In his book , Early Warning: Using Competitive Intelligence to Anticipate Market Shifts, Control Risk, and Create Powerful Strategies, Benjamin Gilad talks about causes of failure.
Sticking to obsolete internal conviction even though the market evidence points otherwise, seems to be one of the most common causes of failure.
It is actually a spiral. One leads to another and if you do not correct, you tend to spiral down. It happened with Kodak with camera business, Nokia and RIM with smartphones and a host of other companies.
Sometimes it is not just the management. It may be engineering and marketing having different views on how product should evolve. Edwin Lau is Director of Market Intelligence for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business describes this challenge in this interview.
I’ve always believed that if you have data as a common language, you can have a conversation. That seems to work well in an engineering-based company, as engineers tend to be more logically oriented. As marketers and researchers we want to use sound consumer input as a basis for engaging with the engineers, and to have consumer insight shape product development. To do that, we have to bring the research to the team with a different perspective, “here are some numbers we can play with.” This tends to start the discussion.
So how do you gather market evidence? How do you detect these early signals and watch them? How do you discover information that can help you prevent these problems. I like the concept of “data as a common language” inside an organization.