Barry Urquhart

Embrace the Crowd

It’s getting very crowded.

New products, processes, payment systems, delivery services, communication channels, competitors, substitutes and, yes, new purchase criteria are rapidly evolving, transitioning and fracturing. Pandemic-infected commerce is accelerating change.

Clutter is apparent, albeit not recognised and addressed by all. Losses in enquiries, transactions, revenue, cash-flows, sales conversions, competitive rankings and advantages are mounting.

Consequences can be immediate, expansive, expensive and ongoing.


The coronavirus pandemic has been responsible for the widespread application of WFH (working from home), social distancing, hubs, Zoom conferencing and other isolating and alienating practices.

Countless businesses, individuals, networks and clusters have lost touch, and with it empathy for and among, those whom they seek to be of service.

Hubs have developed many characteristics of the mythical “clone of silence.”    Those inside become deaf to changes, innovations and the dynamics of a very fluid marketplace. Subtle variances and nuances are not being “heard”, recognised, addressed and redressed.

Assessments of comparative and competitive advantage are often ill-founded and quickly become outdated, irrelevant and widely inaccurate or non-quantifiable.

Reasserting a presence in the marketplace is becoming an imperative.


Repeated media references to economic surges, “bounce-backs” and the like are disconcerting to sectors, markets, entities and active individuals who are encountering inconsistent, indifferent and extremely price-sensitive circumstances.

Increasing top-lines are not necessarily being reflected in bottom-lines, relationships, loyalty, repeat business, referrals and advocacy.

Transactions are an essential nature of the current crowded marketplace. Everyone, it seems, has or is open to a deal. A significant percentage are, single interactions.

Submissions, proposals and contacts offering deals are literally “just around the corner”. Shoe leather is being worn out, as it complements online social media communications.

Individual human beings and entities are making their own headlines. Audience selection is seemingly non-discriminatory. After all, a sale is a sale.

Rapier-sharp messages and targets appear to have elapsed in currency. “Shot-gun” approaches are more common, than in recent years.


In the fight to win customers, business, relevance, profits and market-share, it is difficult to enjoy uncontested and advantageous presence in a crowded marketplace.

Recent corporate failures suggest some entities, products, services, apps and segments are being subjected to “king hits”. Cascading and multiplying effects of failures of one stakeholder do have telling impacts on others in supply chains and networks. Hiccups being experienced by global fintechs are having profound and immediate impacts on associate mining groups, retailers, manufacturers, logistic operations and payment systems.

Unexpected and unintended consequences can be, and are, difficult to address, redress and overcome. Sympathetic and deep-pocket governments are less conspicuous, receptive and generous.

Collaboration is, and will remain, a key attribute in the operations and success, of an increasing number of businesses, small-to medium sized in particular. However, financial prudence and independence will remain core issues for Boards of Directors, senior management and business owners.

During hard times, crowded settings can thin out rapidly.


Declarations about the new marketplace, new consumers and new realities need not imply the need for new strategies, new tactics, new objectives and new goals.

Crowded circumstances reflect the absence of space, “blue oceans” for adherents of that strategic planning philosophy, and scope of independent positioning.

Indeed the prevailing reality underscores the fact that opportunities have never been better to get close to existing, prospective, and past clients. Physical proximity, complemented with psychological and social closeness promotes and facilitates better understanding, satisfaction and fulfilment.

Figurative and literal hugs can be so rewarding, uplifting and fulfilling.

So, business prospects can be within ready reach in a crowded marketplace, if and when one is prepared to reconnect, re-engage, embrace customers and value their mutual life-time worth.

Barry Urquhart
Conference Keynote Speaker
Marketing Focus
M:        041 983 5555