3 Ways To Dominate Your Market

My area of expertise is in leadership development using the philosophy of Lean Six Sigma, in other words “process improvement strategies”. 

Now join me on the journey I call A Tale of Two Companies: One business allowed its workers to be engaged by making improvements that allowed the customer to be first in mind. The second created an environment of “it’s not my job” eliminating employees from using client-first thinking. Now you might ask, “How can the customer not be first?”

Many believe Lean Six Sigma is solely for engineering and manufacturing companies. That’s the first misconception. This managerial approach is built on the premise of eliminating wasteful elements and focusing solely on the customer. Having taken that quick glimpse of Lean, as an entrepreneur, you can now see that this philosophy applies to all businesses. Every business operates in what Lean practitioners call SIPOC, (Suppliers, Input, Processes, Output and Customers). Understanding that small segment of lean thinking will open the door for you to look at the three ways to dominate your market. 

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How can I hinder?

Meet Office XYZ, a Dental Facility that has a small staff of 5-7 individuals each having their unique jobs when dealing with patients. I called this facility to make an appointment for my mother and was told they needed to verify her insurance and would call back once they received the approvals. Two weeks went by before I realized I had not heard from anyone regarding the insurance verification.

I called the office and asked to speak with the individual that was to call back, whom we’ll call Kelly. I was informed that Kelly was out of the office and had been ill for the past two weeks. My next question was: “is she the only person that verifies insurance?” The response was affirmative and I then asked to speak with a manager. I was told Kelly was the manager. Let’s stop here because now we enter that well-known rabbit hole of “it’s not my job.”

Related: Trends That Can Move Your Business Forward in 2021

How can I help?

Meet Office ABC, A Pizza Company with a similar-sized staff. One night I called for a pizza. Upon placing the order I was told my meal would be about 30 minutes. Half an hour on a Friday evening? This company operated far differently than the first. When I placed my order something incredible happened, I received a text with the following message:  “We’re making your order. It’s all coming together now. The kitchen staff is busy with your order making sure everything is just right.”

A few minutes later I received this missive: “It’s on the way. The driver has left the store and will be at your location shortly”, followed with, “Delivered! Time to eat. It’s been our pleasure serving you”.And it was within the time promised by the associate. 

The “go and see” mentality

These two very different experiences gave me moment to pause. Did Company XYZ know about the importance of “lean thinking” and did Company ABC know they were using the lean six sigma philosophy in their operations? Did the leader of Company XYZ actually walk the process to see if there were any wasteful elements that allowed their service to lack the three main components of customer first thinking: quality, speed and delivery? And what about Company ABC, did that leader utilize the concept of Gemba, meaning “go and see” to improve their value stream and get to the point where they asked what their customers appreciate?

When exploring Lean Six Sigma’s methodology the first step is to find the root cause for the identified waste. Then you move into seeking what the customer defines as quality, you determine the speed of getting your customer the item or rendering the service and you seek an appropriate method of delivery.

Focusing on the three lean strategies

One can’t assume to know what the clientele defines as quality unless they have actually been asked. In Company XYZ it is evident that no one took the initiative to seek input through surveys, focus groups or used any feedback techniques. There is a concept in the Lean lexicon called (VOC) Voice of the Customer. It simply means find out what your customers want and are willing to pay for. This is where you will find that notion of quality.

In the tale of Company ABC, you can attest to the fact that quality for their customers, myself included, is hot pizza, and being notified as to what’s going on with their order. How did they come to know and implement this into their operations? After receiving such great service I had to call and speak with one of their leaders. I was informed this is how they compete as a reckoning force within the market. 

The need for speed

Being the fastest in your field has a huge impact on your market.  As you can tell from the visit with Company XYZ speed played no major role in what they deemed as important to customers. Two weeks to verify insurance is beyond an acceptable practice. And, by the way, I failed to mention that I did speak with another person, upon request, who did call back within 24 hours to inform me that they did not accept the insurance.  Yet I waited 2 weeks for something that could have saved me both frustration and aggravation. Speed and convenience are major players in our buying experience.

Company ABC, epitomizes the importance of speed. On each text message I received that time stamp of delivery was also listed. Today there are ample services to ensure your customers get items and services in a speedy manner. This company has a system in place that allows employees to know time schedules for various sizes, as well as any increase in time based on selected toppings. Have you looked at your level of quickness, while keeping the high standard of quality appreciated by your customers?

Why is the method of delivery so important to your customers? Is it easy to obtain your product or service? Delivery in its simplest form equates to how a customer receives your product or service. Simple right? Company XYZ’s delivery was neither exceptional nor satisfactory. The level of professionalism of their staff created an angst for the customer and therefore any method of delivery they deemed appropriate was subpar. There was no option as to whether they could email, text me or call me. Based on their performance I don’t think any of those options would have changed the outcome.

