So you got a monopoly huh? Guess again

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One of the most powerful monopolies most people don’t know about looks like it is coming apart at the seams. The Associated Press, the newspaper wire service, has been in business since 1846 without much of a challenge. Until now.

The Associated Press has been arrogant, painfully behind the times and overpriced for years. Over the last few months a number of newspapers have canceled their service while regional newspapers have started their own wire service. Even CNN has seen a chink in AP’s armor and has started to offer a wire services to newspapers.

As a monopoly AP has charged prices that are 4-10 times more expensive than their closest competitor for lackluster 3rd party web products hoping their partner newspapers wouldn’t know any better. Sorry AP, but the jig is up. Thanks to the web, and open source tools, price has never been more competitive.

So what does this have to do with marketing? Often marketing is word of mouth and reputation. The AP has a bad reputation that carries from one newspaper to another and has continued to eroded their image. AP has a good core product, delivering accurate stories quickly, but their other products are lackluster and over-priced. AP has forgotten one of the most fundamental problems of a monopoly–they forgot about their customers. When your customers believe you aren’t looking out for them–and only for yourself–eventually it will come back to bite you in the backside.

No matter how good your company is. No matter how big your company becomes, never forget your company is dependent upon one thing: your customers.

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