What you don’t know *can* hurt you

But don’t take my word for it. Ask Ron Johnson.

If you’ve ever seen an Apple store at the mall, you’ve seen Ron’s work. What he did for that company is outstanding, and earned him a reported $400 million.

After leaving Apple, Ron was hired by JC Penney in late 2011. It was there that he made a terrible mistake.

Ron knew how to attract the kind of customers who wanted to buy Apple products. Unfortunately, the same things do not attract people who want to buy what they sell at JC Penney.

Under Ron’s leadership, JC Penney changed their logo and eliminated sales and coupons.

What Ron didn’t know was that JC Penney customers and Apple customers have different buying habits.

JC Penney customers don’t like change. The JC Penney logo hadn’t changed in 40 years and the customer was fine with that.

Apple customers love change. If Apple didn’t have constant improvement, their customers would revolt. They stand in line to get the latest iPhone.

JC Penney customers, don’t care at all about improvement, but will stand in line for a sale!

Two completely different buying habits. And Ron was courting the wrong one.

Sales plummeted. Ron got sacked.

Guess who got his job? Ron’s predecessor.

It’s like the joke about playing a country song backward – you get your girl back, your dog back, your truck back …

The old CEO came back, the old logo came back, the old coupons came back … and guess what? The sales came back. I mean both the discount kind of sales and the sales volume kind of sales. It all came back.

It’s what he didn’t know that hurt him. What would he have given to learn what’s being taught by his example?

We used this example in our webinar last Friday, “How The Fortune 100 Dominate The Marketplace”.

If you would like to hear about two more abysmal failures, and also two extraordinary successes, check out the replay video here (it’s less than 50 minutes long):



Carpe numero (seize the numbers)