There is an abundance of commodities in our economy in 2019. Do you want to get a college education? You are welcome to choose between and among 5,300 different options. These options are private, public, christian, HBCU, women’s college, you name it. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are $486,000 plumbers in America. There is one billion websites on google and somewhere between 600,000 and one million books published every year for your to choose and buy. On Spotify alone, we have 40 million songs to choose from and 3 billion user playlists to listen to. And to complement this madness, we can choose between 59 different kinds of salad dressings at Publix.
It is no accident that the value of these commodities are decreasing in price and need fast. Our economy isn’t scarce anymore which means that we must do something different in order to attract people’s attention to whatever we do or sell. Advertising a lot isn’t the answer, obviously. We don’t need to be cluttered with more messages these days. The over reliance on advertising isn’t the answer, I say.
What do we need to do then in order to make our offerings more scarce, then? In my opinion, this can only be accomplished by helping the client to save time.
In my industry of higher education, I do what I can to help my students to save time. I produce tutorials, podcasts, design video games, work in class with them on projects, go to the cafeteria and guide them on life pursuits, you name it. I make the lives of my students easier which in effect makes them save time. I’m willing to trade my time for their attention. They appreciate it. I innovate, earn the permission to speak with them and they choose me over the other thousands of daily stimuli they ignore every day.
It seems to be working. In the past semester alone, I carried out a conversation with 569 students, advised them in my office, at the mall, in the cafeteria, playing ping pong on campus, at the library, on the street, in their dorm lobby, at the park, during spring break, fall break, thanksgiving, at the swimming pool, via facebook, instagram, snapchat, linkedIn…
Wake up! Our economy has changed. Our standard operating procedures are being flipped upside down to accommodate for this explosion of intellectual property that is available for us all. Higher education is tanking because of lack of change and understanding about where the economy is headed. Information is now free. If we are to charge fore information, we may need to somehow incorporate the time variable in our offerings.
We don’t like (or want) to be bothered or interrupted anymore. There is so much noise in our lives because of over production. No wonder why students hate to waste time and effort. Things are available for them right now and often someplace else. They don’t need to come to a college class to learn. They may want to come, however, if they save time.
Here is my advise to you: If you want to advance your industry, be different. I’m different by saving students time. What are you doing to be different?
There is a surplus of college professors out there but only a handful of Dr. A’s. Are you the “Dr. A” of your industry? What is your competitive advantage? What are you doing different for others to choose you over the million other options they can choose from?
For now, this is what I’m doing. Tomorrow? Who knows! I will invent something else.