Awkward Reality #465

Be clear on what you own and what your customers own.

465-Solutions

Customers own “outcome” space. You own “solution” space. Don’t let them into your space… unless you want to become a contract manufacturer. Instead, enter their space to understand desired outcomes better than competitors. This lets you deliver unique value in your solutions, which is handsomely rewarded though premium pricing. The best way to do this? Use qualitative and quantitative interviews.

More in the video, Reinventing VOC for B2B

Awkward Reality #464

Maximizing shareholder value is a lovely result… but a lousy goal.

464-Shareholder-Value

Tell me to increase shareholder value and I struggle to identify something I can do as an employee to raise earnings per share. Tell me to understand and increase customer value, and I can think of a dozen things to do, most of them actionable, measurable, and beneficial to our bottom line. Many of these I will find inspiring… as will others. Our research shows companies pursuing shareholder wealth grow slower than others.

More in Chapter 4 of Business Builders by Dan Adams

Awkward Reality #463

You’ll either get familiar with customer outcomes… or with mediocre growth.

463-Slow-Business-Growth

All growth-oriented innovation starts with customer outcomes. This is what customers want to have happen, with no understanding yet of how it will happen. Nothing a company does can achieve profitable, sustainable growth unless customer value is created… which comes only by improving these outcomes. Want to improve your new product success? Understand your customers’ outcomes in incredible detail.

More in 2-minute video at 22. Immerse your team in customer outcomes

Awkward Reality #462

Product development is a footrace… either a customer-reactive or a market-proactive footrace.

462-Business-Footrace

Picture this: A customer tells your sales rep what they want, who hands it off to your R&D. This clever customer tells your competitors the same thing. Terrific. If more than one supplier crosses the finish line, you can forget any price premium. Try this: You choose the race conditions by targeting an attractive market, and exploring its needs better than competitors. This is one reason why market-facing innovation is superior to customer reactive innovation.

More in 2-minute video at 16. Segment by markets for innovation

Awkward Reality #461

For successful innovation, you need to “get out” more.

461-Get-Out-More

It’s risky to incrementalize… but “great hope” projects often absorb huge resources and end with a whimper. What’s the answer? Get out more. Spend more time in customers’ worlds to reduce commercial risk. And reduce technical risk through open innovation, tapping into external technologies. You can’t thrive today without external insight. (Hmmm… “exsight”?)

More in 2-minute video at 42. Beware of New Product Incrementalism

Awkward Reality #460

Awkward Reality #459

Innovators should understand that uncertainty is different than risk.

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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