Monday, October 31, 2016

Know Your Customers” “Jobs to be Done:
Clayton M. Christensen
Taddy Hall
Karen Dillon
David S. Duncan

We discussed the useful concept in class. The article really brings these concepts alive

…After decades of watching great companies fail, we’ve come to the conclusion that the focus on correlation—and on knowing more and more about customers—is taking firms in the wrong direction. What they really need to home in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance—what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done….. 
….When we buy a product, we essentially “hire” it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we “fire” it and look for an alternative. (We’re using the word “product” here as shorthand for any solution that companies can sell; of course, the full set of “candidates” we consider hiring can often go well beyond just offerings from companies.)... 
...Jobs analysis doesn’t require you to throw out the data and research you’ve already gathered. Personas, ethnographic research, focus groups, customer panels, competitive analysis, and so on can all be perfectly valid starting points for surfacing important insights. Here are five questions for uncovering jobs your customers need help with. 
Do you have a job that needs to be done?In a data-obsessed world, it might be a surprise that some of the greatest innovators have succeeded with little more than intuition to guide their efforts. Pleasant Rowland saw the opportunity for American Girl dolls when searching for gifts that would help her connect with her nieces.  
Where do you see non-consumption?You can learn as much from people who aren’t hiring any product as from those who are. Non-consumption is often where the most fertile opportunities lie, as SNHU found when it reached out to older learners. 
What work-arounds have people invented?If you see consumers struggling to get something done by cobbling together work-arounds, pay attention. They’re probably deeply unhappy with the available solutions—and a promising base of new business. When Intuit noticed that small-business owners were using Quicken―designed for individuals—to do accounting for their firms, it realized small firms represented a major new market. 
What tasks do people want to avoid?There are plenty of jobs in daily life that we’d just as soon get out of. We call these “negative jobs.” Harvard Business School alum Rick Krieger and some partners decided to start QuickMedx, the forerunner of CVS MinuteClinics, after Krieger spent a frustrating few hours waiting in an emergency room for his son to get a strep-throat test. MinuteClinics can see walk-in patients instantly, and their nurse practitioners can prescribe medicines for routine ailments, such as conjunctivitis, ear infections, and strep throat. 
What surprising uses have customers invented for existing products?Recently, some of the biggest successes in consumer packaged goods have resulted from a job identified through unusual uses of established products. For example, NyQuil had been sold for decades as a cold remedy, but it turned out that some consumers were knocking back a couple of spoonfuls to help them sleep, even when they weren’t sick. Hence, ZzzQuil was born, offering consumers the good night’s rest they wanted without the other active ingredients they didn’t need.

Monday, October 24, 2016

How growth champions create new value

Interesting take on what we covered in our Org Growth Class. Strongly recommend you read the full article

Three horizons of action for creating new growth
NOW initiatives find growth through new niches within categories, segments, and markets. NEW actions focus on developing new products and services. NEXT initiatives capture organic growth from new business models 
NOW initiatives focus on new ways to generate growth quickly. This could mean selling an existing product in a new channel or market, launching a product variant, rejuvenating a core product by infusing it with new meaning, or opening up micromarkets. NOW initiatives have a high likelihood of impact, often require relatively little effort, and take a rather short time to implement. They represent a company’s “bread-and-butter business,” as one CMO described it 
NEW initiatives take something that works and use it as the basis for innovation, i.e. launch a new product, expand a brand into a new category, or address new segments. Because NEW initiatives venture beyond existing business, analyzing the market as it is won’t be enough. Identifying unmet needs and spotting NEW opportunities require being close to consumers and customers 
NEXT initiatives try out new business models, explore disruptive ideas, and create things from scratch. Often they take a lot of time and energy and have highly uncertain outcomes. But if they work, they can have huge impact. Disruptors, such as Uber, AirBnB, and Netflix, are leading the way in this respect.

