Potential: Revealed

Strategic Thinking, Innovative Ideas, Growth Marketing, and Revealing of Potential

Archive for food

4 P’s, lots of D, stir and taste repeatedly.

Working recently with a client in the banking industry, they remarked about “growing beyond our ability to manage customer relationships by feel”. What they meant was that they prided themselves on being a “high touch” banker and saw it historically as one of their competitive differentiators but that it had, alone, lost its ability to create this much needed differentiation. The loss was probably imagined though (I offered) … you probably never really had it.

When you are a large commercial organization, and a bank is protypical of a large commercial organization, it is difficult to truly be “high touch”. It merely sounds good (on marketing messages, in PR ,and advertising). To scale the abilty to have your customers perceive that you know them well and catering to them as individual, highly-valued customers (that is, to have them feel as though you are high-touch), a more integrative approach is usually required. Large organizations, with their scale and resources are uniquely able to pull this off and can create differentiation for themselves, but a fair amount of change is required — procedurally, organizationally and culturally. I’ll spare all the details but a simple, high level way to think about it is:

– manage the 4 Ps of marketing as an integrative set. Define your target markets and customers in ways that you can focus on those where you clearly understand customer needs, can deliver a differentiated offering, can reach them effectively through carefully chosen channels and promotion strategies, and because of the former three you can price in a way that delivers sustainably high profit margins.

– in today’s world, you cannot possibly do this without adding plenty of D, for Data. In a subsequent post I’ll talk specifically about what’s required to add the D required for knowing the market and your customers in a way that leads to differentiation and success. Data, turned into “customer insights”, can be the glue that binds the organization together to act in concert from the inside (typically in the headquarters where the data is stored and managed) to the outside (where customer-facing associates in sales, relationship management, and customer service areas touch the customer directly).

– last but not least, managing the 4Ps intergratively and conquering the capability curve to be able to add data as a competitive weapon is not easy. I believe it requires an “iterative experimental” approach. This is very different than the perfuctory approach of “piloting” a new business process or system. I’ll use a cooking analogy (which is a great metaphor-rich activity): often times the first attempt with a new recipe in an uncharted style may be good but not yet fully satisfying. Yet the experienced, creative and most successful cook will use the experience to adjust (a little less salt? a dash of cayenne?), evolve the recipe and find the successful combination … and then continue to evolve the recipe and themselves, challenging and striving for even higher culinary heights and delights. The delighted look on a dinner guest’s or dining room patron’s face is all they need for validation. A similar mindset is required for the successful company that wants to tackle the integrative maketing and data challenge because they are convinced the results will be a uniquely delighted customer.