During the past few weeks, I have attended a number of events: APPNATION, BEA, Digital-day, FundraisingNYC 2013, MarketplaceLive and many others. The purpose of my program of cross-visitation is simple. I wish to understand how other verticals have adapted to the nearly-universal change in process, procedures, sales and marketing that are running rampant. I am a believer, a true believer, in media convergence. I am also a true believer in vertical convergence, meaning ideas that originate in other related and non-related verticals can cross-pollinate, appear and assist in other verticals.
Here for your review are my three key findings:
1. Technology is not the always the key to additional sales and success. Basic concept yes, but how many within our vertical have looked to technology as the “solution” to a service, skill set or sales issue? Recently, a print salesperson told me he had changed jobs due to a lack of “new” technology. I am a firm believer of new technology but, by the same token, weighing the odds, risk versus rewards, may override any purchase or technological-based expansion. Most of the other verticals I visited have taken the approach to outsource their new technology needs via “like firm” partnerships, JVs and enterprise-linked partners. On a broad scale, Xerox, HP and others in our vertical have adopted this concept; they seem to be offering this type of co-mingled or bundled “enterprise-based program,” as well as business support programs. My observation, not a fact!
2. You may be looking for sales success, but you are really looking for more profit or in some cases any profit. As you all know, profit is a component of a multitude of line items. Other verticals seem to be bundling their line items with external vendors, redrawing the supply chain model, rethinking the supply chain cost model, reducing internal/external costs, combining expenses and establishing a new view of what is cost and what is profit. Why? They see and live in a world of reduced or very carefully allocated expenditures. To stay profitable and, perhaps more importantly, continue to grow their brand, they need to make significant changes in ALL aspects of their business model. This strategy makes a lot of sense.