A little while ago I read this blog post by Jeremiah Owyang and was pleased to see another blogger take on an issue that we recognize everyday. Is your company market-driven or product-driven?
What’s the difference? Product-driven firms spend their time, money and best talent on creating unique or new products, or on increasing the amount of features that differetiate them from their competition. Market-driven firms spend the same on market research, segmentation and communication efforts.
One trend we have noticed is that many of our customers are often those firms making the transition from product-driven to market-driven. This may happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes engineers are promoted into product management roles and they lack the market analysis skills to do proper marketing. Sometimes product-driven companies find themselves losing market share and realize they’ve lost touch with their customer. Have you ever been tempted to say, “we’ve got the best one out there but no one knows it?” It’s a classic symptom.
For whatever reason it comes to be, a product focus at the expense of market focus is less than ideal. (If we assume a zero-sum gain.) Jeremiah points to some tech-first success stories, but I’m of the opinion you minimize business risk by focusing on a demand that needs to be met than a tech that needs to be sold.
Part of the reason I haven’t been blogging as much as I should be is because I have been “micro-blogging” on this fascinating site called Twitter. If you haven’t heard of this yet, check out their FAQs or read a Newsweek article. Find out how it can be used by businesses through CIO Insight.
Today I’m drawn in by a video interview of the guys that created the site on FastCompany TV. (And for those keeping track at home, I found out about the video on Twitter.) At 12:23 into the video came a story about how JetBlue uses Twitter. It was fascinating and one of the most eye-opening examples of fantastically strong market culture in action.
JetBlue set up an account and used it to monitor comments about the company. Then they started offering real time deals. All along they were listening to the community and when folks were gearing up for South by Southwest (an annual tech/music festival in Austin, TX) but couldn’t find flights, JetBlue jumped in and offered more flights. Awesome marketing and awesome market culture!
Customer Insight – knowing where the spot demand was
Competitor Awareness – everyone else must be booked too
Collaborative Networks – real time info from the clients influenced an operational decision, “Can we give them more flights?” “You betcha!”
Decision Making with a Long-term Focus – what kind of positive buzz and customer loyalty do you think that little profitable move made?
Leadership – it was a corporate decision to engage the customer at this level, evidenced here
I am a huge fan of Twitter and stories like this are empowering. Jeremiah Owyang runs Web Strategy by Jeremiah where he outlined some additional tools you can use to improve your Twitter experience. I recommend you check that out if/when you set up an account. Then be sure and follow me!