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jerryking : myopic   4

Business leaders are blinded by industry boundaries
April 22, 2019 | Financial Times | Rita McGrath.

Why is it so hard for executives to anticipate the major shifts that can determine the destiny of their organisations? Andy Grove called these moments “strategic inflection points”. For some, he wrote, “That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

Industry leaders would do well to focus on productive opportunities, even when they lie outside a fairly well-bounded industry. Want to survive a strategic inflection point? Stop focusing on traditional metrics and find new customer needs that your organisation can uniquely address.

Why do business leaders so often miss these shifts? Successful companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Nokia did not heed the early signs of a move to app-based smartphones. Video rental chain Blockbuster failed to acquire Netflix when it had the chance, in 2000.

Senior people rise to the top by mastering management of the KPIs in that sector. This, in turn, shapes how they look at the world. The problem is a strategic inflection point can occur and render the reference points they have developed obsolete. Take traditional retail. Its key metrics have to do with limited real estate, such as sales per square metre. Introduce the internet and those measures are useless. And yet traditional systems, rewards and measures are all built around them.....British economist Edith Penrose grasped this crucial link, she asked, “What is an industry?” In her studies, executives did not confine themselves to single industries, they expanded into any market where their business might find profitable growth.

Consider the energy sector: Historically, most power generators and utilities were heavily regulated...The sector’s suppliers likewise expected steady demand and a quiet life....that business has been rocked by slow-moving shifts many players talked about, but did not act upon. The rise of distributed energy generation, the maturing of renewable technology, increased conservation and new rules have eroded the traditional model. Many failed to heed the warnings. In 2015, General Electric spent about $10bn to acquire Alstom’s power business. Finance chief Jeff Bornstein crowed at the time that it could be GE’s best acquisition ever. Blinded by traditional metrics, GE doubled down on fossil-fuel-fired turbines just as renewables were becoming cost competitive.

Consider razor blades: Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand of razors had long enjoyed a competitive advantage. For decades, the company had invested in developing premium products, charged premium prices, invested heavily in marketing and used its clout to get those razors into every traditional retail outlet. A new breed of online rivals such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have upended that model, reselling outsourced razors that were “good enough” and cheaper, online via a subscription model that attracted younger, economically pressured customers...... Rather than fork out for elaborate marketing, the upstarts enlisted YouTube and Facebook influencers to get the word out.
Andy_Grove  BlackBerry  blindsided  Blockbuster  brands  cost-consciousness  customer_insights  Dollar_Shave_Club  executive_management  GE  Gillette  good_enough  Harry's  industries  industry_boundaries  inflection_points  Intel  irrelevance  KPIs  metrics  millennials  movingonup  myopic  obsolescence  out-of-the-box  P&G  power_generation  retailers  reward_systems  sales_per_square_foot  shifting_tastes  slowly_moving  warning_signs 
april 2019 by jerryking
Bark with bite
January 30, 2012 | FT | By John Quelch.

Academics succeed if their names are linked to one important idea that outlives them. Professor Theodore Levitt’s name is linked to many. The first was a blockbuster. “Marketing myopia” was published by Harvard Business Review (HBR) in 1960, one year after Harvard Business School plucked Prof Levitt, the son of a German immigrant cobbler, from the University of North Dakota.

The article famously asked: “What business are you in?” It critiqued railroads for “letting their customers get away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than the transportation business”. They were product-orientated rather than market-orientated....the importance of tangible evidence to reassure customers choosing among suppliers of intangible services (the impressive bank building, the authoritative logo)....I gave him a wide berth until it was time for feedback on my thesis proposal after three months of hard labour. The meeting lasted five minutes, barely long enough for Prof Levitt, whose mentoring style was more tough love than hand-holding, to dismiss me with: “Throw this out, start again and come back in a week with something important!” Fortunately, I did.

Prof Levitt’s advice was always to work on important problems that are important to important people in important companies. It spurred me to get out into the field, talk to business people, write case studies and understand the messy complexity of the world, rather than work behind my desk on mathematical models based on unrealistic assumptions.
advice  discernment  feedback  hand-holding  HBR  HBS  John_Quelch  marketing  market-orientated  messiness  myopic  primary_field_research  product-orientated  reminiscing  sophisticated  Theodore_Levitt  tough_love  worthiness  worthwhile_problems 
december 2013 by jerryking
Marketing Myopia
July-August 2004 (Reprint from 1960) | Harvard Business Review | by Theodore Levitt.

Marketing Myopia suggests that businesses will do better in the end if they concentrate on meeting customers’ needs rather than on selling products......

Fundamental idea
The Myopic cultures, Levitt postulated, would pave the way for a business to fall, due to the short-sighted mindset and illusion that a firm is in a so-called 'growth industry'. This belief leads to complacency and a loss of sight of what customers want. It is said that these people focus more on the original product and refuse to adapt directly to the needs and wants of the consumer.

To continue growing, companies must ascertain and act on their customers’ needs and desires, not bank on the presumptive longevity of their products. In every case the reason growth is threatened, slowed or stopped is not because the market is saturated. It is because there has been a failure of management.

Some commentators have suggested that its publication marked the beginning of the modern marketing movement.[2] Its theme is that the vision of most organizations is too constricted by a narrow understanding of what business they are in. .....Organizations found that they had been missing opportunities which were plain to see once they adopted the wider view. ....There is no such a thing as a growth industry. There are only companies organized and operated to create and capitalize on growth opportunities.......There is a greater scope of opportunities as the industry changes. It trains managers to look beyond their current business activities and think "outside the box". . If a buggy whip manufacturer in 1910 defined its business as the "transportation starter business," they might have been able to make the creative leap necessary to move into the automobile business when technological change demanded it.....People who focus on marketing strategy, various predictive techniques, and the customer's lifetime value can rise above myopia to a certain extent.
HBR  marketing  management  filetype:pdf  media:document  Theodore_Levitt  myopic  out-of-the-box  short-sightedness 
february 2010 by jerryking

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