Related: Entrepreneurial Takeaways From 2020 to Guide Your Next Big Move

Company ABC created a delivery method that allowed me to select how I wanted to receive the product. They of course deliver in their vehicles, but I had an option to have it delivered to my door and left in an appropriate place, to have them ring the doorbell and I receive it face-to-face or contactless, it’s in the trunk and I come out and retrieve it. This allows the customer to select an option.

We have just visited two companies:  One eliminated waste and the other added to it. Which business are you? 

By: Sheryl Mays Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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★★★ Jay wants to mentor YOU with his exclusive Mastermind Mentoring Program! Start your journey with Jay here: https://bit.ly/2FbtM2X ★★★ For the first time ever in public, marketing icon Jay Abraham shares his business strategy that he has previously only shared with his high paying clients. He’s going go teach you the concept of Preemptive Marketing so you can instantly stand out in the eyes of your customers and dominate your market. Enjoy the session

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Building The Customer First Mindset

Agile is often thought of as a process when it’s really a mind-set (supported by processes, of course). Yes, it’s about testing and learning, and new ways of working, but at the heart of agile is the determination to provide the customer with something she or he wants or needs. That’s the point. Enshrining this principle across the business provides a consistent point of reference. But while almost every company will claim to be “customer first,” a closer look under the hood often reveals that internal efficiency or profit rather than customer need is the true driving force.

An agile mind-set starts from the premise that everyone is responsible for the customer, be it the CEO who determines the business strategy, the salesperson directly serving the customer, or the data scientist developing analytics platforms. You will only be able to embed agile ways of working once this becomes a core value, providing cohesion and purpose. This isn’t about doing your job better; it’s about serving the customer better.

The way a true customer-first ethos comes to life is through design—the process of integrating the customer point of view into all development.

This is much more than gathering insights or building elegant websites. It’s about building an adaptive learning process around the customer for everything the company does.

Getting design right is worth a lot. Companies in the top quartile of the McKinsey Design Index, which rates companies by how strong they are at design, outperformed peers in their sector in terms of growth by as much as two to one.

Here are two of the most important things the winning companies do:

1. They Make Huge Efforts To Know The Customer

A design approach requires solid customer insights to understand the real needs of potential users. Yet only around half the companies McKinsey surveyed conducted user research before generating their first design ideas or specifications.

One international pizza chain wanted to improve home delivery, a crowded market where consumers were already spoiled for choice. Data analysis revealed that one of the biggest drivers of customer satisfaction was how hot the delivered pizza was. This fact led the business to invest in “Intelligent Kitchen” technology, which determines when orders are baked based on the delivery address, driver availability, and current location, as well as road conditions to ensure the customer got a piping hot pizza. This approach grew overall sales 7 percent in the first  year, and more in the years following.

The best results come from constantly blending both quantitative and qualitative research. One top team invites customers to its regular monthly meeting solely to discuss the merits of its products and services.

And the CEO of one of the world’s largest banks spends a day a month with the bank’s clients and encourages all members of the C-suite to do the same.

2. They Continuously Improve With Customer Feedback

Continuous improvement is key to success for a digital transformation. This is the raw learning capability. You can see it in companies that foster a culture of sharing early prototypes with outsiders and discouraging excessive time spent on mock-ups or internal presentations. Despite the value of iteration, however, almost 60 percent of companies in our survey said they used prototypes only for internal-production testing, and even then, only late in the development process.

New technologies allow companies to uncover insights and test products in a dramatically faster way than traditional market research or focus groups. Digital marketing teams can convene online customer panels using video chats and watch as the panels test products and provide feedback in real time. One insurer created digital diaries to help identify customer pain points that would previously have gone undetected.

Similarly, digital companies can quickly A/B test new products and campaigns with thousands of customers in hours or days.

Agile Defined


Agile isn’t just a process. It’s a mind-set that puts customer objectives first. Team autonomy works best with guiding principles about what needs to be done and why.

Agile coaches are necessary to train people to learn new skills fast—leaders included.

Agile budgeting helps scale agile by quickly allocating money to projects.

Agile ways of working can’t take hold unless they are supported by stable processes.

Design thinking is the commitment to completely understanding your customer.

Contributed to BSI By: Arun Arora, Peter Dahlstrom, Klemens Hjartar, and Floria Wunderlich. Excerpted from their book Fast Times: How Digital Winners Set Direction, Learn, and Adapt (Amazon Publishing)

The Blake Project Can Help You Create A Brighter Competitive Future In The Jobs To Be Done Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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Shep Hyken: Customer Service & CX Expert

Go to http://www.TheCustomerFocus.com or call 314-692-2200 to learn more about Shep Hyken or to learn about customer service training. Your people attend customer service training. They learn techniques and tactics on how to deal with complaining customers, angry customers or customers who just need a little support. They are taught the right answers to some difficult questions. This is what customer service training is all about. But… What happens when something happens that is outside of the parameters of the training your employees have received?

