Ideal for novel projects — new product category, ecosystem redefinition and messaging

Since I work at the meta level to ensure the right problem is being solved, I am not a good fit for specialist jobs, like optimizing Google advertising spend. You might reasonably extend this logic to conclude that old-line mature industries aren't a good fit. That's not necessarily true.

New product category?

One former client makes level arm hand pumps, the sort of pumps that have been around for 150 years. But these are not our forefather's hand pumps. Theirs are CNC-machined for reliability ten times higher, and can fill a water tank at 80 p.s.i. They fit in even narrow wells alongside the (electric) submersible pump. Theirs is a most practical backup solution for ensuring the reliable delivery of water during power outages.

But when I first engaged this customer, no one was searching for "lever arm pump for power failures!" The new purchase reason for their pump created a new product category, and so a novel marketing problem.

Ecosystem redefinition

Ecosystems are now obvious in some industries. Developers' importance to Facebook's rise and Apple's success full negotiation of new intellectual property licensing critical to iTune's creation are just two.

Ecosystems-aware thinking goes well beyond this. The increased pace of change, easier market entry and the reduced cost of collaboration dictates that companies look at competitors, user associations and other groupings as potential alliances.

I was involved in alliances work in the 1990s. Even then, we were gaining strategic advantage by working with our competitors to mutual benefit, and to the benefit of our mutual customers.

To balance the myriad factors critical to strategy, some specialization is sacrificed
To balance the myriad factors critical to strategy, some specialization is sacrificed