Have you taken the path of your customer?

One of my steps in working with a client is that I like to put together their Marketing calendar to understand what they have on the table, events, conferences, advertisement, flyers, etc. They usually have some type of marketing in place, and we are looking at improving the system not dismantling it. After the marketing calendar has been constructed, I start moving, sometimes just the post-it-notes from a chronological order to a marketing flow stream based on the customers’ viewpoint. We could even call it an assessment, but initially I am just on a fact finding mission, in Lean terms = Current State Map. The next step in the process is diagramming this current state map and in Duct Tape Marketing terms, their Marketing Hourglass.

However, this week the procedure took a strange turn. I completed the process but I happen to know one of the client’s customer very well. So, after constructing this hour glass with the new client, I was able to sit down with his customer and my friend and map the process from the customers’ point of view. Voice of Customer seems to an over-used word in our industry but this was one of my best experiences. We actually pulled the clients file from the customers file cabinet, reviewed the folders on his computer including e-mails and bookmarks. I then laid out all the marketing material that had accumulated, highlighted and even taking note of the bent corners in the catalog. This was all followed by an interview.iStock_000007910283XSmall.jpg

Of course, my sample size of 1 is not a good indicator. The key to this process was the awaking to the client and myself on what the customer valued and what his procedure was in making the decision. His process was simply different. We talk about going to Gemba and walking the walk from the customers’ point of view, but do we? How much non-effective marketing could you save by doing this? How much effective marketing could you implement?

P.S. Use a larger sample size.

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