How Google is Beating Apple with Buyer Foresight (What B2B Marketing Can Learn)

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Tony Zambito

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At the recent Google I/O 2013 Keynote, Google announced a laundry list of new enhancements and services.  Solidifying its’ game plan of playing offense rather than defense with innovation.  Which, at this writing, is putting the challenge on Apple to respond.

My thoughts shared here are heavily influenced by a brilliant article from Mike Myatt entitled –Leadership Lesson: The Difference Between Google and Apple.  Mike is one of our best thinkers on leadership and is the author of Leadership Matters . . . The CEO Survival ManualHere is Myatt’s view on how Google is gaining the edge on Apple:

“…there is one very big difference between the two  – Google plays offense while Apple has recently settled for playing defense. Apple is struggling to maintain its position in the market, while Google is expanding its position.”

Mike goes on to say it is this offensive mindset, which is putting the hurt on Apple.  In essence Apple has ceded ground to Google, Samsung, and HTC while taking a defensive stance.  The result: Apple’s stock has fallen by over 35%.

What really caught my attention and is well worth noting is the following statement from Mike:

“Google could have made the decision to stay solely focused on search, but they had the foresight to move beyond the certainty of what is to pursue new opportunity by focusing on what if.”

By going on the defensive, Apple has lost its’ way in the very element which allowed them to introduce the world to the iPhone and iPad – foresight.  I made this point in my recent conversation with Michael Brenner on his B2B Marketing Insider Blog entitled – Marketing in the Throes of a Buyer Revolution.

In my own humble opinion, I believe this to be a temporary setback for Apple.  There is no question the delay until fall to introduce their newest innovations, as most pundits believe, is hurting them.  Time will tell.

B2B Marketing Lesson

Of note is Google’s ability to turn massive analytics and insight data (what is) into a game plan focused on foresight (what if).  Taking a leadership position on providing a future-oriented vision to consumers on the possibilities of what their future can look like with Google.  In essence, sharing its’ foresight gained as well as making it foundational to Google marketing.

A key lesson for B2B Marketers is this: the new digital age requires us to build a capability of understanding buyer foresight.  It is no longer enough to gain buyer insight and focus on the “what is” as Myatt aptly points out.  B2B Marketing and Sales will need to build competencies in understanding the “what if” scenarios they as well as their customers can see together.  This is what it will take to be a market leader in the new digital age.

Turning Buyer Insight Into Buyer Foresight

During the past few years, there has been much focus on analytics and insights in the B2B arena.  However, it is a focus on what has already happened.  There is value for certain.  What we need though is to expand – not merely respond.  Recently, I had an engaging conversation on the Dan McDade’s PointClear PowerView segments on this concept of buyer predictability.

In my recent article 3 Ways to Be a Market Leader with Buyer Foresight, I offered some steps B2B entities could take to build Buyer Foresight into their organization’s DNA.  Of most importance is gaining insight with foresight in mind.  This means more of what my Dad used to say – “you have to look the person in the eye to know what they are thinking”.  More often than not, this takes a level of expertise in on-site qualitative research well worth the time and investment.

Turning buyer insight into buyer foresight takes a new level of commitment.  Google made a commitment to foresight.  This level of foresight and foresight sharing has allowed them to win at the economic game of leapfrogging.

Now they are reaping the rewards.

(Be part of the dialogue with the latest thinking on Buyer Personas, Persona Buying Cycle, and Buyer Foresight – sign up for news and updates here: News and Updates From Tony Zambito.)

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2 thoughts on “How Google is Beating Apple with Buyer Foresight (What B2B Marketing Can Learn)”

    1. Hello Mike,

      Thank you for your kind comment. Appreciated. Yes these two iconic brands of our time will continue to be interesting to watch – as well as learn from.


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