One thing that's intrigued me over nearly 30 years in the marcom business is the commonality of marketing retail products vs. technology products vs. industrial products. Clients, of course, believe their industries are 'totally unique' -- which is true to a certain extent. But one of the advantages of being an objective outsider/consultant is that we can sometimes see patterns and parallels you may not see when you're in among the trees.
As one for instance, consider how the leverage point for marketing products can shift, if circumstances are right, from the manufacturers of said products to their distribution or 'channel' partners... Typically this happens when it dawns on the channel that it has the more enviable position of being closer to the end-customer. Some examples:
Why should such parallels matter to you as a marketer?
Most importantly, setting your sights on trends, technologies, and behaviors in adjacent or even distant industries can yield insights or ideas that might be applied in your own, in turn yielding competitive advantages.
A few years back, I was fortunate enough to be a sub-contracted copywriter on a project for the razor giant Gillette: The project in question entailed turning an old razor blade factory in Boston into a very slick Retail Innovation Center, where the company would develop, test, and spotlight its latest retail marketing concepts (e.g. packaging, displays, promotions) for increasingly the tough-to-please retailers mentioned above. Even though the category here was decidedly consumer -- wouldn't Gillette's approach be of interest to any industrial or tech OEM faced with increasing mindshare at their own, increasingly tough-to-please channel partners?
Point is, looking past your particular forest can really get your noodle going. And that's when you're most likely to generate business-building ideas and, yes, maybe even a genuine breakthrough or two.
Cheers! -- JH
Welcome to the official blog of Ithaca, NY-based Smith Marketing Services. Authored by members of the SMS team (we take turns or just chime in when inspiration strikes), MarketingMinds offers up