I know most of us will agree that Microsoft does not make the best products. Competitors with better products have smaller market share and less influence. The operating system market was monopolized by Windows for many years while Linux and Apple had single digit market share. (Of course today it’s different with Apple coming in strong with its Apple OS.)
Now here is the question that pops up in my mind -
How did Microsoft become a giant while producing less impressive products than its competitors?
How did Microsoft dominate many markets ingeniously and remain strong, while its competitors put their heart, soul, sweat and blood into producing better products and not getting any closer to beating this giant?
The answer to my question is one single word: Leverage.
Let me explain by shedding some light on history.
Microsoft recognized early on that the industry was going to shift from hardware focus to software focus. The hardware provided the base processing ability that would improve with time, while the software logic gave infinite capability for a programmer to produce softwares that performed any task the mind desired. At that point in time, Microsoft joint forces with IBM, the industry giant at that time, to provide Operating System software for all of its machines. The second strategic move Microsoft made was to charge IBM a small license fee per unit sold.
Now, if you think about it, Microsoft did a joint venture with IBM, and leveraged their mass distribution and deep market penetration to reach the entire industry while getting paid for it.
This is holy smokes smart!
Not revolutionary, just strategic.
It was not a marketing plan, it was a business strategy. Today, Microsoft is Microsoft not because of some marketing campaigns, but only because of their ability to command the distribution through multiple mediums in multiple markets consistently.
I don’t think that things just worked out for them every time they tried something. They probably had to try ten things to come across this idea. But they were willing to take shot after shot that most of us are not willing to take.
A recap on Microsoft moves:
- Recognition of the industry trend before it was apparent to others
- Forming a deal with a giant that gave them access to massive distribution
I think you got my point!
As entrepreneurs, we strive to grow our businesses as fast as possible, and in the blur of feverish activity, we loose the ability to look at the bigger picture. We focus on day to day activities and begin to micro-manage projects. Soon the business runs us. Sad.
The reason for this is lack of perspective and business strategy.
If you are somewhat active in the Internet Marketing Courses industry, you know that many gurus have built their business purely through joint venture partnerships. That is through partnering up with multiple businesses that complement or compete with theirs and then cross promoting each other’s products in exchange for a sales commission. Sounds sweet, right? Paying only per sale.
The Timothy Ferriss Strategy
This idea is not limited to the Microsoft or the more familiar Internet Marketing Guru industry. Let me give you a more recent and unconventional example: Timothy Ferriss, the author of two best selling books, “The 4-Hour Workweek”, and “The 4-Hour Body”, openly holds blogging responsible for his mega success.
Now of course Tim had the goods (solid content) in his books, but he built his community and following by appearing in numerous leading blogs throughout the Internet (including Entrepreneurs-Journey.com). He spread his message, one blog at a time and one media outlet at a time, while he attributes his success more to the blog partnerships he did as apposed to any other media outlet.
Donald Trump & Robert Kiyosaki
I know you are convinced already, but how about another unconventional example, Donald Trump. As you know Donald Trump is expanding his business in diverse markets, many of which he is not experienced in.
One example is the “financial awareness industry”. Although Trump has many resources at his disposal to become successful in this market, he decided to partner up with best selling author, Robert Kiyosaki, to co-author the book “Why We Want You to Be Rich”. Trump knows that Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” has been on the best seller list for many years and anyone looking to become financially educated, more than likely knows about Kiyosaki. Co-authoring a book with Kiyosaki is a strong leverage for Trump to penetrate this market in a big way.
Realize this, it’s unconventional; Katy Perry became enormously famous after her album “Teenage Dream
Her first music video for this album, “California Gurls”, featured Snoop Dogg. Talk about leverage of association. I agree, Snoop Dogg’s appearance was not the only reason for her success, Katy is a talented artist indeed, but there are many other talented artists in the world who do not receive the kind of attention they would like. Snoop Dogg’s appearance in her video is more of a marketing play than a business strategy, but again it’s leverage.
Here Are The Rules
The rules are that there are no rules. There are no clearly defined rules or a secret formula to creating such joint ventures that pay big time and for the long term. At least I don’t know of any yet.
Still when you think of Perry today, Google AdWords comes to mind. This is just to reiterate the point that there is no ONE SECRET FORMULA, therefore stop looking for one. I believe in noticing patterns that appear in multiple business successes and developing my business strategy and marketing plans accordingly.
It is crucial to notice that such partnerships are unconventional, out of the box, and not as common as they should be – since they create massive successes for entrepreneurs. This is good news for the few of us who are literally going to take this message to heart and do something with it. For the vast majority (80% +), this message will serve only as entertainment value and nothing more. Sad, but true.