Path to ParticipationBy
In Lean Marketing, Service Design and Design Thinking, we typically use the Customer Journey Map to describe the journey of a user through a series of touchpoints. Mapping this in detail and defining the resources, people, budget and marketing collateral to match each of these steps is imperative. After an organization does this and is ready to take a deeper dive, one of the tools I like to utilize is what I call the Path to Participation.
I have seen others use the term but I use it in the context of the customer (prospect) engagement and re-engagement process. Rather, than selling features and benefits of your product and hoping to attract prospects, we try to find a path to participate with customers in our product/market segment. The simple fact is the further we are from our customers’ knowledge base the more effort has to be made to create a larger and larger supply of prospects.
You hear a lot of talk about touch points and increased efforts within an organization that I elaborated on in the blog post, If all of us need to be marketers, what’s the framework? These increased touch-points are very relevant in today’s marketing but you need to stop looking at them from your perspective. Have you spent the time investigating your customers’ touch-points? Look at where and how they distribute their knowledge. When you think from the SD-Logic (The Service-Dominant Logic of Marketing by Stephen Vargo and Robert Lusch) perspective of value in use, use the touch-points created by the use of your product, you will extend your conversation and add insights about not only your customer but your product/service.
The Path to Participation starts in one place in a sales and marketing environment and that is in the customers’ playground. If you want to be visible, if you want the opportunity for participation, you literally need to work where the customer works. Find out if you need to interact with them in Social Media, Community Functions, Bid Lettings, etc.? Where are the places that they demonstrate or express a use for your product? These are the places we will build relationships and community versus the more traditional methods of cold-calling and advertising
Taking this information and spreading it within your organization will make it easier for customers to go deeper into your organization for knowledge sharing. As a result, it may provide a flood of new ideas for innovation and co-creation opportunities. Even more importantly, it secures a vendor-customer relationship or partnership that is difficult for others to replicate.
This cannot be done unless we take on the role of pupil. Which I have discussed in a few blog posts:
But before you begin teaching the customer what they need to know, start thinking of this process a little differently. Think of it as you being the pupil rather than the teacher. Think about you having that “aha” moment or that moment when you “get it” versus when your customer gets it.
I went on to say:
Instead participate in communities and discussions that highlight your knowledge, developing an ever expanding network of touch points that allow prospects to self-serve information and to locate you. Think of ways for trials or templates of your organizations best practices to be used that will allow prospects to move into a more collaborative arrangement. As this happens, greater human interaction occurs but typically as a result of the customer qualifying themselves.
If you view your sales and marketing from this position it will create vast opportunities not only in sales but throughout the rest of the organization. There is not a stronger differentiator for your company to acquire. A Lean Marketing measurement is how deep and widespread can a customer penetrate your organization.
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