What are the 6 Biggest Challenges and Changes Facing You in the New Economy?
3) What happens when products are stuff, rather than solutions? Stuff gets commoditized. Stuff is stuff is stuff. Where can I get it cheaper. The consultants come in and figure out how to create cost plus contracts and we willingly compete in a race to the bottom. As costs come out, so does value. Some major advertisers have created reverse auctions to see how low we will go. We go along thinking we're leaving something on table or that a crumb is better than nothing. The only way to win as the low-price leader is to have the processes to guarantee a win. Wal-Mart has been able to take that position in retail at great cost to those who have tried to beat them at their game.
4) When did we suddenly become responsible for what we sell? Responsibility for quality, for content, for proper usage of our products was not really on the radar screen for most of us. A much-hated California Proposition 65 began a change culminating in 2007, becoming known as the Year of the Recall and a Bush-administration strengthening of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and a whole set of regulations regarding children's products called the CPSIA. Third party product testing, compliance documentation, tracking labels suddenly became a part of our industry's life. An industry bent on keeping its television advertising, even though the underlying message to our youth is "got a problem, take a drug," chose to make our promotional products the target of a ban to demonstrate their responsibiity. Yes, I'm talking about pharma and the disappearance of a $1 billion segment of our industry. Taking their cue from their favorite lobbyists, many legislators who use our products to get elected found ways to restrict the use use in other ways. Vigilance and political activism is now required of all of us to keep our industry strong. With states going bankrupt and deficit spending at an all-time high, we can also expect continuing "revenue-enhancements" sneaking into all kinds of our business activities. Taxes remain one of life's certainties and it is certain that new ones will be born.