AIM Archives - Tag: B2B

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

You can only help B2B customers two ways: improving their processes or products.

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You can improve a process anywhere down the value chain, or you can improve the ultimate product. (Mid-stream products don’t count.) Equipment and service providers often have their biggest impact on processes. Component or material makers often have a larger impact on products. In either case, you need to pursue these improvements with passion.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 26).

All B2B markets are not created equal. How well do you understand yours?

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The term “B2B” is useful, because business customers can be so different than end-consumers. But it’s a blunt and imprecise term, and we can do better. Check out the “B2B Index” developed by The AIM Institute. The higher your market’s B2B Index, the greater you can engage customers… in both early-stage and late stage marketing. (This is a free service.)

Calculate your B2B Index at www.b2bmarketview.com

Closing the “Customer Insight Gap” gives B2B suppliers a competitive edge. Not so much for B2C.

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B2C employees (e.g. Apple engineers) are consumers themselves, so they have high typical customer insight… but low potential insight, since consumers can’t easily predict what will entertain them. The gap between typical and potential insight when serving knowledgeable B2B customers is much larger. This is your competitive edge if you close the gap before competitors.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 13).

Will B2B-optimized customer interviews impact your company’s organic growth?

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We asked this question of new-product teams that had conducted a total of 875 B2B-optimized customer interviews. 96% said these interviews would have a moderate, significant or great impact on their company’s organic growth rate. Only 4% said the impact would be “slight.” About the same amount also felt such interviews would positively impact their company’s culture.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 10).

In true customer-centered B2B innovation, you’re actually not developing your new product.

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You’re developing your customer’s new product. It’s like this: “Mr. Customer, we’ve assembled a team aimed at developing something you’ll love. As you can see, we even brought a lead R&D person with us to listen to you. So can you tell us everything you think we should know before we going into our labs? We want to get this right so the innovation makes you a hero at work.”

More in article, Is Your Innovation Supplier-Centric… or Customer-Centric?

Seek more from your B2B customer interviews.

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What else is there besides hearing customers’ needs? Impress them so they’ll want to do business with you. Incorporate your insights into a value calculator to optimize pricing. Use their precise interview language on your website to improve SEO. Uncover unspoken needs in a post-interview customer tour. Understand their next best alternative. Never stop learning.

More in article, You Already Answered 4 Questions, but… Correctly?

Is it “overkill” to apply advanced B2B customer insight? Was Japanese auto quality overkill?

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I worked in manufacturing in the 1970s, when it seemed like “overkill” to train operators in statistics for quality control. But this is expected today. I met Dr. Deming in the 1980’s and heard him say, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is optional.”  Compared to statistics, the science of B2B customer insight is quite simple. Will you be GM or Toyota in the innovation wave?

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 12).