This is the second part of series on the seven lessons that small business can learn from RIM’s (Blackberry) failures. Part Two covers lessons 3 through 5.
For Lessons One and Two read What Small Business Can Learn From Blackberry Part 1.
3. Gravity Pushes Backwards
If you’ve attained a measure of success, you must continue innovating your products, services and your marketing just to maintain your position. Because you can bet the competition is innovating aggressively, and they’ll pass you by in three seconds if you stop doing the things that brought you success. RIM not only stopped releasing new BlackBerries while focusing on its PlayBook, it basically stopped talking to its customers about them for an extended period. We’ve seen this story before with Palm and many others. Gravity pushes backwards in business. Consistent and aggressive innovation is required not only to attain success, but to maintain it.
My Comments: I love this gem of a paragraph. The message is simple: First, get crystal clear on what makes you meaningfully different (defined as that which gives you a right to charge more than your competition) and then get even better at it. Don’t stand still.
4. Know Precisely Who Your Customer Is
RIM’s management famously disagreed on who their customer was. Then co-CEO Mike Lazaridis felt the customer was the corporation. Others, probably including his counterpart Jim Balsillie, wanted to aim BlackBerry products at consumers. If you don’t know exactly who your customer is, it is impossible to market. Language, messaging, platforms, branding and public relations change completely depending on the customers you target. So identify your customers as precisely as possible, and aim all of your marketing efforts at them.
My Comments: This holds true not just for marketing, but for all your activities—including how your back-office operations uniquely adds value directly to your customer target. A great strategy makes sure every element of your company is pulling in the same direction and is mutually reinforcing. Competitors can easily copy your marketing, but they can’t copy all the activities that work together to make you better than anyone else.
5. Executives Set the Marketing Tone
Consider the most successful companies in consumer electronics (and two of the most successful companies in all of business): Apple and Amazon. Their chief executives set their marketing tone, and everyone follows. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch this YouTube video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPad, and listen to how everybody who followed him on stage used exactly the same words.
My Comments: For your executive team to lead and pull together, they first must have a universally held view of your strategy. That means writing it down, agreeing to it, creating a strategic plan around it and talking about it everyday. Good leadership is a fundamental requirements for running a business. Good leadership that is driving a focused strategy becomes a competitive advantage.
Next week– The final two lessons from Blackberry’s failures.
Here is the link to the full article: http://mashable.com/2012/02/10/marketing-lessons-rim-blackberry/
Alex Goldfayn’s new book is called Evangelist Marketing: What Apple Amazon and Netflix Understand About Their Customers (That Your Company Probably Doesn’t). He is CEO of the Evangelist Marketing Institute, a marketing consultancy with clients that include T-Mobile, TiVo and Logitech.