The Five Stages of Marketing.

There’s an old saw in show business about the five stages of an actor’s career. It goes something like this:

  • Who is Jack Nicholson?
  • Get me Jack Nicholson!
  • Get me a Jack Nicholson type.
  • Get me a ‘young’ Jack Nicholson.
  • Who is Jack Nicholson?
    The late, lamented Micrografx Designer.

    Marketing is a lot like that. I once worked for Micrografx as their creative director. Out of the blue a company out of Canada started running ads that offered a competitive product to our flagship release (Designer). Our software engineer’s response: “Who is Corel?”

    Corel’s product launched and the trade press responded favorably. All of a sudden, it was no longer “Micrografx Designer and it’s competitors,” but Micrografx Designer and newcomer Corel Draw!.

    After our design team failed to take Corel seriously, the press started saying “Micrografx Designer and Corel Draw!” and shortly “Corel Draw! and Micrografx Designer.”

    As Micrografx Designer showed it’s age – and a new version was slow in coming, we heard “Corel Draw, and other applications like Micrografx Designer.”

    Eventually, Corel bought all of Micrografx. Designer lives on – sort of – as an obscure product of Corel’s. Why did this happen? Simple. Micrografx failed to take the competition seriously. They bought off on their own PR, and believed that “nobody knows more about writing Windows graphics apps than we do.” Whoops.

    So how can you stop your own market from being taken over by a faster, more energetic competitor?

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