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In the new buyer experience economy, it is less about the product or service and more about creating value through experience. The quality and usage of a product or service will always matter. Superior quality today though has become merely the entrance ticket to get on the same playing field. Businesses producing inferior products or services will fall off the radar screen of buyers. Once on the playing field however, the difference lays in creating value through buyer experience.
What got me thinking about this was reading two recent posts by Dave Brock on Rethinking Value and Defining Value. While discussed through the prism of sales and selling, Dave brings up good perspectives on the question of: how do you get sales people to help customers see and understand value? The new buyer experience economy will fundamentally shake up organizations today as they attempt to figure out what this means to their existing structure, how to market products and services, and what defines new roles for sales and marketing.
Reflecting on what it will take to create value through the buying experience as well as the end-to-end experience in its entirety, the imperatives of integrated thinking comes to the forefront. An intersection of three crucial requirements is needed to provide the underpinnings for creating value through buyer experience.
The first of these intersections is insight. In David Brock’s post, Defining Value, he reminds us that it is customers who define value – not the organization. Most often, we’ve seen an inside-out perspective on what defines value versus an outside-in perspective. In today’s new buyer experience economy, gaining insight into what experiences buyers’ value is the first order of business. That means companies are going to have to get pretty good at qualitative research and buyer persona development. These combined efforts will help uncover hidden value that may be hard for both parties to define but offers collaborative avenues to identify jointly.
The second intersection is experience design. Design thinking and experience design methods are the building blocks for buyer experience design. Fueled by the rigors of qualitative research and the resulting insights, companies can take an active approach towards designing the buying experience in ways that creates value for buyers. This approach needs to cut across marketing, sales, and service functions. And, perhaps go so far as taking what may sound like a radical approach in creating buyer experience design teams. These teams capable of designing buyer experiences that is inclusive of identifying the right mix of media, content, conversation, and procurement.
The third intersection is innovation. Integrated thinking is a new criterion, I believe, for the roles of senior officers of companies planning to not only survive but succeed in the new buyer experience economy. The type of thinking that can connect the dots between understanding what buyers value, designing buying experiences mapped to value, and reinventing the organization as well as experiences that truly meet the test of innovation. Leaders in the new buyer experience economy should have on their agenda the goal of reinventing themselves through buyer experience innovation.
In the end, what it boils down to is that organizations today will need to make a concerted effort to reinvent the world around them. The world today defined as enclosed in an inside-out box with no windows for buyers to look into let alone a doorway to walk in. Taking an approach towards reinventing that builds competencies in gaining critical buyer insights, designing buying experiences, and innovating in ways that accentuates the hidden value buyers cherish. Then, and only then, becoming like a gracious host who welcomes buyers in through a door of transparency and a fulfilling buying experience.