That quote is from Jeff Jones, the current CMO of Target. He was at an ANA conference, and he was talking about how Target was caught off-guard by what was happening in the industry.
This is not contained only to the retail industry. In an interview several years ago, Bill Gates told a journalist that the rise of the Internet caught them off guard. Many marketers would readily admit that Google's search-engine supremacy was a bit of a surprise.
Even more would be surprised to see AOL rising to be a giant in online content and video.
But Jones was right. As we stated not too long ago, if AdLand continues to be reactionary, we miss out on the ever-elusive "first-mover advantage."
The first-mover advantage is an economic term that describes how a firm can gain dominance over a market simply by being the first one to do it. Apple profits from the first-mover advantage when it comes to syncing devices and providing unique experiences on mobile devices, even when several Android/Samsung phones could arguably do a better job.
He who conquers [first], conquers all.
Can marketers put Jones' advice into practice? Perhaps. But the effort demanded requires more than just the marketing department. Being proactive requires research, product development, business strategy, and market planning. Marketing needs to be involved in every aspect of the business, not secluded until the sales department needs something fancy.
AdLand has been proactive before, and with a change in mindset, it can be again.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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