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Is Your Business Strategy Stuck Trying to Mimic the Competition?

What would you do if a competitor to your organisation, or to the organisation you are advising, developed a new and innovative means of market penetration?

One reaction, to take the not so distant demise of Blockbusters as a contemporary example, might be to be to chase the competition in the hope of either, at best, beating them at their own game, or at worse, riding their coattails for slice of their success. Expanding on this example, by the time that Blockbusters finally entered into the rental by mail space in 2004, it was already clearly late. It was already trailing competitors like Netflix, who had entered 6 years earlier in 1998 and were already turning a profit in the field, and Redbox had also just launched. The decision Blockbuster took here, was to begin chasing the competition in open mimicry of their business models.

And herein lies the difference between successful strategies, and unsuccessful strategies. When Netflix and Redbox entered into the market, or indeed other online upstart companies into the traditional bricks and mortar hegemony such as Amazon, they didn’t set out to mimic existing practices. They sought to do something different. They took decisions based on data and market insight, that revealed gaps in a market, which they then vigorously exploited to provide innovative, and ultimately triumphant, strategies that culminated in the complete surpassing of more entrenched rivals.

The alternative approach, and the one that will always mark out the most successful strategies, is to look to the data. Indeed, the key to these success stories is not technology, technology for technology’s sake is no more the solution to a business opportunity than is conservatism for conservatism’s sake. The key to these stories is the ability to ignore the temptation to simply reproduce what was already at market and instead adopt a data driven approach designed to identify and innovatively exploit gaps in the market.

Without data, business leaders are doomed to the static observation of their competitors’ innovations, with little option but to respond in kind. When an upstart like Netflix enters the market, entrenched players like Blockbuster are already behind the trend when they step up to match the service. When however, companies drive strategic decisions with data, innovation is the natural product that results from a greater understanding of user behaviour, with the imperative on meeting customer needs not matching competitors’ offerings.

It is this faith in data analysis that will allow companies to identify new customer segments, with fundamentally different needs to others, which will allow businesses to capitalise on new market trends before competitors, and continue to thrive in ever changing market places where others confined to mimicry are doomed to stagnation and failure.

Companies like Netflix are notable examples of this approach, leaving the question:

Are you a Netflix or a Blockbuster?

Written by Anwar Taali, Research Consultant –  / 020 7419 0909

If you are interested in speaking about strategic, brand or retail consultancy in greater details, or are interested in applying for roles in these fields, then please do get in contact.



Indirect Tax Market Report – NOW AVAILABLE

We’re delighted to announce the publication of BLT’s Indirect Tax Market Report 2014; we do hope you find the report informative and a useful reference point.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all those who completed the survey that was distributed widely to the Indirect Tax population at the end of 2013. The published information is drawn from the results of this survey, reference to recent BLT placements and conversations with key players in the Indirect Tax world.

To receive your copy please contact us on 020 7405 3404 or


BLT are once again proud sponsors of the “Best VAT Team” award at the LexisNexis Taxation Awards 2014.

The LexisNexis Taxation Awards are the gold standard of excellence in the UK tax industry. They made their debut in 2001 and quickly grew to become a major annual event. BLT have sponsored the Best VAT Team awards since their inception in 2001.

This year’s ceremony will be held on Thursday 22nd May at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel, London. Each year’s prize-giving is attended by around 700 guests, a lucky few of whom take home gongs that are much sought-after by tax professionals throughout the country.

BLT takes Top-Consultant accolade.

BLT has been voted the best management consultancy recruitment firm for 2014, the 6th year in a row. To add to this once again Don Leslie voted top individual management consultancy recruiter again.

Thank you all for your support.

‘Dreams Come True’ at BLT



BLT has decided to adopt a new company charity called Dreams Come True.

The charity work with sick children who are undergoing long and difficult rounds of hospital treatment, or whose prognosis is terminal. They allow the children to live a dream, ranging all the way from eating their favourite ice cream to meeting their idols for the day! BLT takes there Corporate and Social Responsibility seriously, and were keen to sponsor a charity that was smaller and less exposed to mainstream funding. The company felt strongly about supporting Dreams Come True as many of us have kids ourselves and were touched when an ambassador for the charity came to speak to us and informed us how our donations would be used.

The idea was initially proposed by one of our colleagues Sarah, who is taking part in the London Marathon on the 13th of April on behalf of the charity. Of course we will all be down at the race giving Sarah typical BLT support and encouragement throughout the day and we are also planning on doing many more events throughout the year. Keep an eye on the website to see what else we get up to! We wish Sarah the very best of luck for the run (she will need it)! Below is the link to her fundraising page, please feel free to visit and donate as every little helps! We have also included a link to the Dreams Come True page so that you can learn more about the amazing work they do.

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