Success Means Solving Customers’ Challenges

Visit Strokes of Genius to read more stories about the technologies behind the paints and coatings that are transforming everything–from the way we work to the way we fly.

Companies that serve a wide spectrum of markets with diverse products often view their breadth as a potent cross-selling opportunity–and they’re right. But PPG understands that adapting product technologies from one market to solve the problems of another requires more than a desire to grow the business.

First and foremost, such cross-selling requires being close to the customer and focusing on solving customer challenges. Clearly illustrating the effectiveness of this approach has been PPG’s successful application of technology developed for marine coatings customers to solve a problem for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The opportunity surfaced when an onsite PPG support team at an assembly plant of a major automotive original equipment manufacturer saw an opportunity to help address a problem the carmaker was having with maintaining a key piece of paint shop equipment. The metal carriers that move cars through the manufacturing line were quickly becoming coated with thick, dripping paint, which required frequent cleaning with high-pressure spray.

Greater efficiency and safety

The problem added cost and was a safety concern. “It’s been an issue for decades” with carmakers, says Kevin Cunningham, PPG custom platform manager for substrate protection systems, who joined PPG after a 40-year career with major automotive manufacturer. “It’s a major hassle and expense. Plus, the power-washing equipment needs to be operated at extremely high pressures, so it’s also dangerous for the operators.”

After identifying the problem, the PPG team set in motion an initiative to identify and adapt existing PPG technology to solve this problem. The initial contact between PPG’s customer technical team led to the identification of a technology used in the oil and gas industry as a potential solution for protecting the automotive paint-shop car carriers. The final product, PPG ENVIROGREEN® 84, resists damage in the operating environment, but it also resists adhesion of dirt and is easy to clean.

A better solution

Where a typical car carrier might have to be taken out of service for cleaning every 300 to 350 cycles, a carrier coated with PPG Envirogreen 84 can go thousands of cycles between cleanings. After the initial application, another trial took place at a different customer’s assembly plant. The success of that trial led to a full-scale commercialization effort in 2018 that demonstrated the power of “One PPG.” Two PPG teams collaborated to develop documentation and application guides for PPG Envirogreen 84, sales strategies for reaching the decision-makers, and a turn-key solution that includes application.

“It really took off,” says Chris Meier, PPG’s protective and marine coatings national accounts manager. “We have been able to adapt an existing technology for a new market that could ultimately represent significant new business.”

He added that nearly all major automotive OEMs are adopting PPG Envirogreen 84 to coat car carriers at new plants as well as some existing facilities. In addition to illustrating the power of cooperation across business units, the PPG Envirogreen 84 example shows the importance of being close to the customer, according to Randy Peterson, director, business development, PPG’s automotive OEM services.

“It’s a big win,” he says, “that all began by leveraging our daily presence within the customer’s plant and finding a way to create and share in the resulting value.”

By: PPGView

Source: Success Means Solving Customers’ Challenges

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Watch Chuck Wood explain how HPE SimpliVity is helping customers solve IT challenges. Learn more about HPE SimpliVity at http://www.hpe.com/info/simplivity.

How Do You Build a Customer Base? Follow These Steps

Many factors will determine how good a story is. Some variables are beyond your control, such as how forthcoming your subject will be, or what (maybe dumb) headline your editor will write. But the factor you can control is how much research you conduct, the questions you ask, and the follow-ups that help you find the information that really matters.

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I used to joke that writing was a two-part job. First, you have to be a miner, doing the grunt work. If you want gold or diamonds, you’d better be willing to dig deep in your reporting. The second part — writing — gets all the glory, but it’s really just polishing. If you’ve already found a beautiful diamond, it’s hard to mess it up.

Growing an audience is no different. You want to tell your brand story, but before you start polishing your marketing campaigns, you need to go mining: Ask your audience so many questions that you know them inside and out.

Connecting with an audience is harder than ever because of all the noise on social media and other platforms. In order to thrive in today’s digital environment, you need to have a deep understanding of what “job” your potential customers will pay you to do. In order to get that, you must speak to people directly.

Surveys and form questions are not enough; in-person conversations allow you to gather insights by reacting to people’s responses, hearing their tone of voice, and recognizing when there is more information hiding within a shallow answer.

But most people skip this part of the marketing process because it’s time-consuming. Even if they do it, they’re not always productive. The majority of market-research interviews consist of asking customers why they bought your product or service.

