What in the world is an Eierlegendewollmilchsau?
I just learned this word today, from Carmen, who was kind enough to let me share it with you.
It means an egg-laying wool milk pig.
Something that doesn’t make sense. An animal that is trying to do too many things at once.
Are you an Eierlegendewollmilchsau?
But, sometimes, in the rush to get new business, or grow our influence, we forget that companies cannot be Eierlegendewollmilchsaus. As Carmen said, “You can’t be everything to everyone and neither can your organization. Segment, compartmentalize, create a spin-off, do whatever you have to do resist the temptation to become an Eierlegendewollmilchsau.”
What that means is that you need to concentrate your marketing efforts in one place. Don’t try to lay eggs, produce wool, give milk, and become bacon.
If you want to pursue different passions, such as life coaching and opera singing, separate them.
Pick your “people”
Don’t try to sell to the US military, your local dry cleaners, and stay-at-home moms at the same time. Choose your “fish.”
Build your expertise and your reputation
If you’re a web designer, be a great web designer. Don’t try to design, develop databases, write copy, and streamline packing and shipping all at once.
That’s a Eierlegendewollmilchsau. If you regularly get projects that require multiple skills, form partnerships.
I’m good with words, for instance, but nobody in their right mind wants me to code SQL databases. I leave that to other people.
Share your thoughts
What do you think? Do you know of any companies that are Eierlegendewollmilchsaus? And, did you think I’d be able to find a picture of one?
Jodi, there are in fact EWMs that work really well. The term is used, for instance, to describe the little stick poking out on the left hand side of the steering wheel of most Mercedes Benz models. Mercedes have perfected the art in cramming an insane amount of functionality into this little device. These days I think even looking at it will activate some important feature in your car. And isn’t an iPhone an EWM? It’s an MP3 player, a web browser, a calculator, an alarm clock, a camera and of course a phone. I am probably forgetting some features here. Does the iPhone make sense to you?
I, of course, defer to your superior knowledge of German. 🙂
Nothing wrong with multi-function and I do lust after an iphone. I just don’t want anything to do with AT&T. However, your examples are all electronic devices. So they do have some things in common. It’s not like Exxon deciding to go into the donut business. Or the bath towel business.
The problem is when a company starts grafting entirely different businesses together and hoping it will all work out somehow.
But, you know that. 🙂