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你对品质的理解已经“冻住”了吗?

2014-02-25    来源:sibuxiang    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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Is Your Understanding of Quality Frozen?

When I was growing up and for most of my adult life, Kodak film was the film of choice for almost all still photography consumers in the U.S. and many other countries. Professional or advanced amateur photographers used Japanese or German brands for some purposes, but for the average Joe, the word “film” was interchangeable with “Kodak”.

As Seth Godin recently wrote in his blog Misunderstanding quality:

“Kodak…ruled their world. They were as close to a monopoly as they could get, for generations.”

He goes on to posit that Kodak’s big mistake was misunderstanding how consumers’ attitudes to quality were changing over several generations. Instead of wanting higher and higher quality images, most consumers came to want cheaper, easier, and more readily distributable images.

Kodak served the professionals fairly well, but completely missed the boat on the masses. Seth’s conclusion from this is we should avoid the trap of equating product perfection with what the consumer always wants.

The upshot of that is that marketers need to tirelessly seek insight into how consumer preferences and needs are changing. Market research is a part of that process, but the real super stars are those who can anticipate what consumers want before the consumer even realizes it.

In most industries, that requires engineers, designers and marketers working together closely, and thinking out of the box.

In all industries, a company with a monopoly or near monopoly lock on a market is at tremendous risk of stumbling badly. Monopolies breed hubris, and hubris invites blindness into the leadership suite. That can result in a perfect storm.

Another essay which caught my attention on a somewhat related topic was written by Dr. Joe Webb, an analyst specializing in print media. Webb writes about U.S. consumer publisher Conde Nast, and the relative success they are having in fine-tuning and redefining how print fits into the multi-channel media mix, and what differentiates its attractiveness to consumers.

This is noteworthy because the magazine business has been in a funk since 2002, and many analysts have concluded that the death of print is inevitable.

Webb focuses on Conde Nast’s VOGUE as a success story of a magazine which has increased ad pages relative to industry averages by building on the strength of the brand and redefining the ways in which the print version is cross-leveraged and integrated with its other platforms.

Conde Nast spent US$1 million on research last year, focused largely on better understanding competitors as well as the consumer’s changing needs.

Webb’s conclusion is summed up in the title of the article:

“Vogue’s Print Ad Rise Has Very Little to Do with Print, Lots to Do with Branding, Research, and Competitive Action“

He also observes:

“Vogue is in the fashion business. The research they do gives them a position where they can lead their audience in their thinking and their wants and needs. They set a trend. Is your business well-versed enough to counsel your client about what’s ahead in media and how you’re capable to help them understand it?”

Full disclosure: I’ve been involved in print and other forms of media for more than 40 years, so I am no doubt biased to some extent against the “death of print” prediction.

But I see parallels with the Kodak story. Are you and I taking less photos these days than in times past? No way. Quite the opposite. We’re just taking, sharing, editing and distributing them in very different ways.

Strong magazine brands which do the research and have the foresight to anticipate changing consumer tastes and preferences for content consumption on multiple platforms have a very bright future.

Those that fail to grasp this insight and deliver on the new quality equation will go the way of the dinosaurs. A big, powerful, arrogant dinosaur can still end up as a fossil on some remote hillside.


 

在我小时候以及成年以来的大部分时间,柯达胶卷一直是美国和其他很多国家普通摄影消费者的心水之选。专业摄影师和超级发烧友由于一些特殊原因更爱用日本或德国的胶卷品牌,但对寻常百姓来说,“柯达”就是“胶卷”的代名词。

正如赛斯•高汀在最近的博文《质量误读》中写到的:“柯达……曾一统江山,几乎垄断市场一连好几代人的时间。”

但接下来他也写到:柯达最大的错误就在于没能正确地把握几代消费者质量观的变迁。更完美的图像质量已经不再是大多数消费者的追求,取而代之的是低廉的价格、简单的操作和更加便捷的传输方式。

柯达对专业人士提供的服务可谓尽善尽美,但却错过了普通消费者的这班大船。据此,赛斯总结说:我们应该避免落入将产品极致化与消费者需求划等号的陷阱。

所以,市场营销人员要孜孜不倦地捕捉消费者的喜好和需求上的变化。市场调查固然是手段之一,但能在消费者自我意识前就预测出他们的需求才是真正的超级巨星。

在很多行业,要做到这一点都需要工程师、设计师和市场营销人员紧密配合,打破常规,创意思考。

无论哪个行业,一家企业如果居于或接近市场垄断地位,都很可能会栽大跟头。垄断滋生傲慢,傲慢让领导者盲目,其结果就是一场完美风暴。

另外一篇相关文章也引起了我的注意,作者是平面媒体分析师乔•韦伯博士。在文章中,韦伯提到了美国消费类杂志出版社康泰纳仕,他对该出版社在多渠道媒体组合中对纸媒所作的成功调整和重新界定,以及吸引消费者的差异特色作了介绍。

这的确值得关注,因为自2002年起,杂志出版业就开始步履维艰,许多分析家都断定纸媒难逃灭顶之灾。

韦伯重点关注了康泰纳仕旗下的《VOGUE》杂志成功案例。该杂志通过提升品牌价值及加强印刷版与旗下其它平台的互补融合,成功地令杂志广告页数出现了高于行业平均水平的增长。

去年,康泰纳仕投入1亿美元调研资金,主要用于更好地研究竞争对手的状况以及消费者需求的变化。

韦伯将他的结论用做文章的题目:《VOGUE杂志平面广告增长是品牌、调研和竞争策略的胜利,与纸媒无关》。

同时他评论说:“《VOGUE》杂志属于时尚产业。通过调查,它们确立了引领读者思维、想法和需求的自我定位。它们开创了一个潮流。而你的公司是否有能力熟练地向客户推介媒体优势,并帮他们加深理解呢?”

透露一下,我本人涉足平面媒体及其他媒体已有40余年,因此毫无疑问会对“纸媒灭亡论”持有某种程度的异议。

但是,我从柯达的故事里看到了一些共通的道理。你我现在拍的照片比以前少了吗?怎么可能!恰恰相反。只不过是我们拍照、分享、编辑和传输的方式与以往大大不同了。

一本杂志只有品牌实力雄厚,认真调研,并能前瞻性地预见到消费者对多平台内容消费的品味和喜好变化,才能拥有光明的前途。

而那些缺乏这样的洞察力、不顾消费者需求继续盲目追求品质的企业则会步恐龙的后尘,即便体型再庞大、身强力壮、傲慢嚣张,最终也只落得成为远山深谷中的一具化石。



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