How to connect with your customer: customer strategy & disruption
Customer strategy is the process of increasing revenue by better understanding, anticipating and responding to customers’ changing needs. Implementing customer strategy almost always has a disruptive effect on the business, and – when successful – on entire markets.
A lot of companies want to be like Airbnb: a disruptive force born from a deceptively simple idea that upends the market and lays waste to competition. However, despite rising innovation spending, only a handful ever reach that status. The reason? Their (lack of) customer strategy.
Too often, companies are completely preoccupied with either their products or their internal processes. Instead, they should focus on what Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen calls ‘the job to be done’: what are your customers hoping to accomplish when they appeal to your services or products?
Company looking for a job
For example: Apple isn’t really in the business of selling laptops or smartphones, but of making connections, sharing content or apps and unlocking your creative or professional potential. And the most successful breweries aren’t just selling drinks either: they’re selling great experiences.
The drinks just function as a catalyst for social experiences in which people come together in connect. In this way, the ‘jobs to be done’ theory provides a powerful tool that companies can use to stave off competition. Identifying this ‘job to be done’ is no easy feat.
In the age of big data, many marketers and product developers tend to focus only on customer profiles and correlations, and not enough on what customers are trying to achieve in a specific circumstance.
The problem is not that there isn’t enough data – far from it – but that it doesn’t have the required quality level. This means companies need to talk to customers and non-customers alike to identify specific needs in their markets that have not been met to this day.
Transcending the daily treadmill
But let’s face it: many companies don’t have the time or means to define a clear customer strategy. They spend too much time updating their e-shops, developing and manufacturing new products and getting them to the customer as efficiently as possible to really think about the ‘need’ that is the genesis of it all.
How can businesses transcend this treadmill? The most important prerequisite is ‘critical awareness’: a group of influential people in the organization must be willing to see things from customers’ perspectives and beyond. What do clients and potential clients really want? The key is to develop an ‘ultimate empathy’ with the customer that will guide all business processes and decisions.
A powerful feedback loop
So, did companies like Airbnb or Uber perform extensive market research and hone a pitch-perfect plan before they hit the road? Of course not! The key to a successful customer strategy is constant feedback and adaptive positioning. Once the idea is clear, start experimenting. Take note of the effects your strategy has on real-life situations. Identify what works, and what doesn’t. In short: use data to validate or reject your hypothesis.
This ‘double-loop’ learning approach is how data-driven organizations work: they collect data and keep refeeding it into the customer strategy to adjust their visions, values and assumptions.
Your product or service isn’t necessarily what your customers need right now
What delaware can do for you
With more than 15 years of experience in business, marketing, and the technologies delaware is uniquely positioned to help you develop and set up a customer strategy that really connects with your customer. We help you define a disruptive vision that transcends your daily business, and offer proven analytical methods to test it.
How we can help you?
- Create awareness through workshops, business games and quick scans
- Define improvement programs and offer vision, strategy and roadmaps
- Support deep learning and advanced customer analytics
- Execute transformation at your company
- Build your business process architecture, monitor it, and train your people
Why choose delaware?
- We offer a structured approach
- We offer end-to-end solutions
- We collaborate closely with your team
- We have 15 years of experience in business transformation in numerous industries