1. Don't try to predict the
future by studying the past. Benchmarking against yesterday's competitors does not bring
about market leadership. Look for leading, not lagging, indicators.
Consider emerging trends.
2. Don't assume that what brings
customers in the door will keep them around. Customers may find that the reason they chose you
is outweighed by other factors. They may select your product or
service because of price, and then switch because of faulty service,
billing problems or poor product performance.
3. Make sure you're asking the
right questions. Customer satisfaction with the functioning
of a product itself doesn't predict market share growth. For
example, if a customer thinks your product is the gold standard but
can't get it delivered on time, he will look elsewhere. You may miss
hidden expectations if you're asking the wrong questions.
4. Be on the lookout for silent
trouble spots. The customers who contact you with problems
are the ones who are communicating with you, but there may be a
silent majority not even bothering to do that. Don't assume that no
feedback is good feedback. Seek out input.
5. Listen with objective ears –
what’s not being said? Customers may express a strong
desire for something familiar without even considering the
possibilities that don't yet exist but would be highly successful.
Five years ago, consumers bought portable CD players. Today, they
buy iPods. Five years from now, what will your customers
6. Capture the entire realm of
the customer or stakeholder experience. Identify the value
of your offerings from the customer’s point of view. Analyze all
aspects of the experience, map it and make sure you’re speaking
their language. What matters from the outside looking in?
7. Learn to add value and
benefits, not simply features. When profit margins shrink,
look for the market premium. Add services to products, products to
8. Rethink your approach to the
market if you're looking to make a change. The competition
for your breakthrough product or service lives on a fundamentally
different food chain than the competition you've been tracking.
9. Measure twice, cut
once. Solid metrics are mandatory for planning, launching
and plotting the next course of action. Otherwise, you're shooting
before you aim.
10. Good ideas are only as good
as the results they achieve. Implementation and engagement
are not givens for a successful rollout. Communication, buy-in and
follow-up throughout the ranks are crucial to getting where you want
to be. Get everyone on the same page.
For more information call Andrea Kates at