Did you ever play leap frog as a kid? The idea of it always seemed fun, but for me the game never lasted longer than a few hops. I never really appreciated the game until much later in life when I understood its implications to business. The capability to catapult ahead of your competition based on the experience and learning of others seemed like a great way to save time and money while getting better business results. The trick to playing leap frog in business is to look for places where the game’s simple rules (http://www.playgroundfun.org.uk/GameRules.aspx?gameID=54) apply, and for me that is in the area of marketing.
In marketing, “Leaping” ahead comes from two major areas – either being a fast follower (learning from the mistakes that a first mover makes and improving on them) or by leverage technology advances to achieve something that others simply couldn’t have done earlier. A smart leap allows you to differentiate your company or offering and ultimately achieve better results faster. A perfect example of a leap can be seen in China’s telecommunication strategy. Rather than investing billions in land line technology, China leaped to new technology and is creating a state of the art cell infrastructure. Interestingly, China imported its first mobile phone telecommunication facilities in 1987 and it took a decade for the number of subscribers to reach 10 million. Four years later, in 2001, the country has the largest number of mobile phone subscribers in the world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_in_the_People’s_Republic_of_China) In addition to providing a substantial financial benefit, the move allowed more Chinese to have access to phone service faster.
As I have an opportunity to work with companies in a wide array of industries, I find it fascinating that what is a standard marketing practice in one industry may not be used at all in another. Case in point is white papers. In the IT space, text based white papers are a common means of educating and communicating with prospects. Readers spend hours with white papers in an attempt to glean useful information. In the Industrial Automation space, very few have invested in whitepapers. Many ask if they should and I advise them to leap instead. Without the tradition of text based whitepaper engrained in automation prospects’ minds this is a great chance to leap ahead and leverage video technology. Done well, a short video can educate and entertain as well. Searchable video makes access through search engines fast and easy and allows prospects to find relevant material quickly. Once identified, viewers can spend less time reading and more time absorbing critical information. As marketers we must always be searching for ways to make it easier on our prospect to move ahead more quickly through their buying cycle. Leaping ahead by watching and enhancing what others have done or leveraging technology in a new way to make it easier on prospects is the responsibility of every marketer. So get out there and get hopping!