The Changing Rules of Business

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Partner & CEO
May 12, 2022

My family loves national parks. When we travel to the coast, we never pass up a visit to one of our nation's many historic military forts. For centuries, these immense and costly installations were how nations defended their borders… until the invention of the airplane made every fixed cannon fort immediately and globally obsolete.

Today, these types of seismic shifts happen all the time - almost daily, it seems. As a marketing technology business consultancy, IntegrityXD has a front row seat to how businesses have changed across multiple industries. While it's true that business has always been evolving, what is different today is the speed and scale of that change. I could write a book about what's happened in the past few months, so instead, here are the last three topics I've discussed this week with various clients.

Customers are buying you, not your product.

Today, customers want to see more of who you are not just what you sell. For large corporations, this can be pretty scary - what if I offend someone? What if someone doesn't like me? The truth is, no company can sell a product to every single human, so stop trying. The greatest brands are built upon small but passionate consumer segments who guide the brand over time to ever larger market share. Stand for something and share it with the world consistently and authentically across all channels (advertising, marketing, product, support, internal, etc). Don't fear being disliked - fear being ignored.

Your competition is not the problem.

Worry less about your competition and more about why you are relevant in a consumers life. How are you making their lives easier? Why should they care that you exist? If you find yourself with shrinking marketshare, it's not because a competitor has a better price or a shiny new app, but because you're not solving your customers problems in the right way. Sure, understanding your competition is useful context, but beware the urge to follow. Market dominance demands a laser focus on your consumer - solving problems in better ways, creating delight and earning loyalty.

Innovation not protectionism.

If you succeed in innovation, you can expect plenty of copycats - but don't let this be a distraction. Success is accelerating where you are going, not protecting where you have been. Not only can you design around technology patents (just compare an iPhone to an Android), but the time and resources spent securing and defending those patents could be used instead to build the next best thing. A classic example is why Tesla open-sourced its many patents. Per Elon:

“...leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers.”

A better team making better decisions moving faster than the competition will always win over backwards-looking protectionists.

Another example that's a bit closer to home is the unique organizational model Integrity has refined over the past two decades. Our team culture and shared values are a huge part of who we are and why companies trust our team with “cannot fail” strategy, marketing or web programs. Rather than guard this, we share it openly and hope others adopt our approach and find similar success.

After all, in an economy of ideas, what's the point of protecting a slice of pie when anyone can build a bakery? It's time to act differently. Think bigger. Move faster. Design delight. Look forward and build what's next.

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