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posted by Kevin Smith Apr 19,2017 @ 04:19PM

The Greed Trap

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The most revolutionary products fulfill a previously unmet need. I recall my first iPod. I never considered that every cassette, album and CD I had ever owned might fit in my pocket. With the iPod came the end of a lifelong search for the ideal music storage vehicle. 

Once they breakthrough, great products work to maintain their established beachhead. That means refining or evolving their products or services to continue to solve people's problems. In the best instances, these are problems people didn't even know they had.

In my case, now that I had all my music in my pocket, why not add my calendar, address book and phone to the mix. This kind of focus endears brands to us and forms tribes of loyalists. This is the path to category leadership, and with it comes imitators.

Next comes a crucial intersection:

  1. Take the difficult route: Continue to solve different but related problems. Limit profits by budgeting for major investments in top talent, research and development and the launch of new product lines.
  2. Go mass: Sacrifice the affinity of your base by making your product or service more affordable, thereby growing your audience.
  3. Take advantage of new revenue streams: Allow your product or service to become a means to other passive income. This typically involves taking advantage of your customers' needs or weaknesses instead of continuing problem solve for them.

Very few companies choose option A. It's not just because it is difficult; the allure of ever expanding profits is just too great. Businesses become so obsessed with growth that they cause their own undoing. I call this the greed trap.

The proliferation of social networks, constant texts and email notifications has tethered us to our cell phones. Data plans, streaming content and constant communications have lead to an "always-on" lifestyle. Adults and children alike have a growing compulsion for screen time. Being away from our phones causes separation anxiety. We are addicted – and the resulting behavior is pretty ugly.

In the 1950s and 60s people walked around smoking. There were ashtrays everywhere: on elevators, in cars, in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants. Instead of smoking, what do you see people doing in these same places today? The smartphone industry isn't solving problems anymore; it's creating them.

The greed trap is a failure to think strategically and act responsibly. It happens when companies and their leaders stop thinking about their clients and focus on themselves. Eventually, the result is backlash. We're just beginning to see this with cell phones, and I predict a serious increase of it in the future.

Here are three questions you might consider when planning for your organization:

  1. What problem does our company solve for its clients?
  2. How would our customers be impacted if your organization closed its doors?
  3. What common customer issues in our space remain unsolved?

Asking yourself, your colleagues and your customers questions like these are the key to sustainable growth and customer retention. Take the time to answer them and your next step will be profitable for both you and your customer.

posted by Will Weatherly Mar 22,2017 @ 02:16PM

Think Slow

I own a copy of a New York Times Bestseller by a Winner Of The Nobel Prize in Economics (sounds impressive, huh?). “It’s fantastic!” That’s what all the reviews and podcasters say. I wouldn’t know yet. It’s been on my desk and my “next” list for a while now.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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The title alone got me to buy it, because it is the idea of fast-vs-slow thinking that’s been on my mind when it comes to making great marketing.

See, in a few weeks, a team of us from Riggs will be visiting the DIGSOUTH conference in Charleston. The digital wave is advancing our field faster than ever, and change is the status quo. Waves are scary, but they're also exhilerating. We’re pumped. 

Looking over the conference topics, it hits me just how much is happening all around us right now:

  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Predictive Data Analytics
  • Internet of Things
  • Geo-Mobile
  • 24/7 Live Steaming
  • Digital Automation

 And all of this forces a lot of fast twitch thinking for marketers:

  • What’s new?
  • What’s now?
  • What’s next?
  • Do this?
  • Do that?
  • Click.
  • Post.
  • Share.
  • Like.

Confession? It can get a bit frenetic and pretty overwhelming.

Now, alongside all this, the very same week DIGSOUTH is tackling all that’s new and next, there’s another event going on in Atlanta. It’s a customer experience (“CX”) journey mapping workshop by Strativity’s Journey Management Academy.

If “journey mapping” isn’t on your radar yet, that’s okay. CX is still an emerging though rapidly growing field. Here’s a definition from Harvard Business Review:

“A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.” - https://hbr.org/2010/11/using-customer-journey-maps-to

In essence, journey mapping is taking inventory. In our omnichannel world, it’s becoming all the more relevant. This process of auditing every customer touchpoint can take days; require input from all corners of an organization; and involve hundreds if not thousands of Post-it notes.

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It’s slow. It’s methodical. It’s disciplined. It’s full and deep and complex.

Sound painful? Consider this...

Digital innovation is rapidly increasing the number of customer touchpoints. This exponentially increases the need for strong, creatively differentiating brand experiences. There’s never been a greater need for marketers to slow down before going fast. To get clarity before getting creative. 

The best fast thinking is built on a foundation of slow thinking.

So, have you set aside time and resources for slow thinking? Your business' trajectory, your company culture, and your brand marketing – they all depend on it. And there's no time to wait.  

 

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