On the 2 March, Michael McQueen kick started the first Outloud Breakfast Series for 2016 – diving straight into ‘how to win the battle for relevancy’.

 

The thought-provoking workshop was one that all attendees would have unquestionably had an opinion on and this is mine.

 

In a market where disruption could come from a competitor you didn’t even know could be a competitor, market analytics and predictions will not be enough.

 

Did newspapers see the Internet coming and the impact it would have on print media? Unlikely.

As Michael put it, ‘Did they understand the market they were in?’

 

Newspapers were not just a source of information, newspapers were a source of up-to-date and regular information – which the Internet is much quicker at spreading.

Kodak was not in the film and camera business – they were in the business of preserving memories, the means for this just happened to be film.

 

Asking myself the question, what market are we in as an events agency? The predictable answer would be delivering extraordinary events that align with a marketing strategy.  However truthfully, this is not the market we are in – we are in the business of outsourced stress. We are in the business of understanding what the stress points for a client are and we understand how to manage this.

 

To state the obvious, companies ahead of the game don’t just understand the market they are in, they see the opportunities that others don’t.

 

Looking at companies such as Apple, Amazon or Tesla Motors, they could all be described as progressive, forward and relevant – rather then following a secret formula they take steps toward recalibrating, reengineering and repositioning themselves.

 

I see Apple as a continually evolving company. The production of an endless series of smartphones might not be the reinvention of the century, but Apple understands that their customers are not after a mobile with 100 special functions (legend has it there are now smartphones that don’t break on the first drop). Apple customers prefer a product that is simple to use, improving and reworking a small amount of functionalities – all while looking slick. If the design wasn’t working competitors’ wouldn’t remodel their products to mimic Apple (looking at the HP EliteBook).

 

Amazon repositioned from being an online bookseller, to being an ebook seller – remember those days? Today you can even order your serve of Unicorn Meat on Amazon.

How did they do it? Amazon understood it wasn’t about the convenience of just buying books, it was the convenience of buying anything and everything online in the luxury of your own home, even if it is at 2am in your pajamas. Case in points – the launch of Amazon Dash. A device to scan empty items at home, automatically add them to your virtual shopping card and then are shipped to you on a weekly basis.

In the TL: DR version – this all comes back to “Do we really understand what our customers want?” “Do we understand their frustrations and their needs? Are we solving problems for them or are we allowing someone else to do so because we didn’t see them in the same market? Are we realistic when we talk about how relevant we are?