“It’s worth taking a moment here to understand the used-book market. For most of the past few decades it has actually been comprised of two very different markets. About two-thirds of it was the thriving and efficient textbook business that centered around college campuses…
“Used textbooks are a model of an efficient market–every year millions of students buy and then resell expensive volumes they need only for a single semester. The set of books with resale value is determined by the published curriculum of core classes; the price is set by what competition there is between campus bookstores; and the supply is replenished twice a year.
“Textbook publishers don’t mind this very much because it means they can actually charge more for new copies, since the buyers know they have a predictable resale value. Indeed, the economic model at work here is more like a rent than a purchase. Typically, stores buy books for 50 percent of the cover price and then resell them for 75 percent. Depending on whether the student is buying new or used, that ‘rental fee’ is between half and quarter of the list price of the book. This arrangement works so well that the used-textbook market in the United States is now a $1.7 billion enterprise, accounting for 16 percent of all college store sales.” (p. 86)
“Your Marketing Strategy starts, ends, lives, and dies with your customer.
“So in the development of your Marketing Strategy, it is absolutely imperative that you forget about your dreams, forget about your visions, forget about your interests, forget about what you want–forget about everything but your customer!
“When it comes to marketing, what you want is unimportant.
“It’s what the customer wants that matters.
“And what your customer wants is probably significantly different from what you think he wants.” (p. 218)
“Innovation is the heart of every exceptional business. Innovation continually poses the question: What is standing in the way of my customer getting what he wants from my business?
“For the Innovation to be meaningful it must always take the customer’s point of view. At the same time, Innovation simplifies your business to its critical essentials. It should make things easier for you and your people in the operation of your business; otherwise it’s not Innovation but complication.
“Innovation, then, is the mechanism through which your business identifies itself in the mind of your customer and establishes its individuality. It is the result of a scientifically generated and quantifiably verified profile of your customer’s perceived needs and unconscious expectations.
“It is the skill developed within your business and your people that is constantly asking, ‘What is the best way to do this?’ knowing, even as the question is asked, that we will never discover the best way, but by asking we will assuredly discover a way that’s better than the one we know now.” (p. 121)
“Instead of asking, ‘Hi, may I help you?’ try ‘Hi, have you been in here before?’ The customer will respond with either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ In either case, you are then free to pursue the conversation.
“If the answer is yes, you can say, ‘Great. We’ve created a special new program for people who have shopped here before. Let me take just a minute to tell you about it.’
“If the answer is no, you can say, ‘Great, we’ve created a special new program for people who haven’t shopped here before. Let me take just a minute to tell you about it.’
“Of course, you’ll have to have created a special new program to talk about in either case. But that’s the easy part.
“Just think. A few simple words. Nothing fancy. But the result is guaranteed to put money in your pocket. How much? That depends on how enthusiastically you do it.” (p. 119)
“Remember that what you take for granted, because it is common knowledge to you, is a revelation, a secret of immense value to someone who does not know or understand it.” (p. 196)
This could be done easily through blogs, for example.
“I am a huge believer in creative theft. When I work as a consultant with one kind of business, I identify some principle of success, some strategy that is working for them, then take it and apply it to a second client’s business in a different field, where the strategy is new. And while I’m doing that, I can find something that the second client’s industry is doing and “steal” it to apply in an entirely different industry. You can certainly do the same thing for yourself…you might do as I do–find an idea you can transplant from one type of business to another.” (p. 178-9)
“Earl Nightingale once observed, “If, instead of working on making more money, the average businessperson would spend an hour each and every day in quiet contemplation of how to be of greater and more creative service to his clientele, he and they would be the richer for it.” (p. 70)