Saturday, July 16, 2005

Positive-Context Customer Marketing

Chris Lawler's blog had a sympatico article on contextual marketing that I quote below:

Customer-centricity continues to emphasize the role of material conditions in shaping consumer needs and demand for products rather than the wider context in which people select, buy and use products and services. But, by thinking broadly about the challenges people face, rather than narrowly about what firms can sell them, new ways to make their lives easier and their decisions simpler can almost always be found.

Individual-centric customer innovating businesses understand this and aim to overcome these challenges. They focus on creating a more positive brand, marketing and customer context; one that reconfigures mostly intangible and unrecognized aspects of people’s needs and problems into new forms of social, relational and brand capital. These intangible value dimensions include new drivers such as time, attention, knowledge, uncertainty, trust, privacy, personal productivity and simplicity.

Importantly, the delivery of “positive context” is independent of traditional markets. By viewing markets from an explicit individual value perspective rather than the more typical company-, product- or service-centric point of view, customer innovating organizations are able to locate and address the new intangible forms of customer value.

The trick is to perceive markets as multi-faceted and connected holistic systems or networks and not as company-defined supply or value chains. Unfortunately, value chain thinking still dominates as a business concept.
But, by shifting from a world view of an assembler or value-added player in part of a supply- (or demand) -chain to one of becoming a nodal or partner player in an enhanced interactive positive context customer value network, the opportunity to identify, define and unlock new forms of holistic customer and business value are huge.

The first question managers need to address is quite simply, what domain of customer value are we operating in?. This is then closely followed by the second question, how we can adapt to identify, design and deliver mutual value within the new individual-centric customer space? Unfortunately, many organizations are so risk averse that they never even get to the second stage.


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