Roadmap for Customer Validation


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I have always been a big fan of The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market by Treacy and Wiersma. I have seen little in other writings the past 15 years to displace their value discipline model which basically states that you must decide on which one of their three value disciplines will become your value proposition. They maintain you have to choose one, Operational Excellence (Wal-Mart), Product Leadership (Apple) or Customer Intimacy (Nordstrom). Any successful company must choose one where it aims to be the best, preferable the Best in Market at it. However, you cannot ignore the other two but being “OK” at them is well, “OK”.

A future writing of Treacy, Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It–No Matter What expands on this theory and addresses growth from the perspective of Customer Retention and Acquisition. He even prescribes a way to manage it through the 4 P’s of Priorities, Perspective, People and Plans. A new book that I just completed, Strategy from the Outside In: Profiting from Customer Value further expands on a very similar theme except that they turn more of their discussion from inside looking to the view of the customer.

I have included a mind map that I created combining a brief overview. It is a collection of what you should do but falls short of how you should do it. Using this mind map will certainly assist you in determining your overall weakness. However, without the validation of the marketplace it simply lacks the facts needed to make a serious investment in time or money. Understanding your Product/Market Value Perspective is Validation. It is the basis for all future growth.

Shameless Plug, the program, 5Cs of Driving Market Share that I assisted in developing with Dr. Eric Reidenbach of the Six Sigma Marketing Institute addresses the How of Customer Value. It is a natural extension of the process that was started in The Five Disciplines of Market Share. The major difference is that it determines and provides you with the tools to determine your value proposition from the Market’s perspective. I believe that formulating an opinion internally (the above books do not advocate this) of where you fit in the marketplace is an exercise that belongs in your Marketing 101 class. Understanding your Value Proposition and more importantly, relative to your competition is how you should determine not only your growth strategy but your survival strategy.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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