It’s common to invest about half of a company’s resources on unsuccessful new products. It’s not that their people can’t find the right answers. They’re just being asked the wrong questions. Questions that are unimaginative, and—if solved—create too little value. Questions that are too obvious. Proper B2B interviews produce much better questions.
More in article, Are You Squandering R&D Resources?
In a now-obscure 1972 HBR article, Richard Vancil complained long-term product development expenses were buried within annual operating plans… allowing short-sighted managers to raid them. Shocking, I know. Divide your budget into short-term and long-term benefit buckets. And make sure someone is guarding the long-term bucket.
More in article, The Commodity Death Spiral (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).
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 article, The Missing Objective in B2B VOC (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).
When you turn up your thermostat, the temperature rises to the set point and quickly shuts off your furnace. Imagine if you had an 8-hour “feedback loop” before your furnace got the message. Even if you try new VOC approaches in the front end—but all your metrics occur after product launch—your feedback loop takes years. That’s no way to improve, is it?
More in article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).
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?
More in article, The Science behind Great Value Propositions (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).
Here’s the “B2B Advantage”: Your customers can offer more insight than end-consumers due to their knowledge, interest, objectivity and foresight. But if your company uses hand-me-down consumer goods voice-of-customer methods, you’ve ignored your own advantage. Your competitors may not.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 7).
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 article, The Commodity Death Spiral (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).