It's increasingly obvious that one thing getting harder for any organisation to do is guarantee success, sales and their market. This is most obvious in the tech sector of course (it's the most future-wards of any) but it's true everywhere.
All markets are emerging – constantly redefining orders, needs and priorities, reimagining advantage. There is no rest. There are no laurels. No sector sees this affecting them (whether it wants to or not) more directly than the cutting edge: the high-tech world.
High-tech must realise that innovation is not enough to keep them ahead and they must still get to market. As Drucker said so brilliantly, the only thing in business is marketing and innovation – both are one. High-tech businesses must all try to become brand and marketing leaders as well as being innovators.
In this world, nothing is easy to call. Business gravity can depolarise and repolarise in a moment. Bearing this in mind is critical to survival, success and security in your world.
A blend of factors makes the tensions between stability and dynamism, between freedom and constraint, particularly knotty and intertwined in high-tech:
- High levels of innovation investment and requirement
- Extreme expectation from the sector
- Humans are addicted to technology at every level
- Intense and increasingly global competition
- Extraordinary pace of change
- Hyper-proliferation of providers at enterprise and niche level
- Massive cross pollination of types of technology provider
- Hidden nature of the final product
- High likelihood of being leapfrogged
There aren't any statics or dependables any longer. No matter how big your market, innovative your thinking, great your products, or unique your services, nothing lasts. Nothing is forever. And competition is more everywhere than it has been before. You are surrounded by sharks in the water, only a few of which you can see and some of which don't even exist yet.
So don't count on anything in terms of your market, in terms of its size, its quality, its nature. That's all gone. All old thinking, based on old views of cause and effect, of the relationship between size and power, of the nature of how to drive goods and services out to the market from the centre to the periphery of the business, of the ways that people (consumers and business buyers) seek, evaluate and understand what to buy.
These models don't work any longer. You can't guarantee a single thing to remain constant… except that people remain people and they want to buy.
And whereas once they wanted quantitative factors – price, volume, speed, data – these are now givens. They are the numerical elements in the equation of choice and market dynamism. Now you have to do something harder: give them qualitative factors – the letters, the algebra in the equation – which are much harder to know, and require real organisational intelligence and creativity to achieve. Your market as a whole, and all your customers, want:
- More emotion
- More information
- To be part of the conversation
- You to have values
- To know more
- To be challenged
- To be inspired
- To be created with
- To care and see meaning in what you do
As a result these factors (which many might write off as 'soft value') are now hardening. So brand (not sales) becomes vital to the buyer engagement.
If you want to move with a world where 'all markets are emerging' – and really understand and build-in the behaviours you must adopt to be more successful and thrive in a world of quantitative factors and qualitative factors – you have to really understand why the two are different, and work out how to put the most important elements at the centre of your business strategy, structure and future ambitions.
That's why buyer to brand exists as a philosophy and it's why we believe in it.
Of course, doing it? That's harder than a blog.
- Andy Jordan is Managing Director of MTD.
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