Where do you feel safest?
Close to the EDGE?
Well away from the edge?
Before you answer let me share a short story with you about marketing edge (and lack of edge)
Peter had a shop on the high street that was a 4th generation business. He was the landlord of my second and biggest hairdressing salon; we were based next door to him.
Peter would proudly tell me how his 4th generation business had been there forever and would probably be there for many years to come. His life, his brother’s life, his families lives all revolved around ‘the’ shop.
The shop was what we in the UK call a hardware shop. This is a shop where you can buy almost anything you might need for a house. Nails, screws, wood, carpet cleaner and just about everything you could list could be bought in this shop.
Then one day there was an announcement in the local newspaper of a new hardware shop that had been opening all over the country. This was a shop named B&Q. These guys had taken hardware to a brand new level. They had gone from corner shop in size to almost stadium in size. Where Peter’s shop could hold say just 5 buckets in stock B&Q could hold 500 buckets in every color in stock. Peter would charge £5 for his where B&Q would charge just £1 for theirs. Clearly this was about to become a huge problem for Peter and not a problem for B&Q.
B&Q had truly taken hardware right to the very edge. This new up and coming empire was built on a risk but a risk that paid off.
I can remember to this day asking Peter if he was worried about B&Q as his shop looked very quiet. He always replied “no” he wasn’t at all because not only does he offer great service but they are a 4th generation shop that has been there forever and will be there forever.
Within around 18 months Peters 4th generation shop had closed forever.
No marketing edge.
Peter like many businesses loved being in the safe zone yet the problem in business is the safe zone is actually the danger zone and the danger zone is the safe zone.
Being 4th generation makes no difference but going to the edge and getting the EDGE does. And when you become too comfortable in your business the biggest danger is your comfort could destroy your business.
- Risk is a good thing in your business.
- Danger is a good thing in your business.
- Innovation is a must-do thing in your business.
- Change is essential in your business.
- Investment is not a cost but all part of your plan.
If you are not willing to do this – your biggest enemy in business could be just around the corner waiting to devour you.
Want some proof that being the first or being established makes no difference?
Have you heard of YAHOO?
Believe it or not there will be some reading this newsletter that will not have heard of YAHOO. Yahoo was of course the only and only search engine for web users at one point. Yahoo was the first big search engine, the best and masterfully created. They got too comfortable and sunk like a ship as far as the users goes.
They played in the safe zone and believed they were invincible.
NO marketing edge
What about in the days before Yahoo search?
Have you heard of AltaVista search engine?
Maybe you have or maybe you haven’t, either way this was the only search engine I used at one point and most early web users searched using AV until Google arrived. Where are they now? Like Yahoo they spent way too much effort playing in the safe zone. Today they are as good as gone. In fact type in AltaVista.com and you’ll be redirected over to Yahoo.
Are you in danger in the safe zone?
In my experience most businesses play in the safe zone. Why? Because it is comfortable and feels safe and when you feel like that rarely will anything happen to give you more of the edge?
One of the biggest problems with the safe zone is bad advice and bad advisors. Again in my experience is this; people that want to play safe themselves always advise safety after all if your business folds due to bad advice from an advisor they simply move on and get another job whilst you clean up the mess.
So here are a few things you can do to innovate, grow and stand on the EDGE without falling.
Study success. Google last year dropped their Glass product. Why? They went right to the edge, invested a ton of cash into trying to make it happen yet it wasn’t working. That edginess probably sent fear into the competition. They knew it was a risk and they knew it could fail. The real problem was the glass was far to ahead of its time.
Here’s another; Apples G4 Cube
And another; Crystal Pepsi (Not a predecessor of Breaking Bad’s crystal meth of course ;-)
And one more: The Sinclair C5 (attention all futurists pre-1999)
Here’s a marketing edge fact.
All cost a fortune – all failed but all left a powerful lesson in their wake. Of course there are many more but the point being is this.
Being safe is the worst place you can be in your business especially in 2015. Taking risks and getting as close to the edge as you can get gives you more edge as long as you can back up your edginess with the following.
- Powerful and well planned power positioning
- Strong and memorable branding
- High-definition imagery
- Strong perception
- Marketing that does more than it says it does
- Product/service superiority
Maybe you want to get to the edge but fear is holding you back?
Maybe you want superior positioning yet are not sure which way to go.
Do you play safe at the edge or head for danger away from the edge?
These are changing times in business and if you are not taking risk you are in danger.
How do you know where you are?
Are you getting the results you feel you need, want or even deserve? Is your competition racing up and about to bite your backside?
Are things harder than they have ever been while you are in a business world where things CAN BE easier?
Let me warn you – there are some huge things taking place in the world of business right now you really should be aware of. These are all at the edge.
This is an exciting and brave new world.
I’m loving the changes.
From the edge
Alan Forrest Smith (edgier than ever)
If you need advice get in touch… you know how to get hold of me.