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Patrick Bergemann

Patrick Bergemann Marketing and Media

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Kodak. Blockbuster. Toys'R'Us. Dealers?

Three household names. Three brands with opportunities to innovate. Three bankruptcy filings.

It might not be common knowledge, but Kodak actually invented digital photography in 1975. However, when the bulk of their profits came from film, what logical reason was there to advance the technology that would diminish the lion's share of their business?

The same can be said for Blockbuster. Blockbuster rented movies and charged late fees. After interest in a particular movie started to die down, they supplemented their business by selling the previously rented movies at a lower price than new DVDs. In 2000, Netflix offered Blockbuster the opportunity to acquire them for $50 million. Today, Netflix nears a $150 BILLION market cap while Blockbuster continues to operate a handful of stores in Alaska.

What could have these industry giants done differently? They could have paid attention to their customers; identifying and assessing how they would be served best. The "deafening and scary silence", as Dale Pollak puts it, in the lack of dealership conversation about self-driving cars, ride-sharing-services, online and direct-to-consumer retailing, and a list of other things is truly terrifying.


Opponents of any change to the current dealership model cite stats that most consumers wouldn't buy a new car with a 100% process, but they ignore all the data that says the majority of shoppers are frustrated with how long the process is, over half of shoppers feel anxious in dealerships, and that in the average of 24 touchpoints before a car is purchase, 19 of those touches are online.

Yes, people still want to kick the tires before signing the paperwork. That doesn't mean they enjoy shopping in a dealership.

This is a call for change. Stop ignoring the data that disagrees with you and start paying attention. Our friend, Gary Vaynerchuk, put it best in saying that people will push back saying "Well it's 2019 and I'm not dead yet", but they're dead in 2022. Are those 3 years that important? Dying sucks either way.

Let's take a note from the industries that have failed before us and work together for the success of this industry. How can we collectively serve our customers better?

 

Paul J Daly

Awesome recap, Pat! 

Kelly Kleinman

Kodak was out there licensing it's name a few years back.  Two guys were trying to get some play out of a total buggy whip alas, to no avail.  My best buddy had a major conflict with Blockbusters "new owner" several years ago and he made them pay double what they tried to screw him out of.  Once these brands outlive their usefulness, the scoundrels and vultures try to leverage them, usually to no avail.  

Patrick Bergemann

Definitely true on the Blockbuster end, but I've got to give Kodak some credit for introducing KodakCoin. They found a need in their industry (hosted photos being stolen and used without attribution/licensing) and developed a way to help photographers protect that while also piggybacking onto the digital currency model.

Just like online retail tools, they're finding a new way to serve their industry in a way that is more than a gimmick and actually provides value to a user. Smart move.

Kelly Kleinman

Patrick, wasn't aware of KodakCoin.  I'll check it out, seems like something fairly new.  

Patrick Bergemann

It's probably about 3 months old and not accelerating at the rate of BitCoin, but it's definitely serving a niche.

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