The world business environment has fundamentally changed Customers can now both find and filter information to get what they want. This means traditional interrupt based advertisement is losing its effectiveness. At the same time customers can search the entire world for exactly what they want. Technology is also making it possible for customers to easily build more of what they want for themselves. So to succeed you need to:
Provide exactly what the customer wants, when the customer wants it, in the way the customer wants, and for the price the customer is willing to pay.
And you must communicate to customers you have what they desire while the customer is actively trying to ignore you because so many others are trying to get their attention.
Innovation gets you half way, but you can’t just innovate, you must Predicatively Innovate to stay ahead of the competition. And how do you communicate something new to people who are ignoring you? Search based marketing won’t work very well because people must first know something exists in order to search for it. That is why Evangelism Marketing is so important.
The great news is Evangelism Marketing doesn’t just introduce a new product; it builds the confidence of each level of user from early adopter to mainstream to late comers. But it’s not just a technique for selling. Evangelism Marketing guides the processes of innovation. In order to get customer to freely sell your product for you, you must first Make them so happy they want to do it. Giving them exactly what they want when they want how they want in the way they want for the price they are willing to pay is essential to Evangelism Marketing.
Evangelism Marketing is a relationship. You are helping someone by giving them information. They in turn give you back information and continue to spread the information you gave them. You might say surveys and marketing research does that, but it doesn’t. How do you get someone to take a survey? Often you can’t. Even with bribes it’s hard and the data is frequently heavily skewed. What about getting customers to freely spread the message? Traditional top down concepts don’t work in a distributed environment. More power, more widely spread is the wave of the future. There are HUGE opportunities for people willing to embrace it and horrible disruption for those that cling to the old way. Which will you be?
When I was trying to raise money for my last business venture, Viral Video Solutions, the one question that always came up regarding the business plan was “What’s your market share?” And when they asked that question I knew they didn’t get it and that there was no point talking any further. We didn’t care about market share. Viral media is all about sharing. We had videos on Google Video, iFilm, Yahoo, YouTube, BitTorrent sites, iTunes, everywhere and anywhere. So our answer to what’s your market share was yes.
Old scarcity based thinking looks at getting the biggest slice of pie. In an abundance based model we make the pie bigger. We don’t compete with people we work together to make more for everyone.
Worrying about doing better than someone else is short sighted. Being king of a garbage heap still stinks. The path to exponential growth is setting your goals on doing better than ever before.
Fighting over a limited market or resource ends up causing diminishing returns. It’s really paying twice for something. If your competitor has created a market and built value then you spend time and energy taking it all you have done is paid for something that your competitor already bought. It might be cheaper for you than making it yourself but nothing new is being created. It’s a downward spiral that ends with you and your competitor loosing.
As Steve Rubel says, “Bloggers Should Think Co-op-etition, Not Competition.”
I’ve personally seen the benefits of co-op-etition. A website took one of my videos and posted it to Google Videos along with a link to their web site. They promoted it very well and that copy of my video received hundreds of thousands of views. I’m sure they got a lot of visitors to their site from doing that.
Was I upset at them using my content? No. I posted the same video two years earlier and now, no one was watching the copy I posted. This new copy sparked new interest and I received 20,000 extra visitors to my web site. It cost me nothing. The other site benefited, I benefited and a whole lot of viewers benefited.
Another example of co-op-etition is how I participate in Revver.com. Our videos have a short commercial play at the end. Revver splits the revenue with me. But if I share another Revver producers video I get 20% affiliate commission. There is a web video series that is a knock off of my show. I had been upset but when I discovered their videos were on Revver.com I immediately posted their videos to my site.
If they copied my show then my viewers would enjoy their show. By offering my viewers more videos they might like I was increasing the value of my web site. Plus I get the 20% affiliate commission and I don’t have to produce the video. The competitor still gets their 50% commission. Everyone wins.
So, I look for ways to help everyone in everything I do. I much rather swim in an endless ocean than own a stagnating puddle. How about you?
