Alan See CMO Temps, LLC - Rent a Chief Marketing Officer
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How to Get One Step in Front of Your Competition

Got HAL?  I was reminded this week of an old story that once surfaced about the Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer (HAL) in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”  The story suggests that HAL was so-named to indicate that he was one step ahead of IBM. Alphabetically "H" "A" "L" precede "I" "B" "M" by one letter.  The author of 2001, Arthur C. Clarke denies this legend.  All the same; doesn’t it feel good to be one step in front?  Many marketers’ look for high powered technology to provide that extra step; but that may not always work because in the customers’ algorithm, it often doesn’t matter.

Today, your customer’s actual experiences live in the public domain, and if your product or service is bad, no amount of marketing spin or branding will fix it.  If your goal is to build a high-performance brand through a differentiated customer experience you may need a new way of thinking, and a new discipline for getting things done.  In the book “Execution” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan the authors point out that a business’ culture defines what gets appreciated, respected, and ultimately rewarded.  And the culture of an organization is the sum of its shared values, beliefs, and norms of behavior.  In short, to deliver a differentiated customer experience you may need to start with your organization’s ingrained beliefs concerning the customer and how to perfect the execution of your customer experience strategy.  Here is a short check list to get started.

1.  Conduct a customer experience audit.  Determine what parts of your organization need to change in order to deliver your desired experience.  Recruit advocates involving them in the new vision.

2.  Make the change yourself.  Demonstrate through relevant behavior of your own that you are a champion for the new customer experience vision.

3.  Watch for defenders of the status quo.  People avoid or resist change because they fear losing something; control, security, prestige, and so on.  Provide training and anticipate their concerns.

4.  Make sure your incentives support the desired behavior.  And reward employees who go out of their way to bring your new strategy to life.

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