Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Substitutes & Complements
If you've ever taken a marketing or economics course you've been introduced to the notion of substitutes and complements -- these are products or services that could either replace your offering or could make it better. I had a real life example of that concept this morning at Union Station in Washington DC. I had to catch a train to New York and had limited time before the train and headed toward the Starbucks and saw a line that had at least 20 people in it. Doing the quick calculus I figured I'd miss my train so I opted for a substitute -- Primo Cappucino that had virtually no line.

Big surprise that the espresso was lousy, the scone was stale, and the yogurt tasted like strawberry frosting.

In the information industry we've talked about the phenomenon of "just good enough" replacing premium services. As in the breakfast example above, you get what you pay for and next time I'll get up earlier for the premium service. I also think that most of the professionals served by our industry that are making market moving, life saving and critical strategic decisions will continue to rely on the premium services that we have to offer.