SMALL BUSINESS/IN THE PRESIDENT’S CHAIR

Manny Garcia-Tuñón: Embrace change to meet the demands of consumers

 

Special to the Miami Herald

There exists a nearly forgotten yet fundamental truth about business that has resurfaced with such subtle intensity, it is transforming entire industries before our very eyes. It’s forcing companies to change the way they do business by taking old business models and turning them upside down.

There isn’t an industry or company immune to its powerful effects. This truth is nothing more and nothing less than this: Business is all about connecting.

I’ll admit that this sounds a bit too simple to be so crucial a factor in business, but certain developments have caused the business landscape to change drastically over the past decade — even prior to the recession — making this truth more relevant today than ever before.

With the proliferation of social media and instant access to the latest news, consumers are more educated now than ever. Information needed for crucial decision-making is just a click away. Consumers are less willing to conform to the standards of an outdated business model, when customization scores higher on the “connecting” scale.

And in today’s world of technological advances, if you’re going to maintain your relevance in the marketplace and truly meet the needs of your customers, you’re going to have to give them options. That’s how you connect in business today. People want choices. Why? Because the consumer rules.

The challenge for many of us in business is that we tend to resist change, yet the successful companies of the future will be the ones able to adapt to meet the changing needs of their customers. Gone are the days when an industry could dictate how consumers consumed their products or services.

As a result, entire industries are being forced to evolve in order to better meet the needs of a more-sophisticated, discriminating buyer. Why? Because the consumer rules. Just ask the music industry.

For years, no one in music had a real problem with the changes technology was forcing upon industry products. We went from buying vinyl records to buying CDs, but the industry kept recording, promoting and selling music in much the same way.

Then Napster came along, offering choices that the music industry wasn’t prepared or willing to incorporate into its business models. To make a long story short, Napster was killed. But by then it was too late. Consumers quickly took to the convenience of digital downloads, and other companies rose from Napster’s ashes.

The floodgates had been opened. There was no stopping it. Today we take it for granted, but the fact is that the entire music industry had no choice but to embrace the new digital model which consumers demanded. Why? Because the consumer rules.

The television industry experienced a similar, though less traumatic, evolution. Instead of the three major networks most of us (I'm dating myself) grew up watching, today we take for granted that the average satellite provider offers hundreds of channels. Now I can truly watch what I want to watch — not just what an industry wants to dictate I watch.

Does that have an effect on business? Absolutely. Today, advertisers have to think twice about where to spend their money to reach me, the consumer, because I might not be watching CBS or NBC — I might be watching ESPN or The Food Network (more than likely).

There’s more. With the introduction of the DVR (digital video recorder), now I not only watch what I want, but I can watch it when I want. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t fast forward through all the commercials? Does that have an effect on business? Absolutely.

Do you know what is fast becoming the most sought-after spot on television for advertisers? It’s the last five seconds of a commercial break. That’s because advertisers know that we are fast-forwarding through commercials. They also know that most DVR remotes have a “jump-back” feature that compensates for our reaction time, so when we press the play button at the end of a commercial break, the jump-back feature takes us back just far enough to catch the last five seconds of the last commercial. And so major advertisers are now producing five-second commercials for that sliver of an opportunity to reach you and me, the consumers.

Why? Because the consumer rules.

In business, change is inevitable, so be prepared. Innovation and creativity have always been, and always will be, indispensable tenets of a corporate culture focused on creating value by giving consumers better options. Look at your own business model and turn it upside down before it’s turned for you.

And whatever you do, don’t kill Napster. Every industry has its own version of it. Embrace change if it represent greater value for your customers. Why?

Do you have to ask?

Manny García-Tuñón is president of Lemartec, an international design-build firm headquartered in Miami. He can be reached at manny@mgtunon.com.

Read more Business Monday stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Marcell Haywood

    BUSINESS MONDAY CEO ROUNDTABLE

    Taxi alternatives could improve service

    Today marks the launch of the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable, comprising more than two dozen CEOs and senior executives in companies large and small from the region’s key industries. The goal: To provide a temperature check of local economic conditions and business opinions on current topics. Look for a selection of responses each week in print; to see all responses, go online at MiamiHerald.com/business. And keep an eye out for our live CEO Roundtable event later this fall.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">FSU LINE:</span> Pictured is Guy Harvey artwork on an athletic clothing line. Artist Guy Harvey has developed his brand into a business empire.

    ENTREPRENEURSHIP

    Guy Harvey fishing new waters

    With more products, a new generation of fans and marketing that focuses on the man behind the brand, marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey is stretching his cast.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">WAITING ROOM:</span> A horse waits in the stalls at Thebas Farm, one of a group of Polo horses heading for Amsterdam. Worldwide Livestock, owned by Alex and Tony Alessandrini, is overseeing the shipment of the animals. July 1, 2014 in Miami.

    Company profile

    Worldwide Livestock Services manages import, export of livestock through MIA

    Horses, cattle, pigs and more: World Livestock Services has carefully shipped four-legged creatures and flocks of birds through Miami International Airport to points throughout the globe.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category