“Some distributors are already out of business, they just don’t know it yet”, emphatically warned my good friend Chris Brown when he first penned Illumigeddon. http://energywatchnews.com/some-distributors-are-already-out-of-business-they-just-dont-know-it-yet-by-chris-brown-ceo-wiedenbach-brown-illumigeddon/ May I go one step further and even more emphatically state, “every single traditional lighting business will go out of business…..it’s just a matter of time and it will happen faster than most would like.” Do you really want to be the last man standing? Remember the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”? Well, that did not end well…
To my friends and cohorts that run successful businesses and are in the market everyday fighting the good fight. You are the doers. You compete in a very competitive marketplace and have my deepest respect. My goal is not to tell you how to run your businesses but rather to contribute to your strategic thinking going forward. I offer my thinking to provide you with some encouraging guidelines in order to disrupt your existing business model for success in disruptive times…
1. Milk your traditional lighting business as long as you can but know that the end is near. http://energywatchnews.com/what-do-we-do-with-a-problem-child-by-bill-attardi/
2. Create a new disruptive lighting business model or acquire one….a separate business. If lighting is not about illumination anymore, then it must be about something else, so call it something else….. (GE calls theirs Current, Powered by GE, headquartered in Boston….. maybe they know something else).
3. Consider a disruptive business model that can satisfy the basic turn-key needs of your customers………. they want smart buildings:
• Project management from the audit to ongoing monitoring of the result
• Supply of the most advanced electronic technologies, not just lighting
• Installation & maintenance – as technologies change so does your value proposition
4. Don’t put traditional people in charge – hire those that are not hampered by the good ole days: it ain’t your grandfather’s lighting business anymore. You do not need those who constantly want to justify what they did yesteryear but rather, leaders with vision that demand taking an uncharted and maybe alien direction going forward.
5. Hire Millennials, those that understand the transition to Smart Lighting and more importantly to Intelligent Lighting…systems approach and they can work your social media activities as well. Millennials are disruptive tech adopters—they grew up with a phone in one hand and a tablet on their laps and are proficient in the use of disruptive innovations. Most are technologically enabled in unprecedented ways. Tap into the Millennial World…
6. Customer mining – dig deep into your existing customer files and determine what they buy and how they buy from you. Remember, every single one of your customers will upgrade to SSL systems. Either you will sell them or your competitors will.
7. Dominate small niche markets first. A big fish in small pond strategy that seems to work with high-tech companies. http://energywatchnews.com/big-fish-in-small-pond-strategy-by-bill-attardi/ The old traditional strategies that worked well in the past will certainly not work going forward. Serve those niche markets you know best. You cannot be all things to all people when change at this magnitude happens.
8. Create a new business development department to continue to look at the disruptive innovations that will continue to evolve and change course when necessary.
9. Put someone in charge of Content Marketing – the core of effective communications these days. Even traditional marketing disciplines are changing…..remember the four (4) Ps, well now it’s the four (4) Cs:
• Product………………..Customer wants
• Place………………….Convenience to buy
• Price…………………..Cost to satisfy
10. Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) – the expansive variety of advertising and promotional venues to reach existing and potential customers continue to increase and so does the noise level. It requires innovative approaches to communicate in a clear voice with a consistent message, integrated for maximum impact on customers, employees and stakeholders.
11. Focus on social media and email marketing as a means to enhance CRM (Customer Relationship Management)…keep your business fresh in the minds of your customers and entice them to reconnect with your new business model. Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.
12. Lighting as a Service (LaaS) – stay plugged in to your customer’s lighting / data service needs on an ongoing basis and charge them accordingly, why not. Look for neoteric ways to service your customers and service the hell out of everything you sell.
One last thought: about IoT, Internet of Things, and all the rest. It’s not going away, so it must be an integral part of your strategic thinking. Understand it all as it will drive the direction of your new business model; and more importantly, it will allow you to be more connected to your customers than ever before. Tanti Auguri! (All the Best!)