Sometimes your product category faces foundational shifts that turn the Marketer’s Gap of Despair into a chasm. (The Gap is that uncomfortable place where consumers can not be motivated to action by any real feature of your product.)
At this point the chasm is so easy to see that agreeing to build a bridge is simple. (Newspapers, combustion engines, pay phones, buggy whips…) Trouble starts about halfway across. That’s when your entire organization gets their most frightening view of what happens if you build the bridge poorly. The chasm is deep and unforgiving.
So what happens?
We try to turn back.
We sabotage innovation to keep old categories and cash flows alive, just a little bit longer.
We grab ‘safety’ lines that pull us in all sorts of directions. (This being a bridge – direction counts)
Then somebody else sets up shop where we were going. They push back on what’s left of your bridge building efforts. You’re left with half a bridge. Nothing but scrap really.
If you have decided to build a bridge, never compromise construction with concerns about product that is nearing end-of-life. Let your old product compete as best it can, survive if need be – but never through politics force shoddy construction of your future.