April 29, 2014


Change doesn't happen the way the experts tell you it will happen.

We're given a script. We read the script. We follow the script. And then, one day, "everything changed", seemingly out of nowhere.

In a short period of time, late night television morphed from Jay / Dave / Conan / Craig to Jimmy / Stephen / Seth / ??? / and a whole bunch of other stuff.

I'm getting three questions in 2014.

  1. Catalogers:  Why don't the co-ops work like they used to work, and what do I do now that I moved my whole business model to a co-op centric business model that is now failing?
  2. Retailers:  Are my customers really omnichannel customers, and if they are, why are all of the changes we're implementing not causing customers to spend more?
  3. Merchants:  We're selling in more channels than ever before, and yet, sales aren't increasing? Shouldn't sales increase if we sell in an infinite number of channels, or is the marketing team really messing the brand up, or did we merchants mess things up?
In these three realms, change is not happening the way the experts told folks it would happen. It appears to happen suddenly, unexpectedly, and unpredictably.

Just a few years ago, it was smart and inexpensive to move all customer acquisition to co-ops. Today, not so smart, as you're married to the co-ops and you can't get new customers and there's nobody who can help you..

Just a few years ago, you had to be "bricks 'n clicks" or your business model was "dead". Today, the bricks are dying, and you're being told that you save bricks by turning bricks into digital distribution centers.

Just a few years ago, you were supposed to cut back on new products and ride your winners to unfettered riches. Today, a lack of new products results in no winners left to generate profit from.

We're being surprised today by changes, but the changes are rooted in decisions made years ago. In late night television, the Jay / Conan issues of 2009 resulted in sweeping changes in 2014. In our world, we made changes after The Great Recession. And now, we're feeling surprised by the logical outcome of the changes we made five years ago.

What you decide today will impact your business in 2019.

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