Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lazy Reinventions

Why do marketers have the constant need of reinventing themselves? Is our consumer world changing that fast so that consumer marketing as well as the discipline of marketing has to reinvent itself constantly? Or is the marketer just the most fickle consumer of his own story, so that a weekly repacking or repositioning of his own work seems like a good idea? Is the constant drive for reinvention just a successful marketing tactic to sell himself his own marketing concept?

If I would just know the answer! Let me try to circle around this topic by analyzing the root causes for this reinvention fever. As mentioned above one can distinguish between two different types of company’s reinvention: on the one hand a truly reinvented business model with fundamental organizational, capability, and cultural changes, on the other hand a pure change in the high level sales pitch of explaining a company’s business model with some new and smartly sounding terms. My guess is that 95% of all claimed reinventions are in the second area of purely cosmetic modifications without seriously diving into the DNA of a given business model.

It seems that this phenomena of superficial or lazy reinventions are happen very often in the marketing field, mainly due to the high competitive pressure amongst the leading service agencies and the increasing difficulty of truly competitive distinction. Marketing Service provider often behave like manufacturer of highly fashionable consumer goods that need seasonal trends with the preposterous claim of total seasonal fashion reinvention. Hey, someone has to buy the new pants, or?

So, what are the key indicators of lazy reinventions? Let me suggest the following indicators:

  • No real Product or Service Change: The visible output of the company is not significantly changing; it might have a different color, a different name but the key value benefit remains the same as before
  • No customer change: The core customer segment remains the same as before the claimed reinvention. Any real reinvention would enable the company to reach new customers and convert prospects into buying customer that beforehand just remained curious prospects
  • No internal talent change: Most people believe that the C-level executive team has to radically change to enable a true reinvention. I am stressing the importance of change at the direct report level of all C-executives. These executives are the real drivers of true innovation. Just hiring another CEO is too often the begin of just another lazy reinvention

These indicators should help in unmasking lazy reinventions. Let the unmasking begin!


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