August 19, 2015

The core philosophy of my book, Powershift Marketing, is that you don’t need to accept change, you need to embrace it. As I quote Futurist Faith Popcorn in my book, “If the public reaches the future before you do, they will leave you behind.” I am constantly encouraging people to be head of their business curve. The recent story in the Wall St. Journal about onetime music giant Columbia House filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy is a case in point.

Founded in 1955 as a division of CBS Inc., it offered stacks of music CDs and then movie DVDs for as little as a penny. But Columbia House ended that music CD business in 2010, ten years after the market for CDs peaked at $13 billion in 2000. It was just a 1.85 million market in 2014. DVD sales have also dropped – 50% since 2006. Columbia House joins other CD retailers that have closed down or sought bankruptcy protection over the past decade, including Tower Records, Sam Goody and Musicland in 2006, Circuit City in 2008 and Virgin Megastore US in 2009.

The sad thing is it was a self-inflicted wound. “The thing I remember most is their unwillingness to change with the times,” said Mark Rubenstein, a former art director at Columbia House. “The writing was on the wall,” he said. “They either didn’t see the writing or didn’t want to read it.”

At this week’s marketing meeting take sometime to ask everyone: what future trends could help or hinder our business?

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