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How Do Consumers Choose in a World of Automated Ordering?

Harvard Business Review

Our 2017 survey of 170 top Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Retail CEOs, COOs, and CFOs revealed a conscious shift away from traditional mass production and mass marketing practices toward more personalized approaches. To begin, even the most capable and sophisticated marketing organizations will need to fundamentally change their mission and shape. Traditionally, marketing’s most important task was to broadcast the company’s brands to consumers.

Find the Best Local Markets to Drive Growth

Harvard Business Review

These super geos were local profit pools that were concentrated and big enough to offer big ROI upside for marketing and sales. Sometimes it’s not immediately obvious why some geographic markets are such big consumers of a particular product. For instance, the best markets for top-sliced bread (think hot dog buns) tend to have had three to four times the profit dollars versus the average local market. Certain local markets have the right ingredients to ripen demand.

Beyond Mass Customization

Harvard Business Review

Rather, they focus on markets (anonymous agglomerations of customers) rather than on any real, living, breathing individual customer. Most recognize that there are no truly mass markets any more. But we must go beyond looking at market segments and niches to embracing the truism that every customer is his own market. Multiple Markets Within. After all, what could possibly be next after recognizing that every customer is his own market?

The More Experience You Have, the Worse You Are at Bootstrapping

Harvard Business Review

Studying 837 mass-market movies released between 1996 and 2003, they collected data on the movies’ producers and their prior experience. If a company wants to generate the most revenue from its resources, it should put its most experienced leaders in charge of those resources.

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Instead of Optimizing Processes, Reimagine Them as Platforms

Harvard Business Review

Platform models bring a shift in emphasis—from meeting specific customer needs to encouraging mass-market adoption in order to maximize the number of interactions, or from product-related sources of competitive advantage (such as product differentiation) to network-related sources of competitive advantage (the network effects of connecting many users and third parties).” Process optimization can transform user experience.

Consumer Warning Labels Aren’t Working

Harvard Business Review

Most are accompanied by other restrictions, such as taxes and smoking bans in the case of cigarettes, which means it is difficult to disentangle the effects of warnings from other factors that influence behavior. This practice leads highly cautious consumers to lump low-risk products in with mass-marketed products that actually merit such a warning and encourages many others to simply ignore warnings. Warning labels are everywhere.

To Stay Ahead of Disruption's Curve, Follow Lead Users

Harvard Business Review

Unfortunately, however, customers for firms serving the mass market, by definition, have largely of middle-of-the-road needs. They are not "lead users" — users who today want new solutions to leading-edge needs that will disrupt firms serving the middle of the market tomorrow. Steve Jobs, influenced by Christensen, was keenly aware of the innovator's dilemma.

Rules For the Social Era

Harvard Business Review

It's not to create more jargon, it's to emphasize a point: that social is more than the stuff the marketing team deals with. Fifteen years ago, The Cluetrain Manifesto taught us that markets are conversations and that was a great starting point. Mass markets were a convenient fiction created by mass media. But real markets are much more precise. Again, that captures the marketing aspect but misses the strategic point.