The Ad Age headline “TBWA/Media Arts Labs Cuts 50 Jobs To Adapt To Client Apple’s Changing Needs,” will not have made it onto most of your radar screens. Some of you pay attention to what’s going on at Apple. But almost none of you pay attention to what’s going on with its suppliers and customers. Shame on you. Paying attention to what’s going on in a company’s ecosystem can give you insight into what’s going at the company itself. You should do that for major bell-weather companies and all your main customers, suppliers and competitors.

A million years ago, I was part of the marketing team for Lever Brothers’ Wisk laundry detergent just after Procter & Gamble put Liquid Tide into a test market. Our research at Lever Brothers indicated Tide was a superior product in a superior package with a superior brand name. You don’t need to be a very sophisticated consumer marketer to know that combination is a problem for Wisk.

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