Summary (customer focus)

It is worth noting that

"...some 30,000 new consumer products are launched every year. But more than 90 percent fail - and that's after marketing professionals have spent massive amounts of money trying to understand what the customers wanted..."

Clayton M Christensen et al, 2005

Often the organisations improve their products and services in ways that are irrelevant to their customers' needs. Customers just need to get things done; they use products and services to do jobs for them. In other words, the job and not the customer is the fundamental unit of analysis for marketing. New growth markets are created when innovative organisations design a product and position its product to perform a job which no other product caters adequately for. This product is tightly associated with the job that it is meant to do and becomes a "purpose brand", eg

"...The history of Federal Express illustrates how successful purpose brands are built.. the I-need-to-send-this-from-here-to-there-with-perfect-certainty-as-fast-as-possible job.......Focusing a product and its brand on a job creates differentiation..."

Clayton M Christensen et al, 2005

Remember: one of the cardinal rules of business

"...Never allow anyone to get between you and your customer or your suppliers. Those relationships take too long to develop and are too valuable to lose..."

Jack Welch as quoted by Jack Welch et al, 2001

In summary, customer focus and value means

"...i) customer value (product quality, service quality and price) is defined by the customer

ii) customer value is defined relative to rival offerings

iii) customer value will change over time

iv) customer value is created throughout the entire value chain

v) customer value is a co-operative effort involving everyone in the firm..."

Naumann as quoted by Craig S. Fleisher et al, 2003

When developing organisational strategies that are linked with customer focus, the following questions need to be answered

- what do customers value from your organisation?

- how do these strategies create value for customers?

- why do customers buy the products and services from your organisation rather than from a competitor?

- how does the knowledge that resides in the organisation add value for customers?

- how does the staff deliver value to the customers?

Having both staff and customers engaged gives stunning results

"...research of nearly 2000 business units has shown that if companies......had customer and staff both engaged, the advantage can be stunning. These companies outpaced their competitors by 26 percent in gross margin and 95 percent in sales growth..."

John Fleming and Jim Asplund's in their book (Human Sigma, 2007) as quoted by Fiona Smith (2007g)

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