Customer Focused Innovation
Growth Principle #2: Customer Focus + Innovation
Good enterprises solve customer needs and wants. Great enterprises reshape customers’ perceptions of what’s possible.
Think of companies like Amazon.com, Apple Computers, Starbucks, Zappos.com (or, for the matter, the good ole U.S. of A., on a larger scale). They have mastered customer focus and put innovation at the heart of their business. How about you?
There’s a pretty clear continuum regarding businesses and their customers:
Getting to Phase 4 is a terrific sign (and we love to help new companies incorporate all these business growth elements faster and more effectively, of course!), but these days, even this is just “cost-of-entry”.
- Phase 1: Just get me more of them!
- Phase 2: Wait… let’s focus on winning those customers who spend the most, comes back most often, and/or refer us to their associates (they pay off best in both the short- and long-term financials).
- Phase 3: Let’s develop compelling messaging strategies to address the needs and wants of our different customer groups --that will help improve customer acquisition.
- Phase 4: Now let’s develop products and services based on what we know about their behaviors--that's really going to help improve customer retention.
If you want to set yourself apart and become an irresistible brand to your ideal customers you’ll need to discover Phase 5, and shift from “satisfier” to “innovator.” And doing THAT requires bringing some completely new behaviors and questions into your business strategy sessions. In general you’ll need to:
Visit the Vibrant Minds section of our website to be part of the ongoing discussion about customer-centric focus and breakthrough ideas. We'll look at how to create win-win acquisition and retention strategies that will help you and your customers.
- Expand and integrate your research approach so you acquire and share an in-depth understanding of your customer, how they connect to your business and other organizations they like and dislike, how you fit into their personal stories (and in what ways you don’t), and similar details.
- Integrate your brand internally by connecting your teams (marketing, research, product development, finance, sales) so they share knowledge and insight, not just data.
- Ask new questions and get new thinking, so your leaders are able to see the status quo in new ways.
- Make calculated risk taking a regular part of your business plan.
And give us a call—we can coach your team, or just you, into Phase 5-activities that will help create an irresistible connection between you and your customers.