“Ask not what products or services you can make for your customers, but what else can you do for your customers,” this year when shaping your customer relationship management strategy. Perhaps, it’s the History Channel and Harvard Business Review articles that I’ve read over the weekend, but thought reminds me of a poignant time in history, in which, people need to come together and work towards creating long-term value. That can also transcend within the field of marketing management. That being said, the remainder of this post will discuss Dr. Niraj Dawar’s TILT philosophy to creating a customer driven competitive advantage.
Shifting Strategic Perspective. Dawar (2013) discussed that most organizations focus organizational strategy around upstream activities dealing with product or production aspects of their organization, and miss the opportunity of strategizing using downstream activities that are engaging and meaningful to the customer. Not to say that one is more important than the other, but rather neglecting one more than the other is not an effective approach to building long-term customer value that aligns with organizational growth. The idea is that instead of focusing most of strategic perspective to sourcing, production, logistics, and innovation, to shift the perspective with a combined approach that also harnesses shaping customer perception, innovation, and building accumulative advantage (Dawar, 2013).
Shaping Customer Perception. Here, the approach is focus on building a strategy that is consistent with shaping the customer perception your organization desires. Perception can make or break organizational strategy, let alone profoundly impact organizational sustainability. So, the key is to identify what makes your unique, competitive, and desired by the customers in comparison to competing firms in your market. What is it about the way you do business, provide service, or make life easier for the customer? How does those actions translate into factors that impact purchase criteria? Does it? Furthermore, does your firm build trust? How do you know? Likewise, how can you not know this?
Innovation. The concept of innovation within the TILT, the customer is the center of gravity framework, the idea is to be proactively engaged to provide meaningful innovation that yields greater enjoyment of consumption from customers. Whether you’re a product or service provider, the key is to identify areas in which your product or service could be consumed, used, or needed to fit different circumstances your customers experience. Rather than changing the product or service altogether, what about offering a variety of options that correspond to the specific circumstances or situation for the customer? To be creatively tackling how or when your product could be used to make life easier for your customer? Likewise, to do so in a manner that doesn’t break the bank or nickle and dime the customer. This kind of innovation, illustrates your commitment to to your customers, by making your product or service versatile and aligning with change needs and circumstances. Furthermore, this also provides organizations and management with ability to truly understand essential criteria that customers want and need, and tailoring their product or service to those segments via customized target and positioning strategies that yield to delightful competitive advantages. Which in turn aids to shaping customer perception and building trust – ah, yet another competitive advantage.
Building Accumulative Advantage. This happens as a result of creating, identifying, analyzing, and putting to good use customer data. Your customer is your source of income and sustainability. Why not focus on what you can do to learn about what makes the customer tick, buy your product, stay, leave, and so on? This information is vital to strategy. You may already be collecting data, but are you using it, or better yet, are you collecting the right kind of data that can help you to become more innovative, shape your perception, and really distributes the advantages of doing business with you? This is where it may be helpful to create internal and external data mining campaigns that can help you, help your customer. Which in turn, will help you even more! This in turn aids in establishing and maintaining a network effect that strengthens the perception as to why your target market is willing and wants to do business with you.
In essence, the center of gravity within an organization is the customer. Without the customer, there is no organization. No product or service to be shared. There is nothing. A system, products and services are essential, however, the customer pays for those things. So, without customers, it wouldn’t matter if you had the best product or system, you would have no sales to support the cost of such systems (that is of course, unless you have unlimited resources at your disposal). So, “ask not what products or services should I provide to my customer, but rather, what else can I do for my customers,”? Doing so, provides you with the opportunity to shift strategy around your organizational center of gravity.
Reference: Dawar, N. (2013). When Marketing is Strategy. Harvard Business Review. December 2013.
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by Katie Doseck, Ph.D.
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC