Change is inevitable. And the scale and speed of change is increasing dramatically. Not all change is either good or successful so deciding what change to adopt, and when, is crucial to the wellbeing of your business. This is never more true than in marketing your business.
Early adopters may find the change doesn’t work, either in general, or for their specific business. And if they have bet the bank on it, it can be catastrophic. Early adopters have to be canny. They have to test, measure and adjust. Trying out change without risking everything. But when the measures show huge positives, they are well positioned to harvest the market. It’s called first mover advantage.
For businesses that don’t adopt the change early on, they may not see much impact on their business. They’ll continue pretty much as before and any slight down turn due to business being taken away by the first movers could be mistaken for normal market movements and compensated by for increasing their own normal marketing activity. The change in dynamics is almost hidden.
As a change becomes more widely used, and more early adopters take it up the advantages reduce. But the impact on the businesses of non-adopters goes up. So the benefit for early adopters is still big and positive.
As the change becomes the industry norm you get to the cross-over point where you have to adopt to stand still. Thereafter, failure to adopt becomes increasingly more negative and your business is less and less viable.
In some markets, there will be niches that survive. But they will be small and specialist.
Does this happen in practice?
Let’s look at a real non-marketing example of where this happened – the car manufacturing industry. In the early days cars were produced by hand individually. Then along came Henry Ford’s Model T, which was mass produced using production lines. If you wanted to stay in the car business, you went to production lines.
Then along came the Japanese and two things: Lean and automation. Lean is a process efficiency approach that seeks to reduce waste. Wasted effort, and wasted capital. Parts were ordered or manufactured just in time for when they needed to be fitted to the car as it was being produced. No more expensive stock to maintain and keep safe. And automation meant you could reduce the labour costs and do things more accurately and consistently. Better quality and less waste.
Lean and automation were a double whammy for the established western manufacturers and it lead to a wave of closures and consolidations.
An online example
The same has happened in the online world with internet advertising. When Google first introduced Adwords, you could buy keywords cheaply because no one else was doing it. You got instant and huge returns. Then the market cottoned on and the cost of keywords started to rise. The canny marketers adapted their use and Google keep changing the price calculation rules to keep everyone on their toes. But the essence is that if you are selling online, you are at a huge disadvantage if you are not using Adwords effectively.
How do you spot the right waves?
You’ve probably heard me say who you hang around with matters a lot. The most successful entrepreneurs are early adopters. They jump on new ideas then test, measure and adjust to see if they work. When they hit on idea that works, they immediately amplify their activity to gain maximum first mover advantage.
So I hang around with as many successful entrepreneurs as I can find. I look at what they are doing and when they continue doing something new I know that 9 times out of 10 it’s a winner. So I jump on the wave and get early adopter advantage.
What is the next big wave of change in online marketing?
If you’re saying to yourself “no way” or “rubbish” you are about to miss out on the next big thing.
With over 400 million professional profiles on LinkedIn, if you are selling business-to-business, your ideal clients are on there. Canny marketers are already learning how to leverage their LinkedIn profiles to build relationships with potential clients. When those prospects are ready to buy, who do you think they are going to turn to? That’s right, the person that has taken the trouble to nurture them and build trust. It makes the selling easy.
In December there was a week-long LinkedIn Success Summit. 36 thought provoking sessions from over 30 practitioners all online. The reactions from attendees in the private Facebook group were amazing. So many light bulb moments! So many people having their eyes opened to new opportunities.
I think LinkedIn is still very much in the early adopter stage. But with events like the LinkedIn Success Summit enlightening more business people to the possibilities you need to act fast. With LinkedIn being free to use, why not get a little help and dip a toe in the water. Click here to find out about my LinkedIn Business Advantage Programme – it has everything you need to get you off the ground.
I’d love to hear about where you stand on the wave of change. Are you a first mover, a canny early adopter, or a follower? Leave a comment below.