failed. Did Mr. Iacocca create a new marketing concept with the Mustang? No, he applied a fundamental concept in a new way and created a successful niche. Okay, a very successful niche.

And so, a little history helps us see the importance of applying conventional business insight in a new way to solve the challenges of the day. Whenever I present a post on the the latest in business thinking; I'll always present in the context of applying fundamental concepts in new ways.

3 comments:

Voice of Reason said...

Could you describe to me how the traditional tradeshow and emerging live events tools are progressing as a more or less effective promotional medium? Also, how is an event such as All Things Digital a wave of the future for products, technologies and ideas?

kingm said...

Well this is a great couple of questions. The live-event remains an extremely effective way to gain awareness of a product; be it a good, service or personal brand. There are several different types of live-events utilized for promotional purposes including product launches, executive conferences, user’s groups, sales meetings, charity fund raisers and trade shows. Some other names are used, but these are the primary event structures. I’ll use the D: All Things Digital conference since this exclusive executive conference is a perfect example of an event done right.

While the live-event itself is a strong promotional lever, recent evolution in integrated marketing has led to improvements in the impact of an event. While websites, print advertising, billboard signage, save-the-date cards, email newsletters and direct mail are still utilized, there are several additional levers in play now; short term blogging, viral videos, private digital signage, Smart Ads, and guerilla marketing. Some of these new tools, when used as part of an integrated strategy, will extend the effective length of the event and increase its relevance and impact. All Things Digital is utilizing several of these elements to this very end. While the Show has been over for two weeks, as of this writing, a viral video from the conference has been the number 1 downloaded video on i-tunes. The allthingsd.com website keeps the event fresh and serves as a forum for continued discussion. In their own words, the hosts of D describe the site this way; “The conference has been a big hit, but it has only been open to about 500 people a year. With this free Web site, we hope to open the conversation to everyone.” The Columnists, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swischer, and their personal brands are largely responsible for why the conference is a venue for highlighting the new products, technologies and ideas of the future. I’m going to elaborate further on the impact of today’s live-event as an integral element of effective promotions in an upcoming post. I hope I’ve answered your questions and stimulated some new ones….

Voice of Reason said...

Thank you. I see the use of more integrated marketing as you have described. For many marketing professionals, it is similar to what took place in the late 90's with web technology. Now, you must be current with the web tools and how they can be used in an integrated plan. It took some time, but we are starting to see the ROI on many web investments of years past and some current to the benefit of their adopters.