Don’t Be a Blockbuster – Leading the Market
Once upon a time, in October of 1985 to be exact, in Dallas, TX, a small video rental store opened its doors, and immediately saw booming business. For years, this company steadily grew and dominated the market. But in 1997, the company that would prove to be their demise entered the industry.
Within ten years, the video rental store, unwilling to adapt to changes in the industry, filed bankruptcy, and ultimately closed its doors in 2013. I think you know what company I’m talking about: Blockbuster.
What ultimately destroyed this once leader-of-the-market in the video rental industry? Blockbuster failed to recognize new trends in the market. Netflix knew what customers were moving toward: on-demand and mail-order rentals.
Blockbuster not only failed to recognize this movement, but even turned down an offer to acquire Netflix in 2000 for only $50 million that would have made domination for that then niche (now the norm) market a walk in the park.
Though Blockbuster continued to lose market share, they stubbornly believed that the market wasn’t changing and the services they offered were still relevant. By the time they jumped onboard, it was too late.
Blockbuster is a prime example of going from hero-to-zero by being unwilling to recognize and adapt to changes in the market and the needs of their consumers.
The last decade-and-a-half have been ruled by the Internet and innovative, exciting technologies that have continually worked to make our lives more convenient. Think voice-to-text, Google Maps, ordering food online, any service utilizing technology that has made your life even incrementally easier.
Of course, with this new-found ability to do things more quickly and easily comes more expectations of what we can do. It’s a never-ending cycle of everybody having to do more and do it fast. Companies must keep up with the needs of their time-crunched, convenience-expecting consumers.Companies must keep up with the needs of their time-crunched, convenience-expecting consumers. Click To Tweet
I order almost everything I need from Amazon.com because I have a prime membership and get free two-day shipping straight to my doorstep. As if two days isn’t fast enough, Amazon is currently testing drones for same-day delivery to some cities. A prime (see what I did there) example of them proactively staying ahead of the market.
As a working mom with a busy schedule managing work, school, taking care of my home, feeding my family, etc., I love being able to order my groceries online, schedule my pick-up time, pull up to my grocery store, and let the employees load my car. The world is moving more quickly than ever, and accommodating that pace has become crucial to staying competitive.
So now the question is how do you keep up with a world that’s always changing and moving more quickly? The first answer is to offer convenience. Ask yourself the following questions:
What convenience am I providing my customers? How is it making their lives easier?
How do I make my product/service more convenient for them? Can I change the product itself? Make the delivery of the product more convenient?
Am I properly communicating the convenience of my product/service?
If my grocery store hadn’t told me they would let me order my groceries online and load my car up for me, they wouldn’t be getting my additional $4.95 per week to provide me that service. You must communicate convenience to your customers!
There’s a second answer to the question “how to keep up”, and it’s innovation. Innovation is key. Steve Jobs was right when he said that customers don’t know what they want. You have to tell them what they want.
“It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.” – Steve Jobs
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that market research is useless. It certainly has its place in improving products, offering new products/services, etc. But innovation is key if you want to stay ahead of the market.
Amazon was the first company to try-out drones for same-day delivery of products. Netflix was one of the first on-demand dvd services. Apple created the iPhone. Think about what would provide convenience to customers, even if it doesn’t yet exist, and run with it.
Watch the market, keep up with the trends, be open to change, be willing to improve, and innovate.
Don’t be a Blockbuster.