Roy's Blog: October 2010

October 28, 2010

Today’s marketing doesn’t cut it!

This is my view of marketing today:

> BORING—little product and service innovation. Incremental features produced. Discounted bundling. Pricing deals. Zzzzzzzzzzzz
> LAZY —focus on pushing product capabilities not value creation. Mass market oriented. Few breakthrough distinguishing innovations. Ho Hum. Same old. Same old.
> UNDIFFERENTIATION —more intense competition but fewer degrees of separation among the players.
> PRODUCT EUPHORIA —product flogging continues to be mainstream. Not much energy is being spent on creating VALUE for people.
> PROLIFERATION OF SAMENESS —the more competition in the market, the less differentiation is occurring. The herd has no prime bull.
> BENCHMARKING TO COPY —best in class comparisons lead to catch-up; not distinctiveness and separation.

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> GET BETTER NOT DIFFERENT —competitive improvements are achieved but little WOW! power to separate.
> PRODUCT AUGMENTATION —the primary innovation approach is to incrementally enhance the product line based on what others have done and what the technology can do. Where the hell is the customer?
> ROUND-THE-CORNERS —product compromise to cater to the ‘average’ person. Bland. Serving the lowest common denominator. The marketers take ‘the edge’ off to try and satisfy everyone.
> MASS MARKET OBSESSION —flog stuff at as many average people as you can. Superficial unimaginative segmentation. All things to all people mentality. No remarkability for anyone.
> TECHNO MYOPIA —technical capabilities push marketing. Technical capabilities impress marketers. Where the hell is the customer?
> BLUR—numerous competitors. Sameness abounds. Few individual organizations get noticed. Customer choice is difficult. Can’t spot uniqueness.

This is a glass-is-half-full opportunity for those who want to break away from the pack.

The breakthrough prescription:

> Use BE DiFFERENT as the lens to view marketing possibilities.
> Create your ONLY position to express your distinctiveness.
> Create VALUE; don’t flog products.
> Be memorable to your customers by helping them engage in delightful experiences, the conduit to happiness. Happy people tend to be more loyal than the product based transients.
> Covet small customer groups of interested, turned-on, connected people who will “sneeze” you to their friends and colleagues.
> Think beyond the individual product or service to a holistic value proposition reflecting the broad lifestyle needs of your customer.
> Discover the deep hidden desires of people. Their secrets will provide the marketing opportunities to shine.
> Establish customer learning as a core competency. Marker Research is too restrictive. Your organization needs to function like a sponge in every nook and cranny to absorb every bit of customer intelligence possible. Separation from the herd demands that you know more about your customer than anyone else. You can’t create create distinctive value if you don’t.

Start the journey of change. Marketing is critical to an organization’s success. Step up.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 10.28.10 at 11:59 am by Roy Osing
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October 21, 2010

Happiness-Through-Experience Marketing: a BIG Idea

Happiness has significant implications for marketing to stand-out and be more successful.

Most businesses today flog their products and services at customers. They copy best in class companies which inevitable results in no differentiation from the herd.

Success and survival,on the other hand, demands that we create value, and that we need to think about EXPERIENCES as the way to do it.

An in-depth study at Cornell University found that experiences bring greater happiness and satisfaction than buying and owning possessions.

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Deepak Chopra agrees. At a recent talk in Vancouver he argued that experiences deliver happiness in three ways:

1. Planning an experience creates anticipation and excitement.
2. Participating in the experience creates in-the-moment euphoria.
3. Remembering the experience creates lasting memories.

Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos in his first book Delivering Happiness, discusses “how using happiness as a framework can produce profits, passion and purpose in both business and life”. Click here for my review of Tony’s book.

And Happiness has even taken on a political dimension. In fact ...“one nation, tiny Bhutan, has actually made “Gross National Happiness” the central aim of its domestic policy. How might happiness research affect government policy in the United States—and beyond? In The Politics of Happiness, former Harvard president Derek Bok examines how governments could use happiness research in a variety of policy areas to increase well-being and improve the quality of life for all their citizens.”

If countries are trying to understand how happiness can improve the quality of life for its citizens, shouldn’t businesses be trying to do the same thing for its customers?

Makes sense to me. If you are happy with your supplier you are very likely to remain a loyal customer with them at least until they do something to make you unhappy.

Moreover you are very likely to be, what Seth Godin calls in his book The Purple Cow, a “sneezer” and advocate the organization to all of your friends - the viral affect.

