Awkward Reality #459

Innovators should understand that uncertainty is different than risk.

459-Uncertainty-Ahead

If you’re asked to cross an unfamiliar chasm, would it be risky? Hard to say. Until you learn if you’ll face a bridge or a tightrope, you can’t assess risk (probability). You’re just uncertain. Many companies fear risk in an unfamiliar market, when they should map out a plan to reduce uncertainty. This is especially easy to do in B2B markets.

More in white paper, www.UnfamiliarMarkets.com (page 2)

Awkward Reality #458

Awkward Reality #457

Good probing questions make for good customer interviews.

Business colleagues having a conversation.

Good questions demonstrate you’re more interested in the other person than yourself. What do you call someone who listens to you and seems fascinated by your responses? You call them a brilliant conversationalist. Think of it this way: Your customers have a hard time getting their boss to listen to them. They go home and their kids don’t listen to them. Now a supplier (you) is leaning forward and asking, “Really? Could you tell me more about that?” If you were the customer, wouldn’t you like to talk to such a person?

More in white paper, Everyday VOC at www.EVOCpaper.com

Power your CX with Jobs-to-be-Done

Customer Experience, CX, and Jobs-to-be-Done

Jobs-to-be-Done brings CLARITY and PRECISION to every element of innovation, product development and marketing. And likewise, there’s no better structure to understand CX, Customer Experience, than Jobs-to-be-Done. The problem with “Customer Experience” (CX) programs is that we’re missing common definitions of what CX is. Some think about customer journey maps. Some think about NPS surveys. ... Read More

Awkward Reality #456

B2B companies should have two VOC objectives, while B2C companies have but one.

456-Engaging-Customers

B2C companies seek to understand customer needs. B2B companies should do this and engage customers, priming them to buy later. If you interview ten customers that represent 20% or 50% of the market segment’s buying power, wouldn’t it be an incredible waste if you failed to engage these companies… so they wanted to work with you?

More in 2-minute video at 29. Engage your B2B customers

Awkward Reality #455

Heaven save us from the “value proposition workshop.”

455-Value-Proposition-Wordsmithing

I am sometimes asked to do a workshop on developing value propositions. I say, “Not unless you invite your customers to it.” Seriously, suppliers already spend far too much time guessing what customers want. Why try to legitimize this innovation malpractice by creating and word-smithing value proposition statements internally? Better to conduct proper B2B interviews and then build a value calculator around a value proposition that customers truly care about.

More 2-minute video at 34. Use value calculators to establish pricing

Awkward Reality #454

Awkward Reality #453

Avoid the commodity death spiral at all costs.

453-Commodity-Death-Spiral

Imagine your business stopped innovating, your profits declined, and it is now budgeting time. To salvage next year, you’ll likely cut long-term costs, e.g. R&D or marketing, further reducing your ability to create high-value products. Next year, you’ll have even fewer options. This results in death or irrelevancy. If you’ve started this spiral, pull out quickly.

More in 2-minute video at 9. Avoid the commodity death spiral

Awkward Reality #452

Don’t like what’s coming out of your extruder? Better check what’s going into your feed hopper.

452-Extruder-Hopper

Most financial business reviews are like standing around the output die, exhorting the extruder to do better. But nobody’s checking the feed hopper. It looks like an intelligent meeting, discussing gross margins, price increases and growth rates. But these were predetermined years earlier, largely by your new products, what you put into the feed hopper.

More in 2-minute video at 10. Extend your time horizon