When Warren Buffet speaks, people listen.
Recently I happened to catch Warren Buffet on TV talking about how leaders should set business priorities.
Mr. Buffet was saying that, no matter the size of the business, you should operate your business like it’s a family business–one that you are going to hold onto for 100 years, and that the #1 thing you should think about is how to build a Sustainable Competitive Advantage, like building “like a moat around your castle.”
This is a great analogy. If you look back to medieval times, moats were excavated around castles as part of the defensive system–an obstacle immediately outside the walls–and usually they were filled with water.
A good moat made it difficult for your enemy to access your walls with siege weapons, such as towers and battering rams, which needed to be brought up against a wall to work effectively. A water-filled moat made it impossible for your enemy to dig tunnels under your fortifications in order to effect a collapse of the defenses. A good moat protected your castle and everything in it.
The wider your moat, the longer you can protect your profits. The deeper your moat, the more profitable you are.
If you’ve followed Buffet for any time, you also know that Warren Buffet invests primarily in companies that “understand their customers”. To me this means companies that make Marketing a priority in their strategic plan…, not just the 4 P’s (Product, Place, Price, and Promotion), but also RSPT (Research, Segmentation, Positioning, and Targeting).
In other words, to build a Sustainable Competitive Advantage,you must apply the Fundamental Principles of Direct Marketing to all your Operations.
“Understanding your customer” is the equivalent of protecting future revenue streams, and forms the basis of value. It’s the modern-day equivalent of building a good moat and creating a sustainable competitive advantage.
With this perspective, what are the competitive threats in your environment, i.e., the towers and battering rams that could impact your profitability?
And what are you going today, this week, next month, next year to “build your moat and protect your relationship with your customers?”