But this is a mistake. People will unknowingly tell you what they think you want to hear, oftentimes repeating your marketing back to you. Moreover, they won’t be able to articulate why they feel this way — so they’ll simply invent a reason.

Related: How Much Should You Spend on Social Media Marketing?

To work around these human habits, there’s a technique called jobs to be done (JTBD), which requires you to interview potential customers in order to truly understand their needs and wants. Not everyone can do JTBD; it takes someone who is skilled in both the process of leading the interview and in drawing conclusions and providing direction for your business.

Years ago, at my consulting company, I hired the best JTBD expert I knew, and I’ve never looked back. (You can also pay for courses and learn the method yourself.) Instead of just considering the functions that people want from a product or service, JTBD digs into the multifaceted nature of decision-making.

That’s what makes it more powerful than data — it helps you understand consumers’ social and emotional drivers and paints a complete picture of what “job” people want from you.

Related: How to Make Smart Hires on a Tight Budget

Once you understand your job — and your core customers — the path forward gets easier. You’re finally in a position to polish: create effective ads, engage with platforms where you’re most likely to find additional consumers, and present them with incentives and pricing that will appeal and convert.

Growth is no longer about wondering if you know what you should do. It’s simply about how well you can execute on your plan.

Related:

How Do You Build a Customer Base? Follow These Steps.

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Source: How Do You Build a Customer Base? Follow These Steps.

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Follow the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Focus on attracting your customers and spending time holding on to them. Watch this video for specific examples. Remember, there is nothing more important than a happy customer. What is the one thing you can do immediately to make your customers happier than anyone else? Download my free leadership questionnaire to get clarity on every area of your business here: http://ow.ly/LUIww

Cyber Monday 2019 By The Numbers: A Record $9.4 Billion Haul

Topline: With the busy holiday shopping season well under way, Cyber Monday raked in a new record of more than $9 billion in sales, marking the first day in history when consumers spent over $3 billion using their smartphones, the latest report from Adobe Analytics shows.

  • Total sales hit $9.4 billion—up nearly 19% from a $7.9 billion haul last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from a majority of top U.S. online retailers. That’s bigger than both Black Friday ($7.4 billion) and Amazon Prime Day ($4.2 billion last year).
  • As shoppers increasingly move to digital rather than in-person spending, online sales via smartphones grew 46% from last year, accounting for 33% of all Cyber Monday sales in 2019—at a new record of $3 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data.
  • During the peak hour of shopping between 11:00 p.m. ET and midnight, consumers spent $11 million on average every minute, Adobe said.
  • The top-selling products on Monday included Frozen 2 toys, the Nintendo Switch, VR devices, Samsung TVs, LOL Surprise Dolls, Apple laptops, NERF products and video games like Madden 20 and Jedi Fallen Order, Adobe’s report shows.
  • With more competition among retailers than ever, the report also highlights the 41% growth of BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) services this year, as shoppers increasingly looked for maximum convenience and time saving.
  • “Customers increasingly have a bigger basket of fulfillment options,” points out Morningstar analyst Zain Akbari, with more large retailers like Walmart and Target increasingly competing to offer cheaper and more efficient pickup or delivery services.

Big number: As of December 3, the holiday season has generated a record $81.5 billion in total online sales so far, Adobe Analytics data shows. Overall holiday spending for 2019 is predicted to hit $143.8 billion, compared with $126 billion last year.

Today In: Money

Crucial quote: “Retailers unlocked sales earlier to combat a shorter shopping season, while continuing to drive up promotion of the big branded days including Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said John Copeland, head of marketing and consumer insights at Adobe. “Consumers capitalized on deals and ramped up spending, especially on smartphones, where activity increased on days when shoppers were snowed or rained in.”

Tangent: While Cyber Monday saw the best deals on televisions, with average savings of more than 19%, December 27 will be the day with the biggest discounts on electronics (27%), according to Adobe’s findings.

Surprising Fact: U.S. shoppers will on average each spend $637 this holiday season, according to Accenture’s annual Holiday Shopping Survey.

Further Reading: Here’s What Not To Buy On Black Friday, According To Experts (Sergei Klebnikov)

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Cyber Monday 2019 By The Numbers: A Record $9.4 Billion Haul

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Big-box stores including Target and Kohl’s are offering massive discounts on items such as Instapots, Roombas and doorbuster deals online. WATCH THE FULL EPISODES OF ‘WORLD NEWS TONIGHT’: https://bit.ly/2P5Snrx WATCH OTHER FULL EPISODES OF WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: http://abc.go.com/shows/world-news-to… WATCH WORLD NEWS TONIGHT ON HULU: https://hulu.tv/33iKepm #WorldNewsTonight #DavidMuir #CyberMonday #HolidayShopping

 

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