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Is It Really About the Product? February 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 9:05 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you are like most companies, you pride yourself by fixating on your core product or service. Makes sense, yes? In order to WIN in the market, one must have laser focus on quality, fast delivery, streamlined operations, and flawless communication with the customer.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself if it’s really all about the product, and does this “product” obsession distract us from the real reasons customers select suppliers? In other words, are we so focused on delivering perfection on today’s tangible that we miss where the true value is created?

As an owner of a manufacturing company, my mind naturally gravitates to product. It consumes organizational energy as we focus on the fulfillment cycle which runs the gamut from selling to delivery. That cycle is our natural obsession because it’s tangible and urgent. We fixate on excellence at each stage.

And yet, this all-consuming cycle blinds manufacturers from a fundamental truth: your product is only one limb of your overall relationship with the client. This begs the question: how do you create true, sustainable value for your client regardless of your product’s placement in its life-cycle?

Overemphasis on product leaves you limping when your product, like every other product, enters a mature phase. Margins collapse, competition pounces, and if you haven’t built an awesome, repeatable method for engaging in meaningful ways with your client – ways that alleviate their true pain points & anticipate their next “gap”, you have nothing left to talk about than price. And assuming status quo, slow steady death prevails.

There has never been a better time to reinvent your business by engaging your team in the question: Besides product, what do our customers most need in order to reach their goals? What keeps them up at night, and how can we alleviate that pain?


2 Responses to “Is It Really About the Product?”

  1. Joel H Heaf Says:

    An often quoted axiom is that the best customers are educated customers. Companies can provide a tremendous value by helping customers understand their products. Not just features and quality, but how to consume the product, how to use it and and keep it looking and working like new. Then as the product fades out or wears out, the customer will turn back to the company for advice on what to replace it with.


    • laurajuarez Says:

      This is a great point, Joel. Product oriented companies can easily lose sight of the opportunity to educate customers in a meaningful way. Additionally, B2B manufacturers typically have limited connection with the end consumer which is another great opportunity to educate and expand thinking about the application and use of products. Social Media makes this easier but cracking the code on how to engage end consumers in a meaningful dialog via the web eludes most. What insight would you offer on that?

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