Blockbuster's fate of doom was sealed the minute it decided to pass off Netflix as a non-threat.
At its peak, Blockbuster had over 9000 stores worldwide in 2004. Five years later, its chronic complacency led to inevitable bankruptcy.
Though the company's revenues had declined year on year since 2005, its epic demise had little to do with the recession.
Rather, it was a failure to accept the world had changed.
There's no denying an economic slowdown, but recession is too often blamed for a failure to adapt.
Blaming the economy is easy. It's also a sure sign a company has fundamental issues that merit attention.
If the economic slowdown is such a big problem, then why have so many companies bucked the trend?
Google's earnings per share have increased 22% in the last 5 years. The non-tech sector is even more curious. In the current recession -- Chipotle's stock price has increased almost 900% to date. Earnings per share have increased more than 30%.
Coca Cola's stock is triple what it was in 2008.
The answer is: We're in the midst of great change. We're experiencing a shift to a people and data-driven economy. Old news that's new to some.
Organisations oblivious to this sea change continue to operate with little cause for concern.
My personal observations suggest the mid-market has seen ripple effects, but no dire shocks just yet. I have little doubt that it's just a matter of time.
Every company that actively chooses to ignore these seismic shifts cannot hope to survive the next 5 years.
Today's consumer is empowered. No longer constrained by choice, access to information, geography or regulatory policies.
The customer is queen and how she feels about your company matters more than the size of her purse. Her (customer) success is paramount.
Businesses have to shift their focus from the competitive landscape. Instead they must self-organise around the customer's needs and wants.
Thus it follows that -- in the new economy -- every employee serves as an ambassador for the brand -- intimately understanding his or her role in contributing to customer success.
This means employees are no longer just workers. They're comrades. Their attitude is valued over talent.
Progress has to be measured by customer success rather than hours worked.
Marketing too has to change. No longer an independent business function that operates in a silo. "Here, we've built this, now go sell it" are words considered tantamount to treason.
Marketing activities focus on customer pulse and feed back customer health to every cell in the company.
On the surface, it may be seem like a subtle distinction, but in reality, it is deep organisational change.
This is why more and more start-ups are experiencing meteoric success. Their ability to adapt is far greater than existing businesses handicapped by their inertia.
But with great challenges come great opportunities. And those opportunities lie in technology and data.
Technology has become a huge multiplier and enabler of execution. Now a team of five, can create a compelling user experience as if a team of fifty. Rome absolutely can be built in a day.
Technology has also lavished us with data. The holy grail of customer insight.
For an organisation focussed on customer success, there is no better companion than data. Data helps us identify patterns and relationships. Patterns that help us spot opportunities.
Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the opportunities that technology and data can create for them.They also can't afford to ignore the need for multi-disciplinary personnel. Marketers that understand I.T, and technical personnel that look beyond their own craft and take interest in the business as a whole.
All being said, there should be no illusion of silver bullets.
Any business that assumes -- ramping up existing marketing efforts is all it's going to take -- is denying itself the grander opportunity.
And those that promise overnight results without any mention of organisational change are just soothsayers.
Creating deep organisational change is hard, which is why few choose to do it.
Suffice to say - I have a lot of work on my hands.