Saturday, July 23, 2005

Tom Peters' 16 Ways to Beat Wal-Mart

Ten days ago I posted on how Christian booksellers were lamenting that Wal-Mart was taking share from them at an alarmingly fast pace.

Then came the NYT article on how Costco was taking lunch from Wal-Mart.

Now there's an insightful and inciteful piece by Tom Peters where he lists 16 ways to beat Wal-Mart.

Of his 16 ways, I like his first: Be niche-aimed. Wal-Mart is trying to be all things to all people. Focus wins. Well almost always ... the Christian booksellers are focused, but are still losing share to "all things to all people."

So that's where Tom's No. 4 Idea comes in: Compete on value/experience/intimacy, not price. Well, to that, I would say surely the Christian booksellers understand the value of customer intimacy, and yet they are losing share.

Tom says to sell based on emotional bond. Dead on. And yet they are losing share.

Then I catch a phrase stated by the Christian booksellers: our Christian customers owe us loyalty. Now, that won't cut it. As customers, Costco has proven we want to do the right things.

The booksellers need to get a handle on the messages that will most resonate with their customers. We do want to do the right thing, but it must be relevant to our personal needs, wants and expectations.

The important thing about Tom's list of 16 ways to beat Wal-Mart is that they are all important. No cherry picking. Get the business right and do the right things.

How would you take the principles of contextual marketing to reclaim your marketshare from Wal-Mart if you were the owner/operator of a Christian bookstore?

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