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To Change Irresistible Forces, Add A Pinch Of Prototypes And A Cup Of Celebrity To A Dash Of Demand

Apr 8, 2008
Start with a dash of demand. Then add a pinch of prototypes.

Smart salespeople have known for a long time that determining the specifications for purchasing in an industry will have a large positive impact on their sales. For this reason, companies often charge very little compared to their costs to develop prototypes that will become the new industry standard.

These prototypes will provide the maker with large advantages should they become the industry standard that everyone must meet. Shrewd companies make the prototypes in ways that will be much more difficult and expensive for competitors to emulate.

This process of setting standards usually begins by finding a technical person in the purchasing organization who is sensitive to little details. The customer's supplier is willing to provide unique solutions to those little details that a competing supplier would have a hard time duplicating at the same or lower cost. If the technical person is delighted with the product results, that is good for the supplier.

The purchasing agent will find that the recommended specifications for buying new products include many of the delightful little technical details so prized by the technical person. Competitors then have little time to respond.

Without a way to earn a decent profit margin on the new business, competitors may even decline to bid. A process such as this has often occurred in government procurement for weapons systems, for example.

Fold in a cup of celebrity. It's not uncommon for shrewd marketers to spice up their product campaigns by hiring celebrity spokespeople for their products and services.

When Michael Jackson was at the height of his popularity in the early 1980s, Pepsi-Cola saw its market share rise in part through extensive concert-type advertising featuring this performer.

Robert Young, the actor who appeared as the doctor in the highly rated television show, Marcus Welby, M.D., became very credible to the millions who admired and liked him. As a result, over-the-counter medicine makers hired him to appear in their advertisements.

In the 1990s, Michael Jordan, the basketball player, enjoyed the same kind of appeal and generated an enormous income solely from being a spokesperson for a variety of products, including basketball shoes.

In a similar way, start-up enterprises will often salt the board with celebrities and soon enjoy a high-profile level of influence. Almost overnight, the Drucker Foundation became a major factor in the development of thinking about the nonprofit sector through the prestige that Frances Hesselbein provided as head of the foundation. She is the former head of the Girl Scouts and one of the most able and admired nonprofit executives ever.

She then persuaded Peter Drucker to lend his name and advice to the foundation. Using their combined influence, the best thinkers in the world volunteered their services.

The volunteers wanted the recognition that being part of Drucker Foundation activities could provide. This popularity drew success much more rapidly than mere quality and marketing could have done, allowing the Drucker Foundation to approach more closely to an ideal best practice.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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