Sunday, January 07, 2007

wreck it to fix it

Upside down is how you have to see it, the marketing problem, inside out. Any way but dead-on, straight ahead, or business-as-usual with slight and smooth-sailing "adjustments" that are slowly implemented.

Forget adjustments and uneventful, inoffensive, understandable, incremental change.

Dump that policy of not wanting to disturb or upset the mediocrity sliders and retirement coasters. The very first thing to be done is to Fire All Mediocres.

Shake it all up, make everybody, especially upper and middle management, nervous but optimistic. Nervous about how things are becoming unfamiliar and "different". Optimistic about their own loyal and serious intentions and how a visionary psychological combatant is leading the way.

The CEO, being the lowliest slave of the organization, being lower than janitor or pest control, this Illuminated Leader is obsessed with building the Perfect Customer, by grossly over-satisfying and glorifying all current customers, with an eye for the Overwhelmingly Ecstatic Prospect.

One pleasant and charming strategy is to rip up and wreck everything mentally.

Just start attacking every single thing that is done. "Why do we do that?" and "Are we still doing that?" and "What the hell are we doing there?" will start the ball rolling.

But don't ask just those in charge who are "supposed" to know and supervise (oversee) these operations. Go to the actual workers. Take the rowdiest ones to a bar, buy beer for a few hours, and tap into the id of your operation.

Ask your senior staff to list 25 facts about your typical customer. Then ask your service personnel, your sales clerks, and your suppliers to list 25 facts about your typical customer. See which form of customer evaluation is closest to reality.

Innovation comes not from books or seminars, not from leaders or marketers. Innovation comes from astonishing insights about your customer, insights that come from long observation and deep questioning of your customers, one customer at a time in the real world.

Take a customer, a brand new convert, then a long time fan, out for dinner, and ask all kinds of dumb questions. "How did you become aware you needed a Widget?" and "What does the Widget help you to do or be?" and "Why did you choose our Widget as your brand? What are your thoughts on buying more from us?" and similar should do the trick.

1 comment:

carrie said...

the picture is a clever illustration