Category Archives: Go-To-Market Strategy/Philosophy

Mr. Selfridge’s Philosophy is Timeless – And Still Valuable

Photo: PBS.org

Photo: PBS.org

Thanks to the PBS Masterpiece series Mr. Selfridge, viewers on both sides of the pond have been introduced to the world of retail marketing and merchandising innovator Harry Selfridge.

In 1909, Harry Gordon Selfridge launched his eponymous London department store Selfridges, which today is an iconic landmark.  The store revolutionized the shopping experience for British consumers, and observers credit it for helping to propel major societal changes in pre-World War II Britain.

The current Selfridges store pays homage to its namesake founder:

“Harry Selfridge was the first in the UK to allow customers to touch and interact directly with the store’s products and the first to sell a broad mix of inexpensive and extremely luxurious items under one roof.  Effectively, he wanted for every customer to feel welcome at his store.  He was also the only one to relentlessly use his store as a theatre, an exhibition space and a playground to delight customers with unexpected experiences.  Retail theatre was born.”

While the TV series is outstanding, I’ve especially enjoyed learning about the business philosophy that underpinned how Selfridge operated the store.  More than 100 years later, his breakthrough thinking remains spot-on and valuable to today’s marketing and business practitioners.

In 1918, Selfridge published The Romance of Commerce, in which he articulated his philosophy and explained his business ideas.

Photo: Adams Media

Photo: Adams Media

Last year, Adams Media released an abridged and updated version, from which I’ve selected and organized some of his timeless marketing and business ideas.

Take a few mid-summer reading minutes and soak-in the timeless wisdom of Harry Selfridge.

 


Leadership

  • This ability, therefore, to organize, to breathe into others that fire of enthusiasm, that quality of judgment, that spirit of progress, has long been considered by thinking men of commerce as the final and greatest of all qualities, the test of supreme commercial genius.
Photo: Selfridges.com

Photo: Selfridges.com

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Make Your Mission Statement Actually Mean Something

A book search on Amazon.com for “mission statement” produced 29, 303 results.

Wow!  I suppose that means there’s a lot of interest in the topic – or a lot of help needed!

Cartoon: tomfishburne.com

Cartoon: tomfishburne.com

For sure, companies devote precious time and dedicate significant resources on a variety of strategic identity work, including mission statements.  Some is well-spent, others not so much.

A mission statement should be a catalyst to drive the organization forward in the same direction.  To do that, it should be: Continue reading

Customer Treats: AMC Transforms Movie-Watching Experience with Power Recliners

Our strategic objective is very straightforward: we intend to be the customer experience leader. (AMC Theatres)

As a customer, it really is fun when your expectations are completely blown away.  That’s what happened when my Dad and I went to the movies last week.

AMC Theatres Logo

Logo: AMC Theatres.

You see, the Military Capital of the American Revolution has a new, state-of-the-art movie theatre complex.  In early May, AMC Theatres completed a total transformation of its 40,000 square foot Headquarters Plaza 10 in Morristown, NJ.

Anyone who remembers the theatre under previous ownership will be pleasantly shocked. However, it seems to be mostly a secret.  More on that in a moment.

Transformation Features Power Recliner Seats

The entire complex has been given a total makeover:  new theatres, concession areas, bathrooms and lobby.  The transformative highlight is the installation of comfortable, power recliner seats, in AMC red of course.

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Golf Ball Sized Apples Bring Easy, Healthy Snacking Innovation

Photo: Havelock North Fruit Company.

Photo: Havelock North Fruit Company.

A New Zealand company has come up with a new, innovative concept to market a product that’s thousands of years old:  the apple.

It’s a combination of agricultural technology and smart marketing.

The Havelock North Fruit Company developed the capability to grow mini apples that are just 1.5 times the size of a golf ball (via cross-breeding selected varieties).  Next came packaging inspiration that put five apples into a hand-held , transparent tube.  The concept was tied together with an attention-generating brand called  Rockit™.

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Get Ready for Google Air Force. Strategy Makes Sense Even if Planes Don’t Fly.

Self-driving cars. Computer glasses. And now, solar-powered, jet-sized drones.

Photo: Titan Aerospace.

Photo: Titan Aerospace.

Last week, Google acquired two-year-old start-up Titan Aerospace, apparently outbidding Facebook for the company.  What the heck is Google doing?

For starters, Google’s management team hasn’t lost its marbles or fallen down the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole.  The Titan purchase is part of a smart, sophisticated business and marketing strategy that has technology as a key enabler. Continue reading

Razor Battle is On! 800Razors.com Challenges Dollar Shave Club and Gillette.

Photo:  800Razors Facebook.

Photo: 800Razors.com Facebook.

At first glance, it would be easy to conclude that 800Razors.com is just a Dollar Shave Club copycat in the nearly $2 billion razor cartridge category.

But that would be wrong.

Let’s quickly set the stage for this discussion.

Category leader Gillette built a strong business via a decades-long, continuing series of product innovations that support a premium-price strategy.  They kept some of the older models as part of a tiered product/pricing assortment for consumers.

An opening existed for a competitor to deliver a high-quality blade at much lower cost, and it came via a new business model.  Dollar Shave Club (DSC) emerged as a disruptive player in 2011/2012, getting wide notice with a wacky video featuring its founder.  Its online, recurring monthly sales model (“club”) took dead aim at the category giants selling through traditional retail channels.

Photo:  Dollar Shave Club website.

Photo: Dollar Shave Club website.

Then, in 2013, 800Razors.com joined the fray, building off the DSC approach while incorporating significant go-to-market differences:

Photo:  800Razors.com Facebook.

Photo: 800Razors.com Facebook.

  1. Buy Only When You Want.  800Razors allows single purchase. Dollar Shave Club does not.  It’s an important difference because it removes a potential obstacle to trial.  For example, I’ve thought about trying DSC but didn’t want to sign-up for regular monthly deliveries. Continue reading

For Commodity-Busting, Idea Generating Inspiration: Think Hamburgers.

The next time you’re blocked on marketing or business-building ideas, think about hamburgers.

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Because, what’s more of a commodity than hamburgers?

Author Dave Dolak provides this succinct definition:  Commodity products are largely undifferentiated products that offer little or no perceived differences between competitive offerings.

Yet, consider the creativity spawned by the ubiquitous hamburger – so many variations on the same idea that excite consumers every day.

This is top-of-mind for me because I just learned about a hamburger chain called Bareburger, which opened a restaurant in Edgewater, NJ.

It got me thinking.  There seems to be an endless amount of brand concept, product development and overall food establishment new business activity across the country, built around hamburgers.

Obviously, the challenge is to create meaningful differences or reasons to buy.  Build the news or make new news out of existing products.

So, if you’re running a commodity business, tasked with marketing a commodity product, or just in need of some new business ideas, be encouraged.  Draw inspiration from USA hamburger chains. Continue reading