13 Jul 2015

Don’t let your business become a ‘Kodak moment’

Long-lasting business models are a thing of the past. Mike Rigby, Managing Director of MRA Marketing explains how a company's survival relys on its ability to change within a constantly shifting market.

It’s rarely mentioned explicitly, but change is at the heart of marketing. Most of us don’t like change much. But it’s an accelerating phenomenon of the world we live in. We can’t stop it, but unless we actively manage it, change will wash our brands away. A company survives by tuning in to its customers’ changing needs; anticipating and reacting quickly to regulatory and competitive threats, and adapting to a constantly shifting market.

Engaging with your customer’s needs and anticipating future market trends is imperative, because stable, long-lasting business models are a thing of the past. Like a fast flowing river, technology is advancing from smart phones to smart homes. The ‘Internet of Things’ allows us to connect more closely with our home appliances and our houses.

Welcome home is taking on a new meaning in the latest homes. The house and relevant rooms wake up with the selected light, heat and music as they anticipate and recognise the arrival of each member of the returning family.

We’re becoming familiar with vehicles with parking-assist mechanisms. Google is experimenting with driverless cars. It’s estimated that soon up to 60% of the value of an upmarket car will be in its software. Car makers are worried. A high proportion of the value of tomorrow’s executive home is also likely to be in its software. This isn’t futurology or science fiction. A lot of it is here now. If you aren’t moving forward, you’re starting to slip back.

Remember Kodak? For decades it was the dominant brand in photography, but as technology advanced and the industry started to move from film to digital, Kodak clung to film. It could not envisage a world without film. Film made beautiful perfect images. Digital didn’t. At least, in the beginning. But digital rapidly improved and Kodak’s market share plummeted.

The irony is, Kodak didn’t miss out on digital technology. It invented the first digital camera in 1975! But Kodak didn’t dream a digital future. It held back on marketing its new technology in fear of cannibalising sales of film and wrecking the company. Its Kodak world was as perfect as the images its film recorded, so they easily bought into the idea of a world where film and digital coexisted in harmony and Kodak and Canon shared the market between them.

But Kodak is no more, so what can we learn from its fatal mistake? Innovation requires risk and vision, and ‘playing safe’ can turn relevance to history in a heartbeat. As technology accelerates and disrupts markets, your organisation’s survival is based on its ability to anticipate relevant changes that are inevitable. And adapt to them quickly.

Do you know how to take advantage of change in your market? Need help integrating your marketing? Tweet @MRAMarketing call 01453 521621 or email Tom Rigby at tom@mra-marketing.com.

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