Glad to feature a guest blog from Dave Beasing today. This missive, along with some other great ideas, can also be found in the latest edition of Buzz From Beasing at www.jacobsmedia.com/buzz.htm.
As BusinessWeek magazine succinctly put it in their 2005 year-end issue, "The Knowledge Economy is giving way to the Creative Economy." In other words, data management is a commodity that’s getting cheaper by the minute. Information technology can be farmed out to Third World countries just like the industrial assembly line. But what is setting growth companies apart is a focus on innovation and design. The big wins are when you create ways to satisfy needs that consumers don’t even know they have yet.
Let’s face it: We in the media have sometimes gotten by with, supposedly, playing it safe – researching existing, perceived needs. But the era of merely gathering and using information is fast coming to a close. That’s why former NBC chief Brandon Tartikoff keeps a framed copy of the pre-screening research report on Seinfeld as a reminder – that the most successful sitcom in recent history was predicted to be a miserable failure.
Market research won’t "greenlight" the next Howard Stern, pick hits by the next breakthrough band like Nirvana, or discover a need for a website like MySpace or Craigslist. Nor will it tell you how to repackage your radio station to sound different than every other station on the dial – or than your station did last year. Marketing research only provides opinions about the past, events that are already in the rearview mirror. Consumers can help guide your creative vision of what’s ahead, but they can’t provide it.
Reis & Trout were right that products must either be first in a category or create a new one. It’s never been truer. Now, the world is even smaller and faster, so you must be first - not just locally, but everywhere. For example, what once was the only radio station in a market playing a particular musical format is now – always – just one of many available. Adding to the challenge, the public’s fascination with change means that even category leaders need to frequently update their brands. Only a truly creative organization can do all that.
It’s been said that failure can be attributed to either a Deficiency of Knowledge ("DK") or a Deficiency of Execution ("DE"). As we turn the calendar to 2006, Buzz adds to that list what we’ll call "DC" – a Deficiency of Creativity. Continuing to do what we always have – "playing it safe" – is the biggest risk of all.
Don't forget to check out Dave's latest "Buzz" - it's a good read.