Making Your Business Model More “Customer-Obsessed” in the Digital World

When your business model includes technology (and let’s face it, everybody’s does right now, at least when it comes to reaching customers) you need the right kind of people on board to uncover your next competitive move. You need the combined strength of product development visionaries; marketing gurus; and business analysts comfortable with the reams of big data that digital business models generate. So let’s say you have the right kind of team in place. What else are you doing right?

Your partners and processes are iterative and agile—you can move on a dime to tweak your sales and marketing plan as the marketplace demands.

Your sales and marketing strategy also has your prospects visiting your website and downloading your content in droves and you’ve got the analytics to nail down quality leads to keep your sales force happy for months to come.

Finally, your product or service continues to morph to reflect the common “pain points” you see out there – and your product development people are enabled via a robust, yet flexible Products and Services Roadmap process to introduce new products – products that “own their space” from the moment of launch.

You seem to be going gangbusters – you’ve obviously got a handle on the customer-facing “tiles” in the framework, above, but you want to be able to supercharge your customer focus. You might think that you need a brand new framework to deal with these new and emerging techno-powered customers. Not so.

You can effectively use the Center for Business Modeling’s Business Model Framework in light of the customer mandates inherent in our new, super-connected universe. Here’s how to do it by focusing on three key questions that will make sure you remain, “customer-obsessed.”

The customer is always right, right?

Let’s face it– your target audience might think they know what they need, but they may not always be right. Ideally, you do, and you can shepherd them through the buying process to educate, inform and, ultimately, inspire them with the product or service offerings that solve their most pressing problems. I remember delivering an IM solution for a group of internal employees back in the day. The pre-pilot benchmark groups were highly cynical about the solution—but once they got it popping up on their desktops they said, “We didn’t know that this is what we needed all along!”

You have this next greatest solution for your customer because you listen and learn with every complaint, every return and from lessons learned from every supposedly “revolutionary” product in your segments that flames out upon start-up. In the connected universe, you have even more signals to prove yourself an innovation partner rather than just a supplier, or one-and-done partner.

Marketplace and Target Audience Identification business model tweaks in this new world require you become a business collaborator—and to become an innovator for your customers before they necessarily know they need one. Ask yourself these customer questions and use them to adjust your customer-facing activities:

  • Do I take the time to find out which industry innovations are exciting my customers? If so, what do I do about it?
  • Are my sales channel partners having the same conversations?
  • How can I digitally enable myself to hear what my customers are saying and start conversations, building the relationship and shoring up my brand equity? Can I be cost-effective when doing it and can I prove it works?

Brian Solis has an interesting take on this last one. He says that: “Stakeholders and investors find it difficult to assess the ROI of customer experiences and the impact of positive reinforcement on the bottom line.” If you can get more quality leads from listening better and listening digitally, that’s enough ROI for us. That means you are creating a customer experience that works—and these days, you must use technology to do it right.

In a recent presentation at Pegaworld, Solis outlines the stakes involved in keeping your connected customer top of mind: “To effectively compete in the digital economy, you are left with no choice; become customer-obsessed or lose! Every moment-of-truth counts when it comes to customer loyalty. For some, this paradigm shift will be easy. For many, you will have to re-think your business model.”

Use CBM’s Framework among your top executives to plot out how this connected, customer obsession will look in your business model. Then, as Solis says, “adapt or die.”

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