Adapt…or Die Not Trying

Business models that seemed ideal just a decade ago are obsolete.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to make a change.

Not many people like change. Most naturally resist it until there is no choice — and then only change as much as they need to in order to survive.
I’m in the minority — I LIKE change, because every change brings new opportunities. However, the pace and DEPTH of change in the last 20 years has been amazing. And the number of businesses that have gone under because they did not adapt has been equally surprising. 
INTERNET, IPOD, CELL PHONES
Entire business models are now obsolete or heading in that direction. What did the internet displace? Yellow pages? TV? Newspaper? As internet use increased starting in 1993, these industries saw declines. iPods put the once-popular Walkman into the museums. And cell phones — very few young people even get residential land lines any more. 
REDBOX AND NETFLIX
When video rental stores made the difficult switch from VHS tape to DVDs, it looked like they were here to stay, with locations on every corner. But then Netflix and Redbox (and Blockbuster Express) came in, and bye-bye went the video stores. 
IS ANYTHING SAFE?
Forget the idea of selling what you’ve always sold and selling it the way you always did. No matter what you sell, it’s likely either your product or service itself has changed, or the way you sell it has changed. (For example, maybe you sold it at trade shows before, but now the internet is the easiest way to reach more people.) So I guess the answer is, “No…nothing is safe, or exempt, from change.”
COUNT ON IT
If you aren’t thinking of ways to improve your product, your service or your marketing, someone else — probably your competitor — is thinking about it. Count on it.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN AND WHAT TO CHANGE?
Ask, observe, and test. Constant feedback from customers is the key. Can you make your product or service cheaper or more convenient? Can you deliver it faster? Observe what competitors are doing. Test new ideas on a regular basis using social media and focus groups.

USING OLD DOGS FOR NEW TRICKS
Americans love dogs. And we’ve been making them stars for decades. From Old Yeller to Lassie, from Underdog to Snoop Dogg, dogs have been a staple of TV shows, cartoons, entertainment and advertising. 
Sometimes it seems like the same old dog is just learning new tricks. The Little Rascals shows popular on TV in the 50s and 60s featured a dog with a black circle around his eye. Fast forward to the 90s, and a strikingly similar dog becomes the spokesmodel for Bud Light (“Spuds MacKenzie”). Another decade, and what looks like Spuds’ cousin is now the representative of Target department stores. 
WE ADAPTED, SO CAN YOU
Today, FARRIS MARKETING is very different from the one my partners and I started. We didn’t offer 3-D animation or website development when we started because those things didn’t even exist. But our offerings have changed to meet the needs of our clients.
KEEP THE CORE VALUES
Good service never goes out of style. Good values never get stale. But messages and products need to change with the needs of the customer. 

You don’t want to be the video store or Walkman of the 2010 decade. So if you haven’t looked at adapting or changing in the last 12 months…get started. 
Stay tuned and stay smart.

About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Email questions and comments to GFF@FarrisMarketing.com and connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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