Do You Have a ‘Customer Value’ Definition?
One of the most important strategic moves any organization can make, regardless if it’s a corporate giant or a solo consultancy, is to be able to harness the power of the new media tools to know and understand what clients are thinking...and wanting...and buying...and value. This new data should drive your definition of customer value and set the stage to communicate with clients.
In just the past five, years new communication tools have appeared and redefined how we gather, communicate and interact with customers. Social Web outlets allow both businesses and consumers alike access to deep information that used to take days if not weeks to gather. Staying in step with today’s fast market pace requires continuous attention. Here are a few guidelines that should help keep you on track.
1) Create true transparency between you and your customers. One quick way to accomplish this is to make it easy for customers to gain access to your executives, managers and employees. Expose your executives, directors and managers to the buying public.
I recently noted that Wal-Mart’s CEO often visits customers in their homes to gain a deeper sense of how they live and what they need. That’s an interesting concept to explore for businesses that feel they have grown out of touch with their customers and markets.
2) Analyze your customers’ buying habits. Are they buying from your competitors? On what type of services do they place the highest value? By placing your company’s messages online and in forums, you can gather this type of critical information that will help you better understand what value your company has to offer.
3) Link your target marketing back to your research cue. What I mean by this is, it’s great that you are marketing your products and services, but a critical question is, How much of that marketing data is coming back to your internal analysis cue? Have you setup a systematic way to gather pertinent data that can be compiled to determine new views and trends?
4) The CMO in your organization should be gathering this information and working with your CFO to determine best strategies. Sometimes the work of gathering and analysis does not fit into the every day schedules of busy executives. I understand this daily pressure all too well. If that’s the case, then outsource this part of the process to come up to speed on what your customers are saying about you, your competition and your marketplace, along with gathering the related market data you need to stay in touch with your customers.
Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.