I’m a Great Marketer


Share on LinkedIn

Recently, my good friend Wim Rampen wrote a piece about the 7 Jobs a marketer needs to get done in the age of service, and it stimulated quite a discussion. Admittedly, this is not the stuff the average marketer is thinking about, or doing. In fact, the average marketer today is chasing the shiny new toy of social media, hoping it’s really as easy as putting up a Facebook Fan Page, and funneling inbound leads from your website. Executing that is very simple, after all! It’s amazing that as the conversation around marketing’s role in the identification and facilitation of value-in-use marches on, the vast majority of marketers are still focused acutely on the old thinking of value-exchange at the point of sale. I’ll admit, just a few years ago I was arguing against this thing I had never heard of before. Value-in-use and service dominant logic? What the hell is that? Academic gobbledygook!

Well, I was wrong. But, I stayed engaged so I could be drug along kicking and screaming down the path of Apple Fanboy’s and designers. If you know me, you know that I don’t attend those cocktail parties and I don’t join these myopic echo chambers without a fight, either. It’s been rough. I’m still battling my old school demons. Old school marketers used to do much harder work at understanding their customers than they seem to do today. Sure, a different kind of approach, but you don’t send 200 million catalogs out to everyone in the country if you don’t have some degree of certainty that your going to get a return, and that was a real obstacle in the black & white TV days. Now that that obstacle is behind us, there is no holding us back is there? “Obviously not”…he said as he sifted though his spam folder and twitter lists full of goods-dominant crap. Pragmatically, I realized this new stuff was pretty pragmatic – given the appropriate perspective, that is!

So, back to Wim’s 7 Jobs. You need to read them. You need to read Graham Hill’s responses as well. I’m going to do a bit of summarizing here and add my 2 cents where I can. I know 2 cents ain’t what it used to be, but we’re in the age of social media, so just scale it for me!

Understand Customers Jobs & Outcomes

As Wim describes this is critical in the value identification process. As a little background, this has been adapted from Jobs-to-be-Done thinking, which has spawned from work in the area of disruptive innovation by researchers like Clay Christensen of Harvard. The Outcome side of the equation refers to the desired outcomes customers use at each step in the job they are trying to get done, to determine how successfully it…got done. This has been systematized by Strategyn, an innovation consulting firm. In fact, they succeeded in removing the ambiguity with regard to the articulation of customer needs (desired outcomes), and turned them in to metrics. These metrics can then be used in conjunction with statistical methods to identify unique market segments. Why should innovation frameworks be used in marketing? Because the whole company should be on the same page with regard to customer needs: R&D, production/fulfillment, sales, service and especially marketing! The message is in the needs, and the needs may vary along the various touch points of the customer journey. And one more thing, there are touch points both before and after you interact with your customers directly. Think about it.

Graham Hill responds that the current feasibility of this job is 75%. While there are tools out their for mapping jobs & outcomes, they still need better integration into the contextual components of those jobs. He also mentions that capturing outcomes can be challenging unless you are focusing on a small part of the customer journey. I’ve learned this the hard way and I’m personally taking this to heart. Sometimes it takes me a few times before I hear what someone is saying.

Build Relationships in Communities of Individuals with Similar Jobs and Desired Outcomes

The funny thing about identifying new veins of value is that they don’t always fall into the convenient buckets companies have relied on for years. Advertising venues are often only available in these buckets (e.g.demographics), so to make things easy on ourselves, we fall into line and proceed to create zero value. The same thing holds true for communities. You will probably find that segmenting your market based on needs will cross verticals and other common attributes currently (and conveniently) used. Having just gotten a completely unique perspective of value and a new way to express your market, it’s unlikely you’ll find a community built around jobs or outcomes. Based on true needs, your customer groups may look like a basket of various fruits and vegetables if viewed through the average marketer’s eyes.

As Graham points out, we will likely have to build these communities ourselves and since most of us have lives, we join very few communities. Feasibility is 50% as a result. While it would great to have this, we need may need community 3.0 before we have a shot at it.

