I predict the next revolution in business productivity will bein the HR department. Very few coompanies that I’ve touched over the years (and it’s a lot) do an even resonable job of understanding what they really want or need in a hire and then finding it. “who you know” is still, by far the most high-impact aspect of hiring. That is, very often, a bad thing.
Sometimes you are involved with a product so engaging to so many people that customers find you and become dedicated to you on their own. From my experience, this requires a magic mixture of product design brand identity that satisfies all aspects of the customers’ pleasure centers (solves a problem well, I identify with the product/company, this is part of who I am, etc).
For the rest of the time, it is important to develop and maintain some discipline around customer retention. Even if you deliver for a customer, you may never see them again unless you find a way to connect with their heart or wallet.
Colloquy is a media outlet devoted to the practices and services that help maintain customer loyalty. The business model behind such a publication is all about serving the top end of the market, but many of the ideas presented here can be applied on a smaller scale and with low cost.
For most products, from toothpaste to luxury hotels, need some help in differentiating or at making sure they are present in the customers’ minds when they are ready to make a purchase decision.
Disclosure: BizDevGuy, Jim Haviland has been a speaker at a number of Colloquy sponored events.
You can access great data and profiles on the Colloquy site, but, of couse, you need a free log-in to get to any of it. They are very good at the customer retention disciplines.
We spend a lot of time learning new technologies and then the application of those technologies followed by the business model and then the business process and then the Six Sigma best-practice high-performance kata of the whole thing. Too often in direct marketing you don’t have time to institutionalize a process before the context of technology or regulation eliminates it from the menu.
I appreciate any resource I can turn to and glean something new quickly. Direct Magazine, a Penton publication, does an excellent job of providing bite-sized insights either at the site or delivered to your in box.
I love when I find a resource that distills a common strategic question down to a few simple calculations. This article on doesn’t quite get to the paint-by-numbers status, but it does lay out a clear set of topics to consider when thinking about your product launch.
Vaporware or surprise attack?
So often your fortunes are dominated by things you cannot control, having a checklist of things that you can clearly make some predictions around should help minimize risks and allow you to make a decision with confidence.
“It’s not a clear-cut situation,” says Wharton marketing professor Jehoshua Eliashberg. “In pre-announcing, a company lets a competitor know what it’s up to. But what matters more is a company’s position in an industry. If a company is a dominant monopolist, it has reason to pre-announce because it doesn’t fear a competitive reaction. If the company is smaller, the negatives of announcing a product early outnumber the positives.”