Marketing: The Key Differentiator

Josh Anderson of One-Into-Many is our guest blogger this week.  He offers a great summary of our Equinox Focus topic “Reconceptualizing Your Business.”   Josh is also a founding member of the Advantage Consortium.


Everyone is fighting to differentiate themselves in the market. A market that has become commodity oriented. They are asking for more value at a less cost. None of us like competing in this environment. Something needs to change.

Ok, so you know you have to think about and do business differently.  But what does that mean?

As you peel back the layers and begin to understand your core value, a level of excitement rushes in.  Suddenly people in your organization get a sense of vigor as the focus starts becoming clear.  The question is does anyone else care about your value?

So we are challenged to find the market for our value and then to described that value in their terms.  The natural instinct is to error on the side of not saying words that might dissuade a potential buyer.  Stories and messaging end up being broad and encompassing of many potential customers for fear of losing even one good selling opportunity.

This thinking is having disastrous effects as companies move from the information age to the conceptual age.  As they move from local competitors to worldwide competitors, their story and messaging is lost and ignored. Their efforts are left for dead.  The common fix?  Get better at sales

How’s that working for you?

Conceptual Age businesses put the marketing discipline front and center.  It becomes the foundation from which they build all relationships with suppliers and customers.  It becomes the core system they test and measure continuously.  Marketing efforts become focused and speak directly to a very narrow segment of the market…a market that is controlled with virtually no competition.

So what does doing business differently mean?  It means using marketing to produce results that are unthinkable today.

Welcome to the conceptual age.

Business Innovation through Human Capital Management

Our guest blog comes from Ken Realmuto, Talent Acquisition Expert and Human Capital Strategist.  Ken owns the firm Real Enterprises, Inc. and is a Founder/Partner Advantage Consortium. 


In 2001 Allen Greenspan announced that we are entering a new age. He called it the “Conceptual Age”. Currently we have a universal agreement that we are indeed in a new age. Some call it the Conceptual Age, while others call it the Talent Age. The underlining reality is the same; there is a change taking place with talent.

“In the New Economy human capital is the foundation of value creation. This presents an interesting dilemma, the asset that is most important is the least understood, least prone to measurement and least susceptible to management”. David Norton

The ability to make good decisions regarding people presents one of the last reliable sources of competitive advantage-since very few organizations are very good at it”. Peter Drucker

In the future we will not be able to continue to repave old roads. In the 1990’s a generation of computing arose with the simple idea that it’s not the computer anymore that is critical but the network; it’s not the node, it’s the connection that count. Talent management is in the same situation. It’s not the individual practice but how they relate and connect to the business objectives that will separate the successful companies from those that don’t get it in time.

One key element to success is to treat talent management not as simply as  an extension of what is already being done, but as a fundamentally new way to think about attracting, hiring, engaging, developing and retaining top performers.

There is not a doubt that people and organizations are on a new journey from the safe, secure world of their present reality to an uncertain future. This journey will be confusing at times and contradictory as the force and pace of change accelerates. It is difficult to give up our past practices and mindsets that were successful at one time and are now barriers or even inhibitors of future success.  As Ralf Schneider from PricewaterhouseCoopers had said:  “We are living in a time when first generation leaders are working in second generation companies on third generation problems”.

Strategic Human Capital Management is the most powerful lever for innovation and growth in today’s knowledge economy. Corporate market value is increasingly defined as a sum of human intangibles-ranging from the public perception of a company’s intellectual capacity, to its perceived ability to create new solutions, enter new markets and respond to change. In this new world, new leadership models are emerging. 

These models enable executives to tap into previously unknown and untouched value within their existing organization.  These models enable a better hiring plan that is aligned to the companies plan.  And lastly these models enable innovation to happen consistently across organizational boundaries. Talent has entered new age. New leadership models are emerging. The hidden value of human capital is being found. Business value is increasing because of it.