Support Customers in Creating Value

The way many traditional companies are structured (still) they compensate people in the search for liquidity as a metric. For instance, quarterly sales quotas. What happens as the end of the quarter approaches? The sales (and marketing people) get frantic and begin a massive outbound goods dominant attack, only offering a discount as value. Now, if you are in the business of creating shareholder value for your company, do you think you are attracting the most valuable customers this way? Instead, look to the previous topics to understand where value is created; either by your company or by your customer. That’s right, value-in-use, or the value created during the consumption chain. If you can find ways to support your customer in ways that help them get more value out of the experience of product (or service) use, that will surely translate back as value to your company. Start thinking beyond the next quarter and focus on value.

Graham correctly points out that while this is easy to implement, marketing is only responsible for a small portion of this support process. Therefore, as a marketing job, its feasibility is on 25%. This is probably what has spawned the age of the Chief Customer Officer, who would have a high level view of this mechanism across functional silos of a business.

Design Interactions For Engagement

This word engagement bugs me to death. The average marketer rushes to the simple definition of engagement; which is: “It’s when you engage”. As a result, they are all over the place trying to engage and when the dollars don’t roll in, they either engage hard, or they pivot (hoping no one notices). I don’t view engagement as something you manage so much as it being the accumulation of numerous desired outcomes over the customer journey, what you learn from it and how you adapt over time. That really gets handled by some of the other jobs, which can be managed. Or you could just call that shareholder value…I’ll bet.

Graham has an interesting perspective in that the vast majority of companies over promise (value) and under-deliver, so what is the likelihood that someone receiving that kind of value is going to engage with you. Feasibility is 50%.

Engaging Employees and Partners

As Wim points out, everyone needs to be on the same page, understand what customers value in the same way, and ideally have similar motivations to create and support the value creation process. In addition, you also want to ensure that your partners are aligned in the same way; you need to understand what they value and in turn they will support what you and your customers value. This begins to get into new ways to understand networks based on value creation instead of simple process.

Graham points out that while he gives this 100% feasibility that the biggest challenge is bridging the gap between what management says they want, and the service standards they enforce on staff.

Extract Insights to Drive Innovation

The most profitable way to grow is organically. The only way to do that is to continually innovate (products, service delivery, business models). The only way you can do that is to understand customer needs. So, if so few companies can innovate in a reproducible way, why are you doing what they do? I rest my case. Frameworks like Outcome Driven Innovation have proven themselves to be effective at identifying targets of opportunity which can be used as focal point for efficiently brainstorming solutions that have a high likelihood of achieving the desired results. Marketing should be responsible for this to a large degree since it’s essentially market research. Unfortunately, too many of them have chugged the VOC and Net Promoter Score cool-aid and refuse to look at anything that looks hard.

Graham concludes that feasibility is 75% and if the proper focus and effort is applied in this area. I think we know most will continue to hire the latest inbound lead tracking app.

Redesign Metrics to Capture Engagement Value

If you’re ultimate goal is to receive value (of course) and you believe that you receive value by helping your customers create value for themselves, you need to be able to measure this. It has absolutely no correlation to your periodic sales figures. Customer Lifetime Value is probably something many of you have heard of; but do you know how to calculate it? And is it even enough? What about Customer Referral Value Customer Network Value? How do you account for the knowledge you gain from your participation in the customer journey based on how you use it to design new innovations? Once you can get aligned to this thinking, you can do many interesting things, like compensate employees based on value creation along a customer segment. What a way to get a team working together.

Graham gives this a feasibility of 50% since he estimates only 20% of companies can’t even calculate the value of customer transactions. Most companies have a long way to go before achieving this dream.

In closing, I’ll point to Graham’s follow-up comment where he prioritizes the Jobs using Orthogonal Contrasts. I know, WAY too much information but highly valuable. I found it interesting so you might too.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here