I recently tweeted something that, I think deserves a more detailed explanation:
This is true for a few reasons.
A direct world: all customers can and will contact brand controllers directly. Information services and direct brand channels such as twitter mean that customers deserve and expect direct answers and interaction. Something only traditional service companies would once provide.
The manufacturing gap: Every year the chasm between between brands and manufacturing is widening. In fact, many of the worlds most adored brands don’t make what they sell. They either design and direct (eg Apple) or only make information (Facebook / Google). In fact consumer manufacturing stalwarts like Kraft and Proctor & Gamble produce far less than they ever have. The gap between makers and marketers will only continue to widen. And require traditional brand owners to become more service oriented in the process.
The virtual replacing the physical: Increasingly we are making and selling virtual goods. Goods that are consumed intellectually. Think video games – and then think far wider. Just because we can’t touch something, it does not mean it doesn’t provide significant utility. Paid for mobile apps and software are great examples, as is music in digital format. The CD only provided utility in that it delivered the music, nothing more.
Recently Marc Andresseen, was quoted as saying ‘Software is eating everything’ which is a very important statement. The shift is happening, and even if we still make stuff – increasingly our service orientation will be how we win.