January 6, 2014
In today’s fast-moving, data-driven, measured, targeted world, winning companies are recognizing that being customer focused in words alone isn’t cutting it. Action and measurable results are all that matters when putting your customer at the center of your business.
This runs in direct opposition with the old school, “crawl, walk, run” approach that’s pervasive in legacy marketing and technology programs. This strategy basically has marketers purposely start off doing something that has a low probability of working well, and then build it up over time into something that works better.
That philosophy speaks to our recent past, when IT project queues dictated the business capabilities available. It also speaks to a general fear of change and limit of risk taking, which are necessary to figure out what your customers truly want and need.
It’s time to take crawling and walking out of the equation and start hitting the ground running. If your company subscribes to this antiquated “crawl, walk, run” approach, it shows that you're not organizationally, culturally, or philosophically ready to commit to a true customer-focused strategy. But guess what? Your competitors are; and while you're crawling and walking, the competition will be running away with your business.
These runners are winning because they’re providing winning experiences. This didn’t happen by accident—rather, through a rapid succession of hypotheses that are tested, measured, evaluated, and then considered against their key audience segments. They’re then iterated on, and the process begins again.
Runners are willing to try and fail and learn about the audiences they have and the factors that drive business. So in the time the crawlers have come around to dipping their toes in the water, they’ve been lapped by their competitors who understand the environment we live in today. They respect their customers and see the potential of the technologies and approaches that will help serve them best, more quickly, and perhaps, even help serve their careers in the process.