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\"TheIn a very famous scene in the 1967 movie The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin, learns the importance of one word from his neighbor, Mr. McGuire:

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you – just one word.
Ben: Yes sir.
Mr. McGuire:Are you listening?
Ben: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: PLASTICS.
Ben: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Ben: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said.That’s a deal.

Likewise, I just want to say one word to you – just one word! It encapsulates the most important piece of strategic knowledge you absolutely must place on the top of your planning priorities, or die: DISTRIBUTION.

However, unlike Mr. McGuire, I am not going to say: “Shh! Enough said.” I’m going to tell you in the strongest terms: there’s not just a great future in distribution, you won’t have a future without it.

How many times and in how many ways do I have to remind you that in this over-stored, over-stuffed, and now, over-web-sited world, it doesn’t matter how perfect your product, your brand, your experience, or your service is; or how important or powerful what you have to communicate is, if you are not able to get it to your consumer (or any targeted recipient) first, faster and more often than the literally hundreds of equally compelling competitors all racing to beat you there.

All three of my articles this month are about superior preemptive distribution, getting your product in front of your customer faster, better, and before anyone else does.

Get it? Unless you can figure out how to preemptively distribute your perfect ‘whatever,’ you will lose, and ultimately die, because the world of overcapacity, including information and communications, is not going to go away. Several articles this month underscore the importance of preemptive distribution.

In “…Tide and Mr. Clean: Just Soap?” we see that P&G (PG) totally gets it.

And, if you think you can skim through “What’s New? Everything and Nothing” you will totally miss the globally profound preemptive distribution of ‘tweeted’ communications that might ultimately change the world forever. Talk about ‘shock and awe’ in Iraq, please note the revolution in Egypt.

In “…The Godfather Strategy,” all of my speculation about the synergies to be had through department stores evolving into mini-malls, and leasing space to specialty retailers and other products, brands or services compatible with their brand and consumer bases, is really all about preemptive distribution. For the department store, it’s creating a more exciting experience which will preemptively compel customers to come to their brand first. And, for the leasing brands, they gain preemptive distribution through “investment-lite” new space.

In the Q&A this month with Neil Cole, CEO of Iconix (ICON), Neil lends further support to the importance of preemptive distribution. He tells us that exclusivity of a brand – having something your competitor doesn’t – is the biggest traffic driver these days, and makes all the difference between growth and stagnation by preempting the competition.

Finally, you will notice in my sidebar to the MasterCard (MA) article, What are your Customers Doing?, the absolute imperative for early and precise information about who it is you are attempting to preemptively distribute to. In fact, you can’t achieve it without such information.
So, in closing, I just want to say two words to you – just two words: PREEMPTIVE DISTRIBUTION! Enjoy the read!

Robin

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