Roy's Blog: February 2010
February 27, 2010
A critical component of what I call Customerized Marketing is Customer Learning: the continuous process of developing a deep understanding of the customers you have chosen to SERVE.
It’s an organic capability to be acquired in your own organization rather than one which can be outsourced to another firm. Why? Because you nurture and retain the things that will distinguish your organization from the competitive hordes, and Customer Learning is one of these ‘things’.
People often ask me what the difference is between Customer Leaning and Market Research. Here is a side-by-side comparison....
- evaluates the market periodically
- can be outsourced to an external firm
- is viewed as a study
- takes a snapshot of a customer at a point in time-
- takes a narrow view of the customer
- describes the ‘average’ customer
- knows little about each individual studied
- uses few segmentation variables
- is an ongoing process
- engages all employees
- is considered a core competency of the organization
- looks at the customer continually
- looks a the customer holistically
- seeks to understand very small groups of customers
- targets knowledge on individuals rather than the ‘average’ person
- uses many segmentation variables to obtain robust information on many unique customer groups
The bottom line is that there is a role for Market Research, but it won’t get you a BE DiFFERENT advantage in your market. Invest time and energy in building a Learning capability in your organization and you will be handsomely rewarded.
Customerize Your Marketing
Customerize Practice #1 Create Holistic Value Based Offers
Customerize Practice #2 Institutionalize Customer Learning
Customerize Practice #3 Discover Customer Secrets
February 21, 2010
Creating a strategy for your organization doesn’t have to be time consuming, complicated and expensive.
I have helped organizations - both for-profit and not-for-profit - get the job done in 3 days and be executing on the 4th! And, they have enjoyed the BE DiFFERENT strategy-building experience.
In addition, the BE DiFFERENT method established strategy ‘elevator speech’ . You will build not only a succinct expression of where you intend to take your organization, you will also create the platform to drive all of your communications activities.
Check out these past blogs for a roadmap that will get the job done for you and will harness the energy and intellectual capabilities of the people who really know how to plot a successful course for you.
You can’t afford NOT to have a current strategy for your organization. Contact me NOW to help you out. And join me for the BE DiFFERENT or be dead Business Growth and Survival Webinar Series where I will dive deep into this process for you.
February 18, 2010
Traditional marketing has been self-absorbed in the notion of market segmentation.
The segmentation objective is to identify market clusters that exhibit similar characteristics in terms of common variables such as demographics, lifestyle, political and buying preferences, product usage behavior and so on. Once a segment with similar appropriate attributes has been identified the marketing role is to develop programs to exploit the revenue opportunity in each segment.
The assumption made in the marketing program is that each person in the segment ‘looks the same’. Each has the same demand characteristics. Each has the same needs, wants and desires.
The ‘average’ peson becomes the target and there will be sales hits when the target actually does behave like the average and there will be sales misses when they don’t look like the average person at all.
Nothing wrong with the Marketing 101 approach. But its not DiFFERENT.
Consider the following aspects of BE DiFFERENT Market Segmentation that sets it apart from the commonly-used methodology.
- BE DiFFERENT segmentation considers segmentation as a strategic exercise asking the question “How should I segment the market in order to expose as many opportunities as I can?” comon segmentation variables such as demograhics and geographics are given mild attention only: the focus is on determining the appropriate variable that will unlock the growth key for the organization.
- BE DiFFERENT segmentation is a process of segmentation that is driven by the intent to find differences in customer clusters in order to expose as many customer clusters as possible. The axiom followed is that opportunity comes from differences NOT similarities, and that the greater the number of clusters defined the more intelligence you have on every person in the cluster AND the better the ability to match a product or service with their specific needs. In other words the Customer Learning Factor increases with the number of customer clusters defined and with it the revenue opportunity.
- BE DiFFERENT segmentation, as described in the previous point tries to define as many different customer clusters as possible. The Customer Learning Factor increases as does the probability of making a sale due to the fact that you are better able to match your offering with the more precise needs. wants and desires of the individuals in each cluster.
- Finally, BE DiFFERENT segmentation is a continuous process of going deeper and deeper into a customer cluster. Obtaining more and more information on the individuals in the cluster. Looking for differences until the end result is a cluster of one. If you have one million customers, the result would be one million clusters or segments of 1.
What are the implications of a million clusters of 1?
- you would BE DiFFERENT as few would undertake the journey
- you would have deep intimate knowledge of each of your customers - Customer Learning Factor = infinity
- your sales potential would be off the charts
- you would outperform your competition
- your customers would love you - matching your solutions exactly to their needs
- you would thrive
- AND you would survive any unpredictable body blows you might suffer in an ever changing world.
All because you choose to change the way you look at Market Segmentation.
Final word. Its not really about achieving Clusters of 1 status. Its about putting in place a BE DiFFERENT marketing philosophy to treat segmentation as a continuous learning process of driving our knowledge-gathering down to the individual. If you define 1000,000 clusters of 10 are you on track? ABSOLUTELY! Keep on segmenting is the point.
February 15, 2010
BE DiFFERENT Axiom:
If you can’t dazzle someone on the inside, you won’t likely dazzle them on the outside. Translation” employees need to dazzle one another if they in turn are to be able to dazzle a customer.
Organizations are a mosaic of customer - supplier relationships. Marketing serves Sales; Engineering serves Marketing and Marketing/Sales/Administrative functions serve the Customer Service Organization.
If external customers are to be dazzled, the delivery process needs to operate seamlessly and all delivery units in the organization need to dazzle each other; providing their piece of the service delivery chain and going the extra mile for their internal customer. If one link in the chain fails then the chain breaks and the external customer is ‘de-dazzled’. If on the other hand every link not only plays their expected part but also goes the extra mile for their internal customers, the service provided to the external customer will most likely blow them away.
How do you know what level of service quality is being provided?
I repeatedly advocate in BE DiFFERENT or be dead the constant measurement of the service quality provided to customers. The use of Customer Report Cards should be prevalent. Service stories should be told. And service heroes should be honored.
We need, however, to take this a step further and apply the Report Card process to measure internal service quality. Sales should rate the level of service Marketing provides them and Marketing should rate Engineering. Every internal customer-supplier relationship needs to fall scrutiny to dazzle measurement.
Its really not that difficult to do and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Pick six deliverables Sales expects from Marketing, for example, and have Sales rate on a 1-5 scale how effectively and consistently Marketing delivers each.
Have monthly joint review meetings to discuss the results and strike action plans to address any shortfalls.
Include internal service quality in the bonus compensation plan. I assure you that if part of Marketing’s bonus is based on the Report Card from Sales, the marketing folks will definitely pat attention to Sale’s needs, wants and desires.
The payoff: the service delivery process gets better and better over time; internal customers get dazzled.
And, the external customer both reaps the rewards of having a delightful service experience and returns the favor with continued loyalty.
The Serving Customers Model
Serving Customers NOT Providing Customer Service
The Four Steps to Dazzle Customers
Hire Human Being Lovers
Recover from Your Blunders
Kill Dumb Rules
Bend the Rules