At The University of Florida I am studying customer communication, value proposition, and optimization testing from the only web conversion graduate certificate program out there right now. The following is made up mostly of reading material they are giving us, but I also added another book to the lessons learned.
In “What Most Companies Miss About Customer Lifetime Value” by Michael Schrage, the author says “serious customer lifetime value metrics should measure how effectively innovation investment increases customer health and wealth”.
In other words, your product must continue to adapt to the needs of the marketplace, and the value you showed to your customers to bring them into your customer-base needs to continue to be present amidst the changes you make over time.
This resonates with me as I have moonlighted as a product manager for my own side-projects.
In “The Marketer as Philosopher” by Flint McGlaughlin, Reflection 15 ends with “Thus, the strength of the marketer’s message is grounded in a single word – ‘because'” What McGlaughlin is talking about is how we as marketers are asking for something with every interaction we have with users and how the user needs a reason to accept our offer. Couple this with the concept of customer-centric logic, and you get a powerful beginning to a conversation with the customer.
In other words, the “because” should not be about your company, but should be about the customer, and what they get out of the exchange.
In “Managing Customer Experience and Relationships” by Peppers and Rodgers, chapter 2 talks about the differences between employee-centricity and customer-centricity. I like how they say “There are successful organizations that do not have ‘products,’ but there is no such thing as a successful firm that doesn’t have ‘customers.'”, they also talk about how customers are scarce. This is interesting to me because I read another book called “The Millionaire Fast-lane” by MJ DeMarco (sounds gimmicky I know, but it is actually a great read), that got me thinking more about what is truly scarce, our time. If our time is the most finite resource we have, then our customer’s time (actual time as well as time they spent earning the money they are giving you), is no small thing. And making sure their time is respected as well as worthily exchanged for products and services is the most critical thing we can do as marketers.
Question 1: Have you optimized your “because” response to your customers? If so, what was your process?
Question 2: What do you feel is more important to your business? Customers, employees, or products? Why?