My unpopular prediction and the impact it will have on youArticle added by Joe Simonds on August 24, 2011
Joe Simonds

Joe Simonds

Atlanta, GA

Joined: January 24, 2011

Don’t be the stubborn giant, who refuses to change your business model just because it worked in the past. This Internet revolution is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

A year ago I ventured to make a prediction which most people would probably dismiss as ludicrous today. My prediction: The United States Postal Service will be forced to shut down by 2015. Now you say to yourself, “Well, that’s ridiculous. There is no way that would ever happen. The post office has been around as long as I can remember.” The sad thing is that I would disagree. Let me explain why.

First of all, I don’t have a grudge against the post office. This is simply an example of a government agency which is running an old business model in a modern era. You ask, “What does any of this have to do with me?” These days, lack of foresight or the desire to adapt to the modern market has dire consequences. Let me give you some examples:

Go back in time to 1992–2002. What did you or your family do when you wanted to stay in and watch a movie? You went to Blockbuster, of course. The business model was brilliant, their growth was unprecedented and there was a Blockbuster store around every corner. Blockbuster was like the Starbucks of the 90s.

Where are they now? Bankrupt and looking for someone to buy them out. Why? They didn’t adapt to today’s Internet market. Companies like Netflix, Apple TV, Comcast and DishTV saw where the market was going and now business is booming.

A giant that had its beginning as a used bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan back in 1970 grew nationwide by the 90s. A few years later, they were worldwide with stores from Australia to Singapore. It became the second largest book retail chain in America, with approximately 20,000 employees in the U.S. alone. Who am I talking about here? Borders Bookstores. And where are they today? Bankrupt and selling off their assets.

What do both of these companies have in common? They had great business models but didn’t adapt to changing times. In particular, the technology we all know as the Internet.

In fact, that is the same technology that I predict will take down the post office. Before we continue, let me give you just a few facts about the U.S. Postal Service:
  • Fiscal year 2010 — Post office suffers an $8.5 billion net loss compared to a $3.8 billion loss the year prior

  • March 3, 2010 — U.S. Postal Service lobbies to stop Saturday delivery and institute another postage rate increase

  • July 26, 2011 — Nearly 3,700 post offices to close permanently

  • Today — Postal service threatens to skip retiree fund payments
Now before you say, “There will always be a need for certain documents to be delivered,” I agree completely. I think companies like UPS and FedEx will be around for the long run. There will always be a market for this. With that exception, I predict everything else will be done digitally.

Does that sound crazy? Look how far things have changed in just the past five years. Almost every Fortune 500 company has a website, a Facebook page and even let their loyal customers follow them on Twitter. How many of you still have a phonebook in your home? Do you still get that huge Sears catalog in the mail? You can do all of your shopping online. You can order food, make a reservation, buy a car, find your dream home, get life insurance, send money, pay bills, renew pharmacy prescriptions and get a higher education. The sky is the limit.

How many of you have scanned and emailed a document? How many of you had scanned and emailed a document five years ago? I would guess the number goes down. Try to envision what the future will look like in five years as the Internet market continues its explosive growth.

Finally, to answer your question, “What does this have to do with me?” As someone who speaks and consults financial planners and insurance agents for a living, I am well aware of what people are doing for marketing. I can’t tell you how many advisors say, “I don’t need to use the Internet for marketing, I have a direct mail campaign that hasn’t failed me yet.” Sound familiar?

Does that sound like the two large companies we discussed above? Direct mail campaigns are based on great business models which have worked well in the past. However, that is not where the future lies in marketing. Why continue to keep paying more for your direct mail, while seeing the return on investment go down each year?

There are so many ways to take advantage of digital marketing: the credibility of a great website, using social media, email drip systems, video conferencing, using Facebook to fill your seminars, turning your radio show viral with podcasts, increasing visibility to consumers, and advertising.

I have never corresponded or talked to Amy McIlwain, but I would encourage each of you to read her material. She has a wealth of knowledge on everything associated with social media and digital marketing.

Don’t be the stubborn giant, who refuses to change your business model just because it worked in the past. This Internet revolution is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. For those of you who use business models of the past, you might wake up one day and realize your leads have dried up, your business is struggling and your competition has surpassed you.
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