Blog Category: Customer Insights (VOC)

Close the Customer Feedback Loop

Without VoC feedback, growth stalls.

Quality guru Edwards Deming taught us that “94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven.” With the right systems, a company will grow and thrive. And few are more important than the “feedback loop.” Unfortunately, this term has been used so broadly that the original and powerful meaning has ... Read More

Most B2B commercial risk is avoidable. Risk-takers should get their thrills elsewhere.

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When do most producers resolve commercial risk? After product launch, when they learn if their product is a success or failure. You can build a “certainty time machine” and remove most commercial risk in the front-end of innovation. But only if you’re serving B2B customers, who can explain nearly all that you need to know.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 5).

The front end of B2B innovation is all about one thing. Learning.

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More specifically, it’s learning what you didn’t know about the customer’s world in your target market. If you think it’s about “ideating” to come up with cool supplier ideas—which you’ll “validate” with customers—you’ve got it all wrong. Start with customers and their needs… not with you and your notions. Focus on your solutions after you understand what those who might buy them want.

Learn more about B2B innovation at theaiminstitute.com

The Cure for B2B Myopia: Jobs-to-Be-Done

Harvard professor Levitt began the JTBD discussion by teaching that the railroad industry should consider itself as the transportation industry..

Modern “Jobs-to-be-Done” thinking began with the most popular HBR article ever written: Ted Levitt’s “Marketing Myopia.” It begins this way: “Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are not riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others, which are thought of as seasoned growth ... Read More

It’s not so difficult to move from Innovation Maturity Level 1 directly to Level 3.

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In Level 1, you start with your ideas and launch products you think customers will want. In Level 2, you still start with your ideas, but “validate” them with customers. In Level 3, you start with customer needs, using divergent and convergent interviews. You uncover a full range of outcomes and only work on those customers care about.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).

It won’t be a great customer interview if you only talk to their summer intern.

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You want to get the right B2B interviewees in the room, but setting up great interviews can be tough. Interviewees may think… “I’m too busy… I don’t want to discuss confidential information… I can’t be bothered by a boring survey… I’ll bet they just want to sell me something.” Knowing how to overcome objections is as important a competitive edge as the interviewing skills themselves.

More in article, 9 Best Practices for Recruiting Customers

Stop stifling growth with second-order effects

What’s the next domino? Why business leaders should think about 2nd order effects

In a complex system—like your business—every action leads to a second-order effect (SOE). Some are unknowable. Others are easily predicted but routinely ignored by business leaders. We’ll explore growth-stunting SOE’s you should avoid… and a 5th order plan for your ultimate business success. A college student studies hard, gets good grades (second-order effect), and begins ... Read More