It's a Great Time to be Stuck

by Steve McKee

It's a Great Time to be StuckAnybody who’s been in business for any length of time knows that, from a marketing standpoint, something fundamental has changed over the past few years. In an odd way, there has never been a better time to be a stalled, stuck or stale brand. Let me explain.

In the old world – the world dominated by advertising – brands interrupted consumers in segments by running static messages in third-party content. In the world of integrated marketing, by contrast, brands interact with consumers as individuals by integrating dynamic messages into their personal content. The rules have changed dramatically, and that spells opportunity for companies that are willing to be imaginative and inventive.

Richard Rumelt, professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, put it this way: “A structural break is the very best time to be a strategist, for at the moment of change old sources of competitive advantage weaken and new sources appear.”

Bingo. Struggling brands can change the game by moving more quickly than their competitors from interruption to interaction, from segmentation to individualization, from static to dynamic, and from third-party to first-party. The integrated marketing revolution has not only unleashed a variety of new possibilities, it has created a host of new sensibilities and sensitivities. This complexity is complicating the life of every brand, which could make it a game-changer for yours.


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Steve McKeeSteve McKee is a BusinessWeek.com columnist, marketing consultant, and author of “When Growth Stalls: How it Happens, Why You’re Stuck, and What To Do About It.” Learn more about him at www.WhenGrowthStalls.com and at http://twitter.com/stevemckee.

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