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9 posts from December 2011

Using Advisory Councils to build customer relationships

When a big-ticket business-to-business company launches a customer advisory council, the top salespeople always compete to get their favorite customer on the council, and also to make sure the council is lavishly entertained. Which is actually a mistake. Most companies have a small subset of customers who have the insight and energy to help guide the company. And those customers are most impressed when they see the company actually taking their advice. Of course, that's harder than throwing a party for them.

Loyalty 360: Achieving Inaugural Customer Advisory Council Success, 2011-Dec-20, by Karen Posey

I have observed several organizations spend valuable time, money and resources focused treating this like a trade show event.  They are more interested in the “glitz and glamour” then on making sure they have the foundation built for long term success.

Here's an idea: don't exploit your customers. #li

If business is war, the usual victim is the customer. Don't just plan to take their time and money. Think about what you can give them. The big idea won't fix your marketing, 2011-Dec-9, by Joe Pulizzi

If you have a customer communication challenge, is one big idea going to fix that? Not in the least. It won’t be fixed by a glam-packed 30 second spot, print campaign, or even the integrated strategy itself. Even a decade ago, we drew on research at Penton Media (a large B2B media company) that indicated it took at least seven messages from a company for a buyer to get to the decision stage.  I’m sure you could easily double that number today.

Here’s the solution for 99% of the businesses out there: It’s not one big idea but a series of small, ongoing conversations with your customers, distributed through the media your customers use. This requires intimate knowledge of your customer and a determination to leave your customer, on each occasion, in better shape than you originally found them.

The new cult of customer development #li

I was sad to miss the opportunity to hear Steve Blank present recently, but I was too busy working on "customer development" at MosquitoZone. I'm glad to see his ideas spreading throughout the technology community. Back when I worked with Compaq, 'product development' was where all the cools kids wanted to be. 'Customer development' is much more civilized. 

Coconut Headsets: Customer development and inbound marketing in practice, 2011, by Rob May

Customer development is about more than just asking people what they think about your product. It’s about understanding workflows and attitudes, needs and desires, and so much more. When we do customer development interviews, maybe 20% of the focus is on what we offer. The rest of the time is spent on understanding the target customer and their overall needs relative to this space.

Networking toward the top #li

Networking with your peers and networking up the food chain require different rules. 

Both Sides of the Table: Never ask a busy person to lunch, 2011-Oct-13, by Mark Suster

First date, speculative meeting: I always recommend you ask for coffee. And better if it’s at their offices if you’re asking for the meeting. “Hey, can I bring you a coffee and get 30 minutes of your time at your offices next Tues or Wed? I promise I won’t overrun my time.” And don’t. You become an easy second date to accept.

Please do your sharing on purpose. #li

While it's hard to find time to share things in a meaningful way, it's meaningless to do it otherwise. 

O'Reilly Radar: The End of Social, 2011-Dec-5, by Mike Loukides

Automated sharing is giving Facebook a treasure-trove of data, regardless of whether anyone cares. And Facebook will certainly find ways to monetize that data. But the bigger question is whether, by making sharing the default, we are looking at the end of social networks altogether. If a song is shared on Facebook and nobody listens to it, does it make a sound?

Joi Ito recommends "learn like a child" - Innovating by the Seat of Our Pants - #li

I don’t think education is about centralized instruction anymore; rather, it is the process establishing oneself as a node in a broad network of distributed creativity.

Neoteny, one of my favorite words, means the retention of childlike attributes in adulthood: idealism, experimentation and wonder. In this new world, not only must we behave more like children, we also must teach the next generation to retain those attributes that will allow them to be world-changing, innovative adults who will help us reinvent the future.


That's what I want to be... "a node in a broad network of distributed creativity."