When annual sales approach $150 billion, it becomes harder to be agile and flexible in anticipating and responding to the evolving marketplace. This is something that even star companies such as General Electric – whose slogan is “GE imagination at work” — must face.
In GE’s case, it is embarking on new ways of doing business. As Bloomberg Businessweek’s Richard Clough reports:
“GE has enlisted tech entrepreneur Eric Ries to help develop FastWorks, based in part on his bestseller The Lean Startup. As detailed in the 2011 book, Ries’ lean startup philosophy is designed to help companies foster innovation and hasten product development by building imperfect early versions, releasing them to customers, getting feedback, and then ‘pivoting,’ or adapting the products when necessary. Now GE is adopting that playbook to speed the rollout of products ranging from lightbulbs to gas turbines to refrigerators. The company has already trained 40,000 employees under the new initiative, one of the largest in GE’s 122-year history.”
Click the image to read more from Clough.
Microsoft has developed an interesting video overview that demonstrates the extent and value of big data.
Click the image to access the video.
1to1 Media has just published a new infographic about the use of technology in analyzing speech in business settings. Check it out.
We’ve written a lot about the rapidly changing world of marketing — with the advances in social media, technology, big data, etc. So, sometimes, we need to pause and reflect on things that are the constants in marketing.
In 1966, McKinsey published an article by John D. Louth on “The Changing Face of Marketing”: “This article from the McKinsey Quarterly archive analyzes six major changes that promised to transform future marketing efforts. These forces have largely proved to be as influential as predicted and continue to shape today’s challenges.”
The six major changes — which are really marketing constants — are as relevant today as they were nearly 50 years ago:
- The dominance of the customer — “It is nearly a truism that the needs and wants of the consumer are the critical issues today in creating new products and services, and developing the accompanying plans to merchandise them at a profit.”
- The spread of marketing research — “The second trend is the increased use of marketing research — in terms of both quantity and scope. To an important degree, of course, this trend is a response to the first. If knowledge about future customers is essential, and if the quality of the marketing output is materially affected by the caliber of the informational input, then marketing research is bound to increase in use and contribution as the interest in more scientific marketing grows.”
- The rise of the computer — “The third major trend marketing must consider is the emergence of electronic data-processing equipment as a major tool of scientific marketing not only for reporting data but also, more importantly, for planning and control by management.”
- Expanded use of test marketing — “A fourth important trend, in my opinion, will be toward more controlled experimentation to narrow the odds of an error in making marketing changes. Two major influences emphasize the need for further expansion of test marketing. The first is the rising cost of marketing changes: the costs, for example, of introducing new products and packaging, of developing new advertising and promotional programs, and of retraining salespeople. The second influence is the mounting investment in product research and development. About half of all corporate research-and-development activity in the United States today is concerned with the creation of new commercial products.”
- Metamorphosis of field selling — “The fifth trend I foresee is a shift in the nature of the field-selling job toward a more integrated, profit-oriented marketing effort. Key-account selling is becoming an increasingly crucial feature of the field-sales job—a trend with important implications. In many companies, a key-account selling program may entail special analysis of present and potential customers, and the establishment of related control reports to measure profit results with particular accounts.”
- Global market planning — “An ever-broadening application of the marketing concept to worldwide markets is the last of the six broad trends that I believe will change the face of marketing in the next few years. Over the past decade, the marketing concept has become widely accepted in the United States—perhaps, in some situations, too enthusiastically accepted and too indiscriminately applied. Nevertheless, I believe the concept of a completely integrated marketing effort is valid and will be increasingly adopted. In many companies operating worldwide, it will stimulate the development of global market planning.”
Click the image to read the full classic article.