February 21, 2019

Borrowing From Others

In football, pro teams liberally borrow from colleges, and colleges happily borrow from high schools. Read this article for details (click here).

I arrived at Eddie Bauer in the mid-1990s. The marketing team had a group that performed competitive analytics. An analyst straight out of college waltzed into Gap and documented everything Gap at Bellevue Square did, in plain sight. Promotions. Floorset changes. Pricing of key competitive items. I recall the times the Store Manager saw our analyst coming and banned him (and his camera) from the store.

I also remember the times when the young analyst lined up a conference room with the promotional strategies used by all of our competitors. He had the blueprint, the DNA of every company on the wall. We borrowed the stuff that fit with our way of doing things.

I frequently talk about the Great Eight.


A key element of a credible Optimization Program includes borrowing from others. If Stitch Fix uses regression and neural networks to determine what a customer is likely to purchase next, and you compete against Stitch Fix, then you have every opportunity to liberally borrow their ideas and import 'em into your Marketing Management System. It doesn't guarantee that the ideas will work, but it most certainly guarantees that you'll come up with a Marketing Management System that is unique and fully your own. As a new Marketing Leader, the last thing you want to do is fail because you clung to the failures of your predecessor.

Borrow from others. Combine what they do with what you do best. Allow your own Marketing Management System to evolve and thrive. Teach your ideas to everybody who will listen.


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