We also found that “growth champions” tend to exhibit the following characteristics: 
They take a structured approach to creating and managing their portfolio of growth initiatives. “You have to be systematic when going after revenue growth.
They use advanced analytics and agile insights techniques to spot opportunities. They don’t expect to come up with market-beating ideas by looking at the same data in the same way as their competitors do. They unleash the power of advanced analytics on highly granular consumer/customer data to develop distinctive insights, and they mobilize their organizations to act on them quickly
They mobilize for quick results, beating competitors to the market.A common complaint is that many marketing organizations are too slow, taking up to two years to bring a simple consumer product to market or a year to launch a new campaign. In today’s marketplace, the emphasis is on speed-to-market and on rapid test, learn, and optimize. Many of our growth champions have adapted tech-company techniques, e.g., hackathons and rapid prototyping, to learn fast and drive results quickly.

The four pillars of distinctive customer journeys
By Joao Dias, Oana Ionutiu, Xavier Lhuer, and Jasper van Ouwerkerk

New research reveals that focus, simplicity, “digital first,” and perceptions matter most.

Interesting insights into the customer's buying decision  journey:
In recent years, customer experience (CX) has emerged as a major differentiator for large companies… 
…. In this dynamic environment, institutions face a stiff challenge to differentiate their offerings while reducing cost and complexity for customers—and to do it at a profit.Overcoming these challenges is critical not just to meet rising customer expectations and to compete with new digital attackers but also to generate significant business impact. Our research indicates that for every 10-percentage-point uptick in customer satisfaction, a company can increase revenues 2 percent to 3 percent… 
…At a time when the customer-satisfaction scores of top-quartile institutions can exceed those of bottom-quartile players by as much as 30 to 40 percentage points, the financial payoff from best-in-class CX can be significant indeed… 
.. Analyzing and ranking correlations between customer satisfaction and operational factors (such as the reasons a customer chooses one company over others, cycle times, features offered, and the use of digital channels) in our survey, four pillars of great customer-experience performance stood out: 
  • Focus on the few factors that move the needle for customers—transparency and simplicity are most important:  
  • Ease and simplicity: The payoff trade-off --Today’s harried customer values convenience. Cutting down the time it takes to complete an individual journey, such as applying for an account, by making it easier and simpler has a deep effect on customer satisfaction. 
  • Master the digital-first journey, but don’t stop there. We analyzed different types of customer journeys: those that are completely online, those that start online and finish in a branch, those that start in a branch and finish online, and those that take place fully in a branch. We found that digital-first journeys led to higher customer-satisfaction scores (Exhibit 2) and generated 10 to 20 percentage points more satisfaction than traditional journeys. 
  • Brands and perceptions matter It may not be surprising that companies whose advertising inspires their customers with the power and appeal of their brand or generates word of mouth deliver 30 to 40 percentage points more satisfaction than their peers. But how advertising or word of mouth affects perceptions is crucial

Monday, October 03, 2016

Let’s talk about sales growth

High-growth companies have differentiated themselves in sales through analytics, big data, and a focus on the changing technology landscape

As an overview of the article that is in the form of an interview of the author of Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World’s Sales Leaders(John Wiley & Sons, May 2016)

Question in the interview:
Great, so growth is certainly a topic that’s getting a lot of attention, particularly with the economic climate being so challenging. But, Mitra, there are companies that are still able to grow, even within the constrained environment we are in today. What are they doing that the others aren’t?
  • First, they find growth before their competitors do. So they invest in identifying growth opportunities, whether through understanding trends or drilling into big data or finding pockets of growth in their existing markets. 
  • Second, they sell the way their customers want to buy. They use multiple channels to reach and serve customers of all different sizes and different markets. And they optimize and organize across direct, indirect, and digital channels very efficiently. 
  • Third, they soup up their sales engines, and especially, they invest in sales operations, pre-sales, and the alignment between marketing and technology to fire up and build their engines for growth.
  • Fourth, they focus on their people. This one goes without saying, that there’s a need to spend time training, coaching, and mentoring the front-line sales teams and to balance that between both the drive for near-term growth and building longer-term capabilities for the field.
  • And finally, they lead from the top: they invest in and gain commitment from the organization and are able to build the vision for their change and their plans from the executives and from the top down—but they also invest in change management and implement change from the ground up