Some concepts are as clear as that: black and white or night and day. Such a concept can cause a completely different view of the world and a completely different set of behaviours. One such was the whole Product-driven/Customer-centric notion. Companies making fine products as they view it will not do as well as companies making products that are specifically designed to address customers’ needs as defined by the customers.
Seth Godin was responsible for a similar black and white concept in his book on “Permission Marketing” in 1999. Who is in control of the buyer/seller relationship? If you as the seller try to over-control the process, you won’t be making the sale. The buyer is always in control so if you as the seller act accordingly your sales will be significantly higher.
I believe Seth Godin has hit on another topic that has that Night and Day quality. It’s in one of his recent blog postings. The title is ‘The New Digital Divide‘. Those who are comfortable with the new technologies of the Information Age such as the Internet are leaving behind those who are not. It’s one of his best posts ever and it couldn’t be said better. Access to the Internet and facility in using computers allows people to leverage their intelligence and their energy. If you’re communicating with customers, likely those who are on the Digital side of the Divide will be those who are growing faster and have greater resources and cash. That’s why we see an exponential growth in the take-up of so many of the digital devices and information processing softwares. Godin notes for example that the Firefox browser is now used by more than 50% of the visitors to the Boing-Boing website, a news site for Information Technology. This compares with a general usage of this more effective browser of about 10% among business people according to some observers.
So it’s not just a question of staying on the leading edge. Many of the most attractive customers are right up there with you. So you can’t afford to let the competition steal a lead on you. Make sure you’re on the right side of the Digital Divide.