Companies like Apple, Zappos, Amazon, and Wal-Mart are influential in their respective industries, but why? Apple makes innovative products that no other manufacturer can seem to touch. Zappos has legendary customer service that’s yet to be duplicated. Amazon is one of the world’s biggest retailers and an innovator in their own right – practically creating the market for eBooks with their custom reader, the Kindle. Wal-Mart dominates the retail market and can command just about any price it wants from its suppliers.
Establish Your Purpose
All of the companies that eventually become influential in their industry had to develop a clear purpose for their existence. Wal-Mart wanted to be the largest retailer in the world, while Apple wanted to make the best computers. Amazon spearheaded the online bookstore concept and Zappos wanted to win people through superior service.
Each reinvented an idea, and in some cases invented new ideas, within their industry. This is what you need to do. Most companies attain a reasonable measure of success by simply following what others are doing. They borrow concepts, and marketing ideas. They tweak products to make them more competitive.
What you need to do is invent products that aren’t easily comparable with your peers. For example, lots of people have a computer, but Apple creates proprietary technology that others can’t duplicate. This effectively makes it impossible to make a direct comparison. They lead instead of follow. The same holds true for Amazon.
It’s true that other e-readers have come onto the scene since the Kindle, but Amazon was the first to make a commercially viable product. It sought to invent an industry. Everyone else simply copied that concept. That’s why Amazon won that race. What can you do to shake up your industry?
Become a Thought-Leader
Though-leaders make predictions about their industry and then work to make those predictions come true. In your industry, you have to find gaps where no company is serving a need. In many instances, you have to invent a need.
For example, prior to Amazon inventing the Kindle, there was no market for eBooks. There was no such thing as an eBook, really. Jeff Bezos made that a reality. That’s what you have to do. Create something new and wonderful, and teach people that they need it and why.
It’s easier said than done, true. But that’s what makes thought-leaders, leaders. If it were easy, every company would be innovative.
Understand Your Market
A big part of being influential in your market is to understand it. What are your customers’ fears? What are their desires? Why do they buy from you instead of your competition? What can you do to really “wow” them and attract other people who aren’t yet your customers?
A perfect example of how to do this can be found in the company, Zappos. Every company has customer service, but not every company satisfies customers like Zappos does. That company hires and trains people to have exceptional people skills.
Zappos employees have been known to stay on the phone with customers for a half-hour trying to solve their problem. In the end, customers end up with free shipping, a generous return policy, and sometimes even unsolicited gifts in the mail as a “thank you” for doing business with the company.
About the Author
Kurt Smith is a business marketing consultant. He enjoys passing on the thing he has learned through blogging. Visit the NextDayLenses.com website and see how they use their site to influence their market.