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As The Milkman learned decades ago. You can't afford to sell a commodity door to door!
As I listen to the print equipment and services industry's talking points. I am reminded of my childhood asking Mom, what happened to The Milkman?
Over the last few years, the B2B marketplace has been redefining. But, unfortunately, this redefining seems to be taken more seriously by the buyers over the sellers.
Innovation is a process, not a product. When buyers elect to use an innovative process to achieve their desired outcome. The seller had better be the creator or adapt quickly to the better process.
As a child, I knew the Milkman as Mr. Milkman. Yes, kids back then always used Mr. The Milkman's value was not putting Milk into the grey insulated box to the right of the front door. Instead, the Milkman was delivering nourishment! The buyer's outcome was getting their kids the nourishment of Milk.
I believe this reality is an essential lesson for any industry that thinks what they do through the processes they use to be of extraordinary value while refusing to consider how outside forces can destroy what they perceive.
Does it not seem logical that having Milk dropped off at the house is more valuable than driving to a store to retrieve it? The answer is based on the desired outcome of the buyer. In the case of Milk, that outcome was nourishment.
As the modern grocery business came on the scene, Milk moved from the grey container on the porch to behind the glass door at the store. This fact destroyed the push sales process for the Milk industry as customers now pulled the Milk off the shelf.
The milk buyer no longer would see value in paying a surge charge for home delivery as they could now search through a store full of nourishment and collect all they needed, including Milk.
Those who believe their value is how they do what they do will lose to the innovator who defines a process based on why the customer will choose a different means to reach desired outcomes. Innovators will always surprise those stuck in the status quo of their perceived value.
Buyers are advancing in the knowledge to facilitate compulsory acquisitions as never before. As a result, those business products or services which once had a substantial value along with a complex delivery mechanism are now quickly leaving the push economy and becoming part of the pull economy.
The B2B marketplace will not sustain an outdated value-add. Sellers must adapt to the direction of the market. Sellers must be willing to drive their Milk trucks to the parking lot of obsolescence as they change strategies and processes to ensure their continued relevance.
Many Milkmen were surprised that their perceived value wasn't valuable enough for customers to pay more for an outdated means to reach their desired outcome.
"Status Quo is the killer of all that will be invented."
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