Patterns & Insights
Innovation: Offers & Packaging
Maybe on the surface you believe that your customers and your potential customers all have a pretty similar set of needs and wants. You may be perplexed to find that there are unexpected gaps in your success rate with certain customer types. No worries, knowing what you did not know before (or learning that you may have been wrong about what you assumed to be true) is no reason for discouragement! In fact, you may have just found a valuable nugget for focusing your innovation opportunity exploration!
Maybe those potential customers are not interested in what you are peddling because they have a vastly different way in which they need to “consume” what you are trying to bring them. This is a series on five key areas to explore in order to find innovation opportunities that will accelerate your business growth. Targeting your ideal customer and providing clarity about how you deliver value directly to their needs, concerns and desires are critical anchors to how you deliver your offers. (If you missed Refining target market and Customer Centric value propositions you can still check them out). But remembering that customer are still unique and how you bring your offer to life for each segment can make the difference in success for you and delight for the customers. This innovation opportunity is often overlooked, particularly by tech companies who believe their innovation alone is enough for meeting the needs of customers.
Sales teams are keen to knowing in the B2B world that it is critical to know not only who the decision maker is, but to also know a lot about who they depend upon as influencers to their decisions. The existence of these complex decision making structures – made up of a variety of roles and individuals – tend to exist in nearly all businesses. Digging deeply into the different roles within an organization that influence a decision and gleaning insight into what they need or want to do their job can be very insightful for creating innovative offer models that enable accelerated growth for your business.
A good example of this type of “offer innovation” comes from lessons learned by the networking technology world, a world in which I have spent a lot of my early career.
For a long time, most technology vendors seemed to believe that they could win over small/medium customers just by offering a diminutive version (smaller, cheaper) of their product – the “Goldilocks” strategy I like to call it. However, this strategy did not really work that well.
Overtime, clever challengers entered the market and brought with them an awareness that there was a growing and lucrative market within smaller and mid market customers. These innovators dug in to figure out why these smaller customers were not buying more at a time when it seemed they should be on the surface. There had to be a market opportunity hiding somewhere in this scenario.
The startups paid close attention to the unique differences in the buying “clans” of these smaller companies. They recognized that small/mid-sized players had needs that were just as sophisticated as their larger counterparts on one hand but on the other hand has some unique differences in their support and staffing models. Specifically, the smaller companies had significantly smaller technical support teams with individuals who had to wear many different hats (from supporting desktops and tablets and notebooks, to networking, to security and everything in between. These teams were comprised more of IT and networking generalists and less likely to have the luxury of focused expertise specific to elements of say, wifi network design, availability and security.
These startups responded, their innovation took the form of a new offer structure – they introduced cloud based solutions with managed services designed specifically to meet these potential clients’ needs. No longer did these clients have to buy premise based equipment and learn how to provision and manage it in an increasingly complex world. The market has really taken off for these players since and there seems no end in sight to the insatiable need for this model of consuming technology – even big companies are choosing it today.
If you thought about the barriers for consuming your solutions or products or services, carefully doing so from the customers’ perspectives, I just bet you might find some nuggets of opportunity for your business. Packaging, whether through consumption model, more integrated customer support and service, or go-to-market partnerships that fill out the gaps in your offer could be a path to innovation and growth for your company. I’d love for you to start a discussion here or share with me your concerns or challenges to find this type of opportunity. Are there opportunities you are missing that could be addressed with offer innovation?