Marketing Idea No. 278: Technology. If you can’t beat it, embrace it

The technology industry has often been a source of envy for other industries. They are dynamic, exciting, full of exciting start up stories, has the power to change the world and in the process earn a lot of money for shareholders. To compete with that, other industries did what any smart organization would do. They understood that since you can’t beat them or be them; embrace them.

MasterCard has always been an “also ran” to VISA, with less global presence and $8.3 billion revenue, compared to VISA’s $11.8 billion. Credit card is a tricky business because at the end of the day a credit card company is nothing but a payment processing company; a middleman between consumers, merchants and issuing banks. When you are just a coordinating payment processor, not to mention the highly regulated nature of the category, how can you add value and differentiate yourself?

To do that, MasterCard decided to reinvent themselves as a technology company. Like Google, they created an in house innovation house called MasterCard Labs. Also they are betting big on its digital wallet business competing head on with Google there.

MasterCard is not alone in this game. Jeans companies are also embracing technology. Wrangler recently launched a denim that moisturizes your legs. Levi’s launched “Liquid Shaping Technology” denim which allows better fitting. Heineken created a limited “Cool Can Edition” where the ink of the can reacts with the chilled temperature of refrigerator to change the can design. In fact the world is embracing its first “Smart Gun” where the gun wont fire if you are not wearing a special watch which triggers the gun switch.

This is smart thinking. Rather than getting swept by technology, adopt it.

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