Category Archives: Distribution Strategy

109. Astroball: Taking Lessons from the Analytical Champs

Baseball’s Begrudging Adoption of Analytics

Since the book Moneyball was published in 2003, all professional sports have embraced analytics, but none more than baseball.

Baseball executives initially hated the book Moneyball because it made them look incompetent. Then, one-by-one teams started to experiment with analytics; in particular, two teams with new owners who had gotten rich using analytics elsewhere. Continue reading 109. Astroball: Taking Lessons from the Analytical Champs

108. Amazon Business Has a Secret Plan

Distracting Stats v Strategic Profit Intent

Amazon is secretive, even deceptive. For instance, it trumpets amazing stats in press releases that can distract us from seeing their strategic goals. Maybe this is part of the plan. Why spark early competitive responses?

Consider AMZ-Biz. The last official numbers we saw for sales, resellers, and buyers were at year-end 2016. Wouldn’t you brag on growing 20% per month?

So what final profit streams is AMZ-Biz envisioning? How about fees from: Continue reading 108. Amazon Business Has a Secret Plan

107. Friends, Your Input Please. One-Day Fall Seminar Series

THE VISION

I will start conducting one-day seminars in larger cities in North America this fall. The working title: “Analytics for Defending Against, Partnering, and Out-Niching Amazon”.

The content is radical. Download the seminar summary for the full story, including:

  1. An “Overview”
  2. Who should attend and what you’ll learn and (hopefully) act on
  3. How your distributor affiliation groups, trade associations, buying groups, ERP vendors – can become co-sponsors to earn their constituents a discount from an already affordable fee
  4. A summary of my AMZ-oriented blogs to spark team discussions
Get the summary here:
Grand Summary of Fall Seminar Series

THE CITIES

Already booked due to local co-sponsor support:

  1. St. Louis on 10/16 with St. Louis University’s Center for Supply Chain Management as a co-sponsor and host for the presentation.
  2. Montreal on 11/5
  3. Toronto on 11/7

Other Prospective Cities: Chicago, Boston, NYC/N. NJ, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, LA, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma. And, wherever else enough bottom-up interest may arise.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  1. Email me your interest. On a 1 to 5 scale: 1 is “No Way. AMZ is a fad.”; 3 “Maybe” and 5 “Will be there”.
  2. If not a “5”, any changes to boost interest to assure your attendance?
  3. Alert your affiliation group about being a co-sponsor. I will be contacting many directly too.
  4. If you are in one of the target cities, can you suggest a best logistical place to run an 8am to 4pm seminar?
  5. If you would like the seminar to run in your unlisted city (or sponsor your own private seminar), be in touch to brainstorm on making that possible.
  6. I’m also amenable to doing one-hour, highlights, free webinars for affiliation groups.

The St. Louis University (SLU) Model In Other Cities?

From previous experiments at SLU, the Supply Chain Center discovered that by hosting this seminar:

  1. Their MBA students can attend all or part of the seminar for free and network with distributors for consulting/employment opportunities.
  2. Attending companies get exposed to the Center’s offerings.
  3. The Center can invite their own community supporters for a 50% discount (as a co-sponsor): a good outreach benefit.

If any readers have a hometown MBA/Supply Chain, university connection that could be a co-sponsor like SLU, please request an e-introduction of your SC Head to SLU’s Center Head: Cindy Mebruer.

Here’s hoping I’ll see you this fall and into next year for a provocative educational experience!

Sincerely,

Bruce Merrifield

bruce@merrifield.com

106. Customer-Centric Sales Force Reinvention

In April 2015, Forrester Research estimated that one million B2B reps would be toast by 2020 due to digital disruption. They solidified this forecast in a subsequent March 2017 report. The findings were perhaps hyped in order to sell reports, but they are still a helpful warning to undertake an actionable assessment of your reps’ readiness for cloud commerce in 2020 and beyond.

How? Consider viewing your reps through the following analytical lenses to create questions for further investigation.  Continue reading 106. Customer-Centric Sales Force Reinvention

105. Connecting Customer Profitability and (Amazon) Cloud Commerce Effects

Willful blindness and selective denial

Willful blindness is legalese for “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. Other selective denial expressions include, ignoring the elephant in the room, sparing sacred cows, believing in the emperor’s new clothes, shooting the bearers of bad news and groupthink.

Humans tend to deny new facts when they are too shocking, painful and/or scary to confront. But, companies that acknowledge, debate and act on truths beat competitors who remain in denial. And, they will be better able to compete with Amazon in the ecommerce cloud of 2021. Continue reading 105. Connecting Customer Profitability and (Amazon) Cloud Commerce Effects

104. Innovation Two-Step: Core Renewal and a Cloud-Based Value-Channel

The Present Facts

Amazon (AMZ) is building out the first value channel from end-users back to factories. And of course, this channel is a cloud-based digital channel. The customer-centric channel is comprised of 10+ intersecting, reinforcing, winner-take-all platforms starting with the 60MM Prime members in the U.S. (100MM+ worldwide). This monopoly capability will allow AMZ to sell into, and/or collect fees from, all verticals that sell anything to Prime members.

This cloud-based value channel has breakthrough advantages over legacy, product-push channel players. Hence, there is insane loyalty from Prime members and astronomical sales growth. Continue reading 104. Innovation Two-Step: Core Renewal and a Cloud-Based Value-Channel