Customers say they want a more seamless experience across all channels and touch-points. “Sure” you say, “but it’s very expensive and complicated to implement that level of integration.”
Silo-ed data, systems, organizations and metrics are keeping your brand from being more customer-centric and relevant. “I know” is your response, “but greater centralization would be very jarring to our culture.”
In an increasingly noisy world, mass marketing and one-size-fits-all approaches fail to gain share of attention, becoming less effective by the day. You respond, “you’re right, but treating different customers differently is difficult to scale.”
Relentless price promotions and layering of discounts and reward points deteriorate profit margins, teach customers to only buy on sale and accelerate an inevitable race to the bottom. Your defense is to say “well that’s what moves the top line” and to point out how hard it is to justify full price.
In the inevitable battle between denial, defending the status quo and rationalization vs. acceptance, leaping and innovation, we tend to choose the former. And our fate is sealed.
Many of the things we avoid as too risky are, in fact, often just the opposite. The risk is in the failure to change, in the lack of passion to become intensely relevant, in being stuck in “me too” instead of choosing to become remarkably different.
What’s hard is to move where the customer is headed after the competition has already established a beach head.
What’s hard is to break through the clutter with undifferentiated products and tired messaging.
What’s hard is to acquire, grow and retain the right customers with average products for average people.
What’s hard is to catch up when you’ve fallen behind.
Mass or built for me?
All about price, or all about unique value?
Average or remarkable?
My guess is that every brand that’s gone through the work of closing stores, firing people and liquidating inventory might have a different view of what’s hard.