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Evolution, Meet Gravitation

So you're starting to get a handle on Gravitational Marketing. Kudos. It ain't easy--and most people never make the leap.

Now let me introduce you to gravitation's close friend: evolution. What does evolution have to do with marketing? And why does it hold the key to your marketing success?

Here's why.

In his book "The Origin of the Species," Charles Darwin posited that two meta-forces determine the success or failure of any species: divergence and convergence.


Al and Laura Ries, authors of "The Origin of Brands: Discover the Natural Laws of Product Innovation and Business Survival," argue that divergence and convergence are still the two factors that determine business success (and it makes sense, right? we're still living in the same universe, with the same laws, as our furrier predecessors).

They cite McD's and Starbucks as examples of divergence. Think about it. They took two American past times, burgers and coffee, and created their own category.

Convergence, on the other hand, is bundling a bunch of products together and thinking that alone will sell. It's simply not true--bundling, or "one-stop-shop-making," won't create a divergence in the marketplace. Unless you're the first company to bundle in your market, focus on divergence.

We've been talking a lot about commoditization. We've talked about defining your process, naming it, and charging more for out. Now it's time to take it to the next level--make it evolutionary and gravitational.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

-What is everyone else in the marketplace doing?

-What can I do that's divergent--that branches off in a new direction and creates a new category?

-How can I make divergent innovation practical? If I don't have a million-dollar R&D budget, what are simple shifts I can make to begin the evolutionary process?

-Have I been relying on convergence--making a package bundling look better--for my competitive advantage?

Next, we'll look at Part II of evolution's historic meeting with gravitation. Until then, start thinking divergence.