A new tactic

My old friend Peter Lindfield has a new tactic to tray and get people interested in economic development.   In his column today, he talks about how we need to be more globally connected and touches on the issue of the importance of scale (I’ll deal with this tomorrow in my TJ column).

But what he is really trying to do is scare us.   Check out his mug shot.  I think I’ll try that as well.

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2 Responses to A new tactic

  1. Actually, as I read it, it appears to be an effort by business to offload its market research expenses onto government via the mechanism of a proposed ‘InvestNB’ (couched, of course, in the contradictory language of “we cannot rely on government showing the way”).

  2. Stephen, I believe I am on record as stating, unequivocally, that the private sector is primarily responsible for market research.

    In my December 14th column, I state that “If we are to successful in conquering markets, in emerging economies and in the U.S., we need to make substantial investments in intelligence gathering to more thoroughly support key market development initiatives. That is the proper domain of the private sector.”

    Evidence is thick on the ground that government does a poor job of useful market research, in part because of its superficial nature and in part because of its expense. One of the reasons that government has such difficulty in determining the value propositions of its own industries is that it has too few resources working on sector analysis. More useful work is performed by firms such as Gartner and IDC. I am not referring to the documents you can download free from the their websites but the more comprehensive work for which organizations pay a substantial fee. Why substantial? Because it useful market research requires specialists with real knowledge of their industry and they are well paid for their efforts. But governments should not have to pay for this. The private sector should pay or suffer the consequences of not knowing enough about their target markets (and how they are changing), having insufficient knowledge of competitors (and not just in Atlantic Canada, but where they actually exist anywhere in the world), and having an only trivial understanding of the viability of their product and service portfolio.

    But whatever market research is in fact performed by government should be consistent with the requirements of the private sector, rather than producing essentially worthless intelligence documents that are only obliquely related to actual market activity. And if government market research was really useful, it would be in demand by tier 1 companies. My experience as an executive in tier 1 firms is that government market research was of peripheral interest at best.

    Our research tells us that tier 2 and 3 Canadian firms underspend on intelligence almost as spectacularly as they underspend on productivity-enhancing initiatives. That is not the fault of government. It points more to the complacency of the business sector and a patent unwillingness to recognize that competition is getting much tougher everywhere.

    That InvestNB should align its objectives with the appropriate organizational model is a subject I discussed in two earlier columns (http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/journal/article/756706 and http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/journal/article/763814).

    I find it curious that you choose to interpret “we cannot rely on government showing the way” as contradictory language in distinction to a vague subtext you perceive as ideologically pro-business.

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