Killing Giants: Developing the Marketing Mindset to Do the Impossible
By Stephen Denny
Ask any CEO across corporate America and you’ll hear three things they say they want. They want their people to come to the table with solid, evidence-based critical thinking that produces tangible results without being beaten over the head to do it. Innovation, initiative and impact, in other words.
These same CEO’s are usually disappointed. And the fault resides in more than a few places, from the mindset of the traditional marketer to the lack of marketing fluency and comfort in the C Suite itself. So while we can agree that there’s a mismatch, it doesn’t absolve us from looking for ways to fix it.
In Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath In Your Industry, I looked to distill the wisdom from over 70 of the world’s most effective “giant killers” – leaders who have delivered on these three needs in their out- maneuvering of the giants they faced. These “thinking tools” derived from their teachings can help us think through our own challenges and hopefully put us on a path that will not only deliver the CEO’s wish list but also transform our brands and careers.
Take a look at three stories from Killing Giants and see if you can apply them to your current situation.
Searle Canada’s Arthrotec launch and how to win hearts and minds - fast:
Traditional arthritis pain relievers often cause ulcers in patients, so Searle’s Arthrotec – a combination of a powerful anti-inflammatory plus an anti-ulceration drug – was a game-changer. But Searle Canada’s launch plan
18 changed the game even more.
By augmenting their launch plans with a $1 million grant to anyone who could develop a device or a procedure that identified early ulceration in patients caused by the use of traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, Searle caught the enlightened self-interest of the medical community, teaching hospitals and researchers, all of whom poured their attention into winning the grant. This served to draw significant attention to the problem of ulceration itself, but also validated the primary benefit of the Arthrotec drug itself.
The usually slow to react medical community saw its entire professional circle running for the exits and decided to join the rush. Arthrotec was the number 1 prescribed arthritis solution in Canada within 18 months.
Ask yourself: how can you shift the perceptions in the market to get where you want to go faster?
Vibram’s Five Fingers and doing the unthinkable:
Vibram US president Tony Post was facing the increasing commoditization of his OEM shoe sole business when in the midst of his strategic planning, an outlandish prototype shoe arrived from Vibram chairman Marco Brammani that had five “fingers” for the wearer’s toes. Tony quickly realized that his solution had arrived.
The Five Fingers shoe, in case you haven’t seen them before, is a cross between a SCUBA bootie and a glove with the design aesthetics of sprinter spikes. Importantly, they also make it impossible to heel strike when you run, forcing the
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