Last week I asked whether it is employees or customers who are more important to an organisation. If you missed it read “Customers Care About a Product’s Value, Not How the Company Treats Employees” now and catch up.
I knew it would be a provocative question but I still didn’t expect quite so many comments! So this week I decided to be just as provocative and talk about the issues that challenge many businesses. And where the answer to whatever problem they have is actually quite simple. For me, customers are the answer! They can either answer or help you overcome any challenge or issue you may have. Read on and then let me know if you agree.
How can I innovate more successfully?
- Audacity and grit: The determination to continue despite failure. And I would add the acceptance of failure and the license for employees to fail too.
- Strong leadership and true collaboration: An inspiring vision and the tenacity to make it happen – together.
- Give employees autonomy. We all need meaningful work. The chance of helping an organisation grow is what motivates top employees. That and the freedom to make decisions based on clear goals but without directive processes on how to meet these objectives.
- Build platforms, not products. This may be the hardest for many organisations to grasp. Giving your customers the opportunity to decide what and how they use what you produce, and how it should be changed is the route to success. Networks and co-creation are the future that is already here. And customers are the answer!
- Think like engineers and customers. Everyone in an organisation should be encouraged to look at problems from the customer’s perspective. It always amazes me how we seem to “take off our consumer hat” when we arrive at our place of work!
- Know that money only gets you so far. Innovation has a much shorter shelf-life than it used to. In fact, best-in-class organisations have a continuous process ingrained in their culture.
- Get acquisitions right. Many companies are looking for acquisitions for a way to quick-start their innovation. But it is difficult to get the timing right. The current value is good but potential growth is better.
Where do I find out what issues my brand has?
- Natural vocabulary used by your customers.
- Issues customers have with products and services, often in real time.
- Trending topics of interest; use trend alerts rather than the keyword tool from Google, which is slower to update.
- Regional or country differences from topic frequencies.
How can I grow my brand more profitably?
As you know there are basically only three ways to grow your business:
- Get more customers to buy.
- Get customers to buy more.
- Get customers to buy more frequently
Why is market research not enough to understand my customers?
- Projects are sample based.
- They are at best snapshots of current opinions and behaviours.
- The information can quickly become outdated.
- They ask questions.
- They have limited focus.
- People don’t tell the truth.
- People don’t know why they do what they do.
- Results are extrapolated.
- Results are open to interpretation.