By Joe Basques
Back in December on this blog I posted the story of a potential sponsor regarding a series of content surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare.
I recommended we tell the complete story of PPACA from multiple angles, and position this provider as a thought leader on this entire subject. We could have exposed his product to multiple viable markets that he had not even considered. After multiple discussions it became clear that the potential sponsor wanted some content that simply said “Here’s my product, buy it.” There was no interest in going deeper and telling the entire story.
Over the last several years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard companies say “we know who our top ten customers are, and we’re already engaging them.” That’s not really true. We’ve found that everyone knows a few people in each of the top 10 customers, but know nothing of 10 times the number of contacts within each customer’s infrastructure. We’ve seen countless companies lose sales to competitors and completely miss new markets because they refuse (or are incapable) to see things from a new perspective.
In 1905, Albert Einstein published the theory of special relativity, which explains how to interpret motion between different inertial frames of reference. I’m sure we’ve all heard the “glass train” example used to describe Einstein’s theory. In this example, two people are viewing the same scenario from two different perspectives, one is standing on a moving train made of glass with a ball in his hand, and the other is standing on the ground outside the train, watching the train pass by.
As the train goes by, the person riding the train drops the ball from his hand. He watches the ball fall straight down, hit the ground, and bounce right back up into his hand. The observer outside of the train sees something completely different from their perspective. As the train goes by and the ball is dropped, he sees the ball fall in an arch shape going down and bouncing back up with the reverse arch. Who’s right? Both views are correct depending on your frame of reference or perspective. But one thing is for sure: If you’re the guy watching the train going by, you aren’t going anywhere.
Consider this, Saccharin was invented by accident when a researcher was studying coal tar. Play-Doh wasn’t invented as a play thing, but rather as a cleaning tool. Superglue was actually invented YEARS before anyone figured out what to do with it. X-rays were a complete surprise. Accidental inventions happen all the time, even in the world of technology. In fact, the sensors we use today for everything from monitoring the purity of air or water to locating and destroying tumor cells are the result of an accident. A student, Jamie Link, a was doing her doctoral work in chemistry when one of the silicon chips she was working with burst. She discovered afterward, that the tiny pieces still functioned as sensors. Today, sensors are everywhere, and they were discovered completely by accident. The secondary market for each of these things was much larger than the original. Maybe the next big innovation is actually leveraging current technology for something completely new. In order to get there we’re going to need a new perspective.
You might know several influencers in your list of customers, but influencers are rarely innovators (because innovators end up rocking the boat). Those guys are elsewhere in the companies and they see the world from a different perspective -- the perspective you need now.
The problem is, those are the people you need to find and that can be an extremely difficult thing if you’re chasing after people with the traditional perspective. Your knowledge, experiences, emotions, etc. are holding you back. Changing your perspective can open new markets and transform your business. You need to get on the train.
Do you need help looking at things from a different perspective? It’s one of the things we do best. Watch this video to see what others have to say, then contact us.