As they used to say when I was growing up, “Don’t forget who brought you to the dance.” While this is good advice for a courtship, it’s not realistic for a product-driven company. Most likely, the product that you came with, won’t get you where you need to go.
In a competitive, rapidly-changing marketplace, it is the businesses who constantly adapt and reinvent themselves that succeed.
“Only the paranoid survive” – Andy Grove, Intel
From the original 1955 Fortune 500 list, only 71 companies remain today. Think about some of the brands you used to love that no longer exist. I remember the Montgomery Ward store on the courthouse square in my hometown. Today, only those of us over a certain age even recognize that brand. And remember the Polaroid camera? What a big hit that was. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
Companies that survive and thrive in today’s market are the ones that are nimble, flexible, and quick to adapt to changing trends. They work to stay a step ahead of their competition with innovative new products and business methods.
Take Crocs for example. The clunky clog manufacturer created a “blue ocean market space” in the shoe industry, with its footwear that combined comfort and fashion at a low price. Their go-to-market strategy reduced overhead, which helped the nascent company quickly soar to success. Founded in 2002, the company has sales in over 90 countries and has reached just over $1 billion in revenue. In 2006, the company went public, and in October 2008, its stock price hit an all-time high of over $75. Subsequently, the bottom fell out, and the share price tanked as it fell to below $1 amidst stronger competition. The cool factor and the popularity of the shoes had faded. Today, the stock is trading for around $14, but to build sales and drive up stock prices, the company’s CEO John MCCarvel recognizes the need to attract new customers.
Reevaluating their market. Redirecting their focus.
While the original Crocs continue to have a strong fan following, the company is redirecting its focus away from its original product. Consumers are presented with foam-bottomed wedges, sneakers, and leopard-print ballet flats that appeal to a broader audience. According to an article in Bloomberg Business Week, the company’s goal is to become known as a lifestyle brand, introducing potential customers to Crocs’ more than 300 styles, and convincing those who think they know the brand that they don’t.
This is a perfect example of how important it is for companies to constantly reevaluate their market and adapt their product offerings. Crocs were a big hit in the beginning, and many companies would have stayed married to their key product.
While businesses shouldn’t forget about the product that made their company a success, they should remember to remain nimble, flexible, and quick to adapt.
How do you remain nimble in a competitive, rapidly-changing marketplace? Tell me about it below.
About the Author: Susan Solovic is THE Small Business Expert. Sign up for Susan’s Success Tips Newsletter and get your free copy of “Smart Marketing Strategies for Small Biz” ebook.