It’s early on a Saturday morning, the family are all still asleep, so I’m checking messages and I come across a video clip of Gary V that Tim has drawn my attention to: “Innovate or die”. Gary is talking about why Toys-R-Us has gone bankrupt and he said some really worrying things.
He says, rightly, that Toys-R-Us have made a few mistakes. For example, not embracing the Internet and so getting Amazon to do their fulfilment back in 2000. But they key thing they failed to do was innovate. A multi-billion turnover company with superstores in key locations and yet they went under?
If Toys-R-Us can go out of business so can you. Whether you’re a professional services company or a retailer or a tech company you must find out what your customers really want. Not in terms of products but in terms of experience. You must forget how your customers have bought for generations and think about how they want to buy NOW otherwise you too will become a casualty and you’re never too big, powerful, profitable to fail as Toys-R-Us (and Woolworths, BHS, Kodak, Saab, DEC, MySpace, Friends Reunited…) proves.
Don’t be a ‘don’t care’ casualty
Since starting Digital Leadership Associates, Tim and I have had meetings with lots of companies, and whilst Tim is quite cool about when companies say this…I am not. In fact, I get really angry! We have heard, many times, a rationale for not embracing social selling and indeed social as a whole, which goes like this;
“Of course, we appreciate that the market has changed, but at ******* we don’t sell that way, all of our clients come through relationships…”
This is of course the business equivalent of Russian Roulette – click – we’re secure because the gun hasn’t gone off…
The reason this gets under my skin so much is because people who run long-established companies are merely custodians. Their primary purpose should be to ensure that when they hand the company on it is in a better state than when they took it over. But they don’t. Fewer people visit websites. Fewer people click ads. GDPR means that it will be increasingly difficult to make use of your database. You can’t track people from website to website because of the new Safari update (and shortly Chrome, Firefox and ie I’m sure). So what ARE you going to do to ensure that you don’t become irrelevant.
This is the challenge facing every company in the world. I’m talking about a radical rethink of what you do and how you do it. If you don’t put the customer front and centre you are living on borrowed time because THAT is how companies like Toys-R-Us die. By the time they see the problem developing a solution is five years away so it’s too late.
It’s a very scary prospect, but is it as scary as having to deliver a line like Karstan Drath (the CEO of Nokia – once the world’s largest mobile phone company) when his company was acquired by Microsoft? “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”.
Don’t be a casualty of changing times, change with them.
Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media Strategy, Social Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.