AIM Archives - Year: 2015

If you’re a B2B company, stop using hand-me-down consumer goods voice-of-customer methods.

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Traditional VOC relies on questionnaires, tape recorders and post-interview analyses. That’s fine for B2C, but your B2B customers are insightful, rational, interested and fewer in number. They’re smart and will make you smarter if you engage them in a peer-to-peer fashion, take notes with a digital projector, skillfully probe, and let them lead you.

More in executive briefing, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth.

 

Voice of the Customer Data should be Unfiltered

Voice of the Customer data should be unfiltered. IMAGE: Man covering ears

We all hear what we want to hear. So we should require unfiltered, quantitative Voice of the Customer data.

After presenting conclusions from months of Voice of the Customer research, a marketer’s boss said, “No… I think customers want this instead.” A terrible reaction, but why did it happen? The marketer had no hard data—just quotes, impressions and anecdotes. You’ll be more believable, confident and correct—with unfiltered, quantitative VoC data.

More in article, 5 Growth Risks You Can Stop Taking (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Innovation requires attention to both Problem 1 and Problem 2.

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Problem 1—What’s the right question?—focuses on market needs. Problem 2—What’s the right answer?—is all about your solutions. Most companies put 90+% of project spending into Problem2, yet Problem 1 causes most new product failures. Hmmm… are you sensing a possible competitive advantage here? Will you explore it further? Will you seize it?

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 4).

Mediocre customer insights? You need a different packing list for your next interview.

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Cross “interview guide” off your packing list and add “digital projector.” The former indicates you—not the customer—will be guiding the interview. Not good. Project your notes and let the customer tell you their next problem or ideal state: You’ll learn what you didn’t know you didn’t know, they’ll correct your notes, and they’ll be much more engaged.

More in article, Why Advanced VOC Matters (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Great B2B innovation starts with customer engagement. Are you applying customer detachment?

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Many suppliers unwittingly detach from customers with a host of risky behaviors: 1) Asking customers to fill in boring questionnaires, 2) using interviews to “validate” their preconceived solutions, 3) failing to probe with insightful questions, and 4) neglecting to follow-up interviews with rich, ongoing engagement. Is it time to learn customer-engagement skills?

More in article, 5 Growth Risks You Can Stop Taking (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Is your operating plan promising faster growth than the markets you serve? Be nervous.

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Do you think your competitors also plan to exceed market growth? So, all the competing suppliers plan to grow faster than the market they serve, year… after year… after year. As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that been working for you?” Maybe it’s time for a different plan. A plan built on innovation, not hope… on well-grounded skills, not blue-sky spreadsheets.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 4).