How can I innovate more successfully?
According to Harvard Professor Dr Srini Pillay, "Humans have a natural aversion to innovation because it involves a healthy dose of uncertainty and risk."
Unfortunately, we try to reduce this risk by referencing past events to help us to predict the probability of our future success.
This is why the customer is the answer! It is only by getting closer to our customers and remaining curious, that we have any chance of increasing our success in satisfying them.
Therefore, it makes sense that we involve our customers in helping us innovate. Not as a judge of concepts; we know that consumers don't know what they want, at least not until they see it.
However, they do know what their pains are; what is wrong with a product or service and what they would rather have.
Another article in the HBR from McKinsey concludes it takes many skills and cultural changes for most organisations to become more innovative:
Where do I find out what issues my brand has?
The health of your brand and a good estimate of at least its short-term future comes from your work with customers. From brand image and equity to co-creation and observation, your answer is always the customer.
There is an additional bonus in following your brand image and that is that it acts as an early-warning signal. This is because it almost always starts to decline before your sales do!
We tend to continue with the same products and services until something important happens. Important in the eye of the customer that is.
It may be a new brand introduction, a price promotion, bad publicity or negative comments on social media. If these are important enough to customers then they may decide to change brands. And if this impacts a lot of customers, the sales decline can be fast and significant.
Better therefore to follow your image as well as comments on social media.
Social media platforms can provide a wealth of information about your brand. Pew Research ran a useful analysis in their Social Media Update 2016 of the demographic similarities and differences of channels in the US.
Another good source is from Smart Insights. Their "Global social media research summary 2017" which combines information from numerous sources and provides a global perspective.
Observation and listening in person can provide extra benefits that social media can't. The two information sources are thus complementary.
How can I grow my brand more profitably?
As you know there are basically only three ways to grow your business: get more customers to buy, to buy more, or to buy more frequently
You will see that all three ways involve the customer.
A better way to grow more profitably is to understand the value that you offer to your customers. Whether your price is too high or too low, you're leaving money on the table and could be more profitable.
Why is market research not enough to understand my customers?
There are so many reasons why running market research is insufficient to really know and understand your customers and your business. I don't know where to start.
Now don't get me wrong; I'm a big fan of market research. BUT done by experts.
The biggest issue is that understanding takes more information than any single market research project can provide. Yes, it may deliver certain answers to a finite number of questions, but to understand your customer you need to get intimate.
Why are customers the answer?
Here are a few statistics to convince you - and your bosses - of their importance:
• Customer centric organisations are 60% more profitable. (Source)
• The average revenue growth of Customer Experience Leaders is 14% points higher than that of the laggards. (Source)
• 64% of people think that customer experience is more important than price in their choice of brand. (Source)
I don't think anyone can