segunda-feira, janeiro 17, 2011

If you build it, they will not come

"Not long ago, entrepreneurs expressed their faith in the relative balance of production and consumption with a movie quote: If you build it, they will come. (Moi ici: Faz-me lembrar estes discursos "O candidato comunista defendeu que «a verdadeira resposta para Portugal» é aumentar a produção nacional e a criação de riqueza". Hoje em dia, produzir é o mais fácil, difícil é vender.) Those days are over. Now, if you build it, it will sit in inventory until the holding costs eat you alive.
Welcome to the demand economy, in which the great thirsty sponge of consumption has shrunk to the size of a sink scrubber.

These kinds of conditions, which have persisted for two years now, are leading to dramatic changes in the spending habits of both consumers and businesses -- changes that may be here to stay. "The longer and deeper the downturn, the more likely that coping behaviors people have adopted to deal with having less money will become ingrained," says John Quelch, a professor of marketing at Harvard Business School. Among such behaviors: More Americans are joining the ranks of what Quelch calls simplifiers -- people who choose to live below their means.
Up until a few years ago, "you could create supply and go in search of demand to absorb the supply," says Rick Kash,

"But efficiencies and technology have given us oversupply at the same time that demand is contracting. Today, you first have to understand demand. Then you take your current or new supply and align it with the demand that gives you the most profit." (Moi ici: Hoje, temos de definir e identificar os clientes-alvo primeiro, temos de definir as restrições primeiro. Para quê produzir, se os clientes não aparecem?)

Providing consumers with things they don't yet know they need requires equal measures of imagination and realism. At Inc.'s request, Kash and his team brainstormed several such offerings. Among the most intriguing: storefront health care offices, staffed by nurses and co-owned by Nurses and entrepreneurs, that would replace crowded and dreary clinics. (The nurses would also make house calls.) Another: Companies that don't just repair things but refurbish them so they don't have to be replaced. Such businesses would send out service people on a schedule -- two or three times a year, perhaps -- to perform checkups, maintenance, and updates on cars, appliances, and other big-ticket purchases.
So how can you identify nonobvious pools of profitable demand? Big, complicated problems are good bets, because they benefit from diverse avenues of attack. Consider, for example, the 17 million people in the United States without bank accounts; the 34 percent who are overweight; the 884 million worldwide without access to safe drinking water. You might look for inspiration abroad -- an approach that has paid off handsomely in the food, fashion, and reality-TV industries.

Alguns vectores a ter em conta, para equacionar cenários futuros de procura:
"Hot Market: The Aging Population

Hot Market: Eco-Friendly Homeowners

Hot Market: Consumer-Friendly Financial Services

Hot Market: Locavores

Hot Market: Insomniacs

Hot Market: The Outsourced Work Force

Hot Market: Bike Commuters"
Trechos retirados de "The Demand Economy"

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