I was called in to officiate at a funeral yesterday. A long time client had created a core program to outperform the one I had developed with them almost a decade ago.
The old program had been delivering decreasing results every year, but the results of the new one made my program look inspired.
The owner invited me to come by to explain what was happening.
That was pretty easy. Yup, he’s dead, Jim.
What was entertaining was how they had developed their new program by massive internal discussions, like the boys in Animal House cranking up Belushi with, “Toga, Toga, Toga...”
From the story they told, their customers never had a chance to participate...so they never did.
Our old program had evolved, from looking at what was working, begging and pleading with the customers to take a minute to tell us what they might want that was better, and then finding a cost-effective way to provide it.
We took a middle-of-the-pack performer and made them the segment leader in less than a year.
In the 1800’s, if you were a cotton broker, you could develop a business model and leave it unchanged for four or more generations.
Today, serious tweaks are usually required in less than a year.
It’s less expensive to leave the buyers out of the planning, but it’s also less valuable.
I’ve read how Steve Jobs could create many new product categories all by himself, but I find that getting tactical data from customers points the direction to effective strategy, and at the same time develops the customer base for when the new offering is available.
How much are you hobbled by your prior opinion?