The bottom line is that happiness has the potential to be an awesome business builder.

Then why do most businesses ignore Happiness through Experiences as the driver of their marketing efforts? Why do they instead insist at pushing products at us?

Answer:
> They don’t understand the power of the Happiness-through-Experience strategy over a product-push one.
> They’ve always been product focused and it has worked.
> Its easier to continue doing what you’re doing. To change is tough. It requires too much work.
> There is too much effort required to engage niche fan clusters and find out what experiences, specifically, would make them Happy.

The truth of the matter is that if a business wants to distinguish itself from the competitive herd they had better get on the Happiness-through-Experiences train regardless of the reason they’re not presently there.


Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 10.21.10 at 12:00 pm by Roy Osing
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October 18, 2010

The purpose of a business is NOT to create a customer

Who In their right mind would even think about commenting on a Drucker quote other than verbally bowing to its pristine elegance?

But we need to have a conversation around the notion that creating a customer is the fundamental goal of a business. In today’s world with crazy competition, empowered customers and fleeting customer loyalty we need to extend our thinking.

We need to get more focused. “Go get a customer” without some clarity and qualification could be problematic.

“Not all customers are created equal”.

“There’s no such thing as a bad customer, but some are better than others”.

This type of thinking should play a critical role in defining business purpose.

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A business needs to create the RIGHT customer. It needs to gather as many RIGHT customers as it can.

The RIGHT customer is one:

> that has the growth potential to meet the organization’s financial goals. No use targeting a customer that doesn’t have the revenue potential you need to grow successfully.
> who is a fanatic about what you do or what you produce. They care about your products or services.
> is a part of an extended group of fans who communicate regularly with one another and with others to spread your reach.

Organizations need to get more proficient at choosing WHO they want to SERVE.

Its not about the quantity of “casual consuming followers” you get; it about attracting the quality ones who are “relentless-re-purchasers” and who virally spread your word while they benefit from the VALUE you deliver.

Take the emphasis OFF the customer and put it ON what consumption value is derived by someone.

The purpose of a business is to create unique experiences for the customers they choose to serve. If one-and-ONLY relevant and compelling experiences are created, CUSTOMERS WILL COME.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 10.18.10 at 12:00 pm by Roy Osing
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October 14, 2010

How good is your organization at taking a punch?

The ability to take a punch is one of the most critical strategic issues facing organizations these days and yet few view it as an opportunity to trill their fans.

It’s not particularly pleasant when you are on the receiving end of your customer’s wrath. It can be terrifying, intimidating and painful. Someone else is in control and your first impulse is to try and deal with the situation and escape FAST. Get it over with and escape the pain seems to be the favored response by companies these days.

The “get it over with” phase usually involves quoting company policy as the explanation for the customer’s annoyance that they should accept. This NEVER works as it was probably a company policy that made the customer go postal in the first place.

It’s not the frontline employee’s fault that customer complaint moments go very wrong. Organizations generally don’t understand the latent power they have if they respond the right way, and even if they did they rarely go as far as defining the specific way the situation should be dealt with i.e. the behaviors required to successfully handle the situation.

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Enlightened organizations strive to serve their customers in a remarkable way and make themselves indispensable get it.

They are able to turn the other cheek and realize the benefit of being bullied, harassed and beaten up by their most precious assets.

Take-a-punch opportunities:

- realize its nothing personal. Your fan is pissed at your organization and the way “they” have treated them. If you can’t get to an objective plane you simply won’t be able to take care of the situation. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and look at the circumstances from their point of view. Wouldn’t YOU be upset if you were treated the same way?

- treat this experience as a source of learning. You are getting the real deal. The customer is telling you REALLY how they feel. You are getting their Secrets in no uncertain terms. Listen and Learn how to change policy and procedures so they serve what the customer wants instead of infuriating them.

- look at this as a gift of service recovery that will actually build customer loyalty. Create a dazzling moment for them by not only solving their problem but also adding the surprise factor - something thoughtful they did not expect.

- as long as they are screaming at you they haven’t left. If your organization wasn’t serving them in any meaningful way, they wouldn’t be chastising you. They would be gone. And they would be telling everyone they connect with how rotten you are.

Bottom line… develop your own take-a-punch strategy for serving customers if you want to enjoy the financial fruits of loyal and caring fans.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like…
Caring is strategic
The customer Charter of Rights
DEAD or ALIVE: How do you rate your customer service?

  • Posted 10.14.10 at 11:00 am by Roy Osing
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