I am reading The Blind Side right now. One part of the book talks about Bill Walsh and his game-changing offensive strategy that made just about EVERY quarterback who played for him successful. He took barely successful quarterbacks and made them the best in the league with his “nickel-and-dime” offense. At the time, teams would either run short yardages or pass long yardages but very little in between. He discovered the highest completion rates were under twelve yard passes. So he built his offensive playbook around the short passes. As a result, his quarterbacks had the highest completion rates in the league… turning more first downs, more points, more wins, more success. Meanwhile, all the other coaches were competing to get better quarterbacks… when it wasn’t about the quarterback, it was about the strategy.
I draw a similar analogy to companies who feel they are dependent on commissioned sales superstars for their success. If they had a more unique selling proposition and marketing engine they wouldn’t need sales superstars to do all the heavy lifting. In addition, it would make them more profitable to not have to pay as much in commissions. I view marketing as an automated salesperson, maybe similar to how Bill Walsh viewed his nickel-and-dime offensive as a way to win independent of superstar quarterbacks (for those of you who will argue he had superstar quarterbacks, like Joe Montana, I would argue that he turned quarterbacks into superstars with his strategy).
In time, teams figured out how to counter act and copy Walsh’s strategy, making it less of a game-changer. Most game-changers eventually get copied by everyone – which is another way of knowing it WAS a game changer, but no longer is. How are you creating game-changers in your industry?