- Find one thing a competitor does a whole lot better than you and tell others about it.
- Identify ways to increase value or create new value for consumers
Most people think that Google’s big innovation is their search engine. Its fabulous technology and has drastically changed the world for the better; but, the bigger innovation is more subtle. It’s just a concept. It isn’t a technological innovation it is a business innovation. Google’s Innovation is their business model.
What Google realized was finding stuff on the ever-increasing World Wide Web was time consuming. Finding the stuff you really wanted was hard and going to get harder. Their solution was a sort of popularity contest. By looking at the links to content they could categorize it and rank it. The Google search engine is a popularity index.
Pretty cool idea. You could let real users categorize and rank content for you. Build an automated tool called a spider that cataloged this information and you can save people time and give them better search results. And by offering this cool new tool for free Google became popular.
Now I’m going to point something out. Google’s popularity was growing exponentially but their own search engine probably wouldn’t have ranked them very high. The reason is that when Google started out people didn’t post that many links about Google. What people did was tell their friends in person, on the phone or in e-mail. I remember the first time I used Google and I remember deciding to make it my home page. Google had gotten the most valuable links on the real world wide web of human opinion.
So how could a free online tool make money? Google made money and is still making lots of money by selling the thing their search engine operated on, popularity.
Google sells targeted advertising. What is advertising if not lending your popularity to someone else for a fee? And Google was now the worlds leading popularity broker so they could start cashing in.
Think about this. Google is at the center of popularity. They report which pages are the most popular for the criteria selected. This in turn increases the popularity of the pages. Then Google sells advertising on their search engine using their AdWords service. And they expanded AdWords to millions of pages all over the world through AdSense where publishers get paid to share a bit of their popularity in the form of some space on their pages for Google AdSense ads. And of course Google gains in popularity every step of the way.
So you can see that Google’s Innovation was turning popularity into a commodity. Their technology made this possible but the concept could exist and has existed since the beginning of time. Anyone at any point in time could have theorized of a global system to buy and sell popularity. And there are probably many ways to have built such a popularity market. As we say in the research and development business, the concept is proven, the rest is just engineering.
Just to make this perfectly clear, I’ll tell you about my friend Catherine Thomas, casting and locations director. She has done dozens of movies, hundreds of commercials and TV shows working with stars including Bruce Willis, Eminem, 50 Cent and Billy Crystal. And she has worked on hundreds of TV shows and commercials. What she does is very interesting. I modeled (see articles on NLP) her techniques and drastically improved my own life. If she likes you she will say this phrase in every conversation, “let’s get together and have a drink.” Her entire life is built on popularity. Her stock and trade is socializing.
If you meet Catherine for cocktails it will be at a club where she knows the owner and probably several other people as well. If she goes off to the bathroom expect a long wait. No it’s not the call of nature from all the white wine, she will have run into or met someone and started a conversation with them. As she puts it everyone has a story and she just loves to hear everyone’s story. She remembers them and they remember her.
So when a producer needs a location for a film and interesting real people for extras and minor roles they call Catherine Thomas. She calls up one of her “good friends” and everything is set. Of course lots of people strive to be one of Cathy’s “good friends”. In her head is a database of contacts, she never writes down phone numbers preferring to memorize them. She always knows a fabulous party, cool person and hot spot and she is probably on the VIP list.
Now think about how closely Cathy’s social network mirrors Google. She is immensely popular and helps others be popular. She keeps a huge list of people and places. People go to her to find the right person or place based on their requested criteria. Cathy does the introductions and collects a fee.
The only difference between Cathy and Google is the level of automation used by Google. If you can boil down a process to its essential elements you are poised to find world changing innovations. That is one part of what the OutCompete process does.
- Think of the steps needed to perform one of your key business processes.
- Make a list of other businesses that perform the same task.
- Make a list of tools and techniques those businesses use to perform the tasks you have in common.