Why you better Cut the Crap: Service is the Old & New Gold.

Service is the new gold.

Service is the new gold. (credits: boomerang cards).

I agree. It’s been way too long since I pressed down another story here. Not without a reason though. I’ve been crazy busy visiting companies from about eight industries to perform in-depth interviews about their business and their future. It has been a wonderful experience so far. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I generated tons of insights from this qualitative market research period. I want to share my main insight today:
“Cut the crap and stop pushing it on to people. Be real, bring value, show respect and be helpful to every customer. In brief: stop screaming, start whispering.”

Service is the Old and New Gold.

Loads of consumers became disappointed in companies, products and services. As a result, corporations and organizations are sometimes seen as “evil”. I believe this is the result of what I call “the old marketing”. Most brands and organizations still rely on 20th century marketing principles: manufacture something against the lowest cost possible and consequently pay much money for advertising to create a positive image so that consumers buy your product. The only thing that matters is short-term profit, not a long-term sustainable contribution to society. I’ve always revolted against these types of companies. They are indeed “no good”. They don’t contribute to a positive society and consequently a better world. They do not “serve” their customers through good products, honest communication and real value.

Service is Gold.

Service is Gold.

That marketing-enforced image however has always been put in perspective by the customers themselves by sharing their experiences: word of mouth. And what’s even more, word of mouth has always been the most trusted source of product or service information. Unfortunately it had little to no big scale leverage so that “evil” corporations could live happily ever after. So, if one customer was dissatisfied by the service he told it to about 20 people and didn’t rely on the company in the future any more. But for the company, that was not really a problem. The customers that decided to leave were replaced by new customers who bought the marketing story.

I truly believe (and hope) the days of “high churn because we produce crap is solved by acquisition campaigns” are over as social peer-to-peer technologies became mainstream and leverage Word of Mouth on a huge scale.

What is Service? Think long-term reputation vs. short-term profit.

If one states that service is key, he needs to define what exactly is service. Based on my interviews, I’d say service is about small things, but things that can make someone’s day and stick in their memory. It’s about going the extra mile, about doing something you actually didn’t have to do. It’s about the goal to serve in order the make life (or businesses) easier and better. It’s the social aspect, it’s the human touch. It’s not about social media. Those only give large-scale opportunities to foster on this service behavior.

Research details

As stated above and in the introduction, the above isn’t just a gut feeling. It’s inspired by real-life (analog) talks with leading people within several industries. Below is a small overview of my data sample. Please allow me to just recycle one of the original research presentation slides. It’s important to realize that within this sample some of the companies were active on social media – which was the drive to act more service-wise – and others who were completely inactive on social but have always put the customer in the center of its existence.

Quali Research Data Sample

Quali Research Data Sample

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Web as Service Platform. Marketing with an SD-logic?

stuck in the spider's web by looking at the web as a marcomm channel.

stuck in the spider's web by looking at the web as a marcomm channel.

Social media: marketing’s new wonder channel?

I often hear and read marketers about the opportunities brought along by social media. Now, I don’t want to dismiss these opportunities. Those are certainly there. The type of opportunities however are often misunderstood by marketers. They tend to see this as nothing more than a new marketing and communication channel. Consequently, social platforms are tools to push messages towards potential customers. Of course, social can be used for the purpose of lead generation or just mind-blowing advertising, but it won’t bring the benefits expected by marketers. My point here is that the ‘Web’ and the ‘social web’ in particular ought to be looked at from a Service-Design logic instead of a Good-Design logic. I believe it will help marketers realize there goals by deploying the web and social platforms in the correct manner.

SD-logic versus GD-logic: basic principle

In the industrial age, the dominant logic about economic exchange was based on the exchange of “goods”. As a result, a GD-logic focuses on tangible resources, added value and (monetary) transactions. Over time however new perspectives emerged. Those new visions look at intangible resources, co-created value and relationships. This new perspective is commonly known as a SD-logic or service design. I believe that marketing should start thinking from this perspective. A perspective in which service provision is fundamental to economic exchange rather than goods.

Marketing logic: SD-logic versus GD-logic

A GD marketing logic limits marketers in creativity for seeing opportunities in value co-creation with customers and other stakeholders. What’s more, this focus on transactional exchange ignores aspects like customer loyalty and puts constraints on developing the lifetime value of the customer for the company at stake. The S-D logic on the other hand broadens the logic of exchange – both socially and economically.

Web as Service Platform

Web as Service Platform

The Web and The Social Web from an SD-Logic

The internet and the web are well-known and mostly deployed as a mean to share information. Or: the web is seen as just another marketing communication channel.

That’s actually a pity because the web also brings along loads of opportunities for process optimization. And process optimization is often about service design thinking, which I believe is at the core about ‘servicing a.k.a. making things easier’.

Improving a business process is making things easier. And what’s more, it often means that you build strategic competitive advantages – as you’re able to get the same (better) result at lower costs.

To overcome overlooking the options when developing a digital-enabled enterprise and/or marketing strategy, one better investigates and lists down the options for process integration.

Who’s in for an exercise on process optimization through the web and the social web?

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