Sears’ Catalog Has Speed, Amazon’s Search Provides Velocity and Direction Into Future

Sears’ Catalog Has Speed, Amazon’s Search Provides Velocity and Direction Into Future

Good People, this week’s class note on Tekedia Mini-MBA is on the Board. As I shared a few hours ago, we are focusing on Perception Demand Marketing (read here), working on how to use perception to turn consumers into customers, and into fans, by creating products and services which do not just meet Needs or Expectations of customers but serve at the level of Perception. I offered some flash cases: iPhone, Diamond Bank’s DIBS, 23andme, Airbnb, etc. 

Here, as a very good Physics student in secondary school, I use Speed and Velocity (speed with direction) to explain the difference between Sears (a bankrupt physical superstore), and Amazon. Sears used catalog which has only speed, Amazon uses search technology which provides velocity. That velocity gives a DIRECTION into the future. To create perception demand, you do not give customers catalog options, you empower them to discover the future in your ecosystems. 

You move them from speed to velocity where while completing the distance of life, over time, they do so with a sense of direction. When you do that, you create a new basis of competition, and turn many into fans, creating leverageable moments of glory! Now, get to the board.

From Tekedia Mini-MBA Class Note

Sears, a bankrupt American retail chain, was built on catalogue – a fangled technology of its time. It was typical of industrial age business model: send the customers options on what they might need with no certainty on what they actually want. The discovery process was weak, defining the retailer with no sense to get insights at scale, quickly.

Amazon is built on search – a modern technology which is unconstrained and unbounded, only limited by the imaginations of the consumers. Search provides a window into possibilities, making it even possible that Amazon can see patterns on things it does not have in stock, and quickly respond to add them.

Search has velocity, catalogue has only speed; no antenna for direction. Search enables Perception Demand which enables the acceleration of consumerism by rewiring the mindsets of users to a new domain which they might have never imagined. As customer tastes move, your business must adapt. You need the antenna to move in the right direction to make that happen. Yes, in the 21st century, you win with Perception Demand.

Yes, no matter what you do, you cannot catalogue your customers. You need to find a way to help them discover the future in your ecosystem!

You can register for the next edition of the mini-MBA which begins June 22 here.


1. Advance your career with Tekedia Mini-MBA (Sept 13 – Dec 6, 2021): 140 global faculty, online, self-paced, $140 (or N50,000 naira). Click and register here.

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One thought on “Sears’ Catalog Has Speed, Amazon’s Search Provides Velocity and Direction Into Future

  1. Two ways to a separation and become exceptional: do an extraordinary thing, or do ordinary things in an extra ordinary way. Apple did the former with the iPhone, while Airbnb did the latter with its business model.

    So for Perception Demand, it’s about turning abstract possibilities into practical realities. Once you do that, the world will take notice!


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