In 2002, the board of HMV were told by their marketing agency that the chain faced three major threats: online retailers, downloadable music and supermarkets offering discounts.
HMV’s managing director replied: “I accept that supermarkets are a thorn in our side but not for the serious music, games or film buyer. As for other two, I don’t ever see them being a real threat.
“Downloadable music is just a fad and people will always want the experience of a music store rather than online shopping.”
Today, the music has almost died for HMV and its board can only dream of what was once its £1bn-plus valuation.
Peter Knight takes the example and applies it to the world of high street estate agents.
In a fascinating article, he looks at the lessons that could be learned from HMV – starting with the advice: “Accept that the new models are here to stay.”
Other advice includes recognising that people want things immediately; and that, if the management gurus are to be believed, there are just three customer propositions.
These are: innovation, service, and efficiency (often known as cheap).
You cannot, says Knight, do both service and cheap. For proof of this, look no further than Countrywide.
There is plenty more thought-provoking stuff here: