Boy I am rusty. Please forgive me it has been quite sometime since I have posted on this outlet.
I always quote Peter Drucker. Always. My favorite Drucker quote is "The fastest way to grow a business is through marketing and innovation." I totally agree, maybe not in that order, but I agree. Over time I have used this strategy and it has been successful. I specifically look for businesses that employ this mindset. They are fun to work with, work for, and even just observe. There is something intrinsically American about innovating, upsetting and ultimately helping grow an industry through innovative development and execution.
That being said, our economy has been struggling for quite some time and I can tell you that it is a direct result of stale, tired business models, lack of innovation and complacency. Look at the industries that are dragging us down - the auto sector, finance and some sectors of retail just to name a few. Look at who is not only surviving, but growing in this tumultuous time - innovators - Wal-Mart - a completely different approach to retail, from the ground up. McDonald's - spotted an opportunity in their beverage line up and seized it. Hyundai - saw what was happening in the economy, offered a new and innovative approach with their buyer's assurance program (the first in their industry to do this) and their sales were up significantly in this horrid recession! It is worth noting that they were the first to offer the longer 5 year/60k mile warranties. That strategy helped them become a player in the US auto industry back in the early 2000's.
There are more examples, but one I have been exposed to quite a bit as of late is the digital signage/IPTV industry. I have been talking about this for quite some time, but it seems it is starting to get some traction and actually is deploying in decent scale...finally!
As I examine different offerings and meet with different groups it is interesting to note they all have their tweaks and differences, but the core technology backbone that supports the bandwidth and final content delivery is the same. This is incredibly exciting. I am biased as a guy who has a company that supplies content, but it is innovation that drives this developing channel - and it is a good thing.
Many are predicting that the American consumers' spending habits will forever be changed after this recession is over. I am not so sure that is the case, but few go through a time like this and go unaffected. Successful marketers changed their methods since the inception of the web. The problem is their really are not that many successful marketers. It is a big country and their are a lot of jobs to fill. Someone has to do it.
That leads us to the final point in the title, death. Unfortunately few in this day and age get the fact that the brand, still important, has no control over the consumer. Marketers who still think they can actually change consumer behavior with their product are destined to die, figuratively speaking of course. Rather, marketers who learn and understand what their target market wants, and channels products or services to those desires, ultimately live - even thrive and grow - even in a junk economy.
Case in point - Twitter. Many have said Twitter has altered behavior. I disagree. Twitter has merely taken a desire of many online voices and given them reason to not have to originate longer form composition. The desire of the American to communicate in abbreviated form has existed for a long time - but most recently it is proven by lackluster educational performance in the English and grammar subject in standardized testing scores. Look at the emergence of texting, abbreviated emails, and now micro blogging courtesy of Twitter. Twitter founders were smart enough to understand that people want to communicate through blogs, but writing long pieces like this is a real chore - so let's "restrict" folks to 140 characters. I don't call it restriction, I call it liberation. You don't need to be William Shakespeare to tweet.
They call it tweet, some call it dumb, I call it innovation. Enough innovation that a simple micro blogging service that makes no money could sell for more right now than many profitable businesses.