Friday, September 26, 2008

Recognition Marketing - Carpe Diem: The Evolution Of Competitive Advantage

From Data to Information to Knowledge to Intelligence to Insights

By David Miranda

The world has changed dramatically over the past two decades directly correlated to the major advances in personal and networked technological advancements. The result has been a better and faster informed populace. Not only is information faster and more easily accessed, it can be accessed from anywhere and at anytime across many channels. Computing power has also enabled people to perform sophisticated analyses on complex problems to find better and faster solutions. The result? Competitive advantage

In fact, we have witnessed an evolution of competitive advantage - from data to information to knowledge to intelligence and now to insights. Insights are those unique and proprietary exploitable opportunities that are the basis for creating and sustaining competitive advantage.

This is true for businesses, but is more obvious on the customer side of the business equation. Consumers today have the power to use simple technology to do research, comparison shop, provide feedback and network their opinions to millions of other consumers - all from the convenience of their personal computers.

The pendulum of advantage has swung from the brand to the consumer who are armed with their own personal insights and opinions gathered from countless sources other than the brand itself. Brands, to succeed, must be aware and recognize the need to extend themselves employing a multi-channel strategy. This requires developing keen target audience insights on media consumption behavior to create and sustain competitive advantage.

Here are some examples of insights, based on current market conditions, and their potential impact on future consumer spending.

  • the financial health of the American middle class is suffering and the suffering will continue in 2009 due to...

  • ....the softening value of the American dollar making imports more expensive, and......

  • ....the cost of a barrel of oil is hovering at $100+ a barrel impacting gas and home heating oil prices and......

  • .....the sub-prime mortgage crisis has resulted in higher foreclosure rates and tighter credit markets, and......

  • care costs are increasing far beyond the rate of inflation, and......

  • ......the U.S. is expected to be in a recession through 2009
Depending on the brand's key target audience, a brand should understand that, in this environment, consumer spending will be soft. Consumers will be more apt to comparison shop on necessities; delay major expenditures; do less leisure travel; eat out less - in a nut shell, do more with less. They will exploit the power of technology to find the best price/value opportunities.

Brands that understand these key insights will develop marketing campaigns that empathize with consumers providing the price/value/convenience that will solicit their precious dollars. The time to exploit these insights is now, not when the sales graph takes a downward slope. By then, these consumers have gone elsewhere.

In summary, brands, like consumers, should use the networked power of technology to gleen keen insights and quickly move to develop competitive advantage.

Carpe diem.