How Market Leaders Create a
Real Difference in the Marketplace
The question is, what makes a company truly special in the eyes of its customers? Why do buyers gravitate to certain firms while other similarly-qualified firms fail to get the nod? What makes customers swear by their favorite suppliers, awarding them more and more of their business?
The answer lies partly in what the supplier excels at -- e.g., whether it is best known for superior products or technology, price leadership or complete solutions. Without a compelling value proposition (and a focused operating model to back it up) it is hard to be a stand-out. But there's more.
The critical distinction lies in how a firm interacts with customers, i.e. the myriad ways in which it communicates, inspires confidence, earns trust, leverages granular insights, addresses deeper needs, orchestrates experiences and collaborates.
In all of this, what matters greatly to our customers is 'who we are,' not just 'what we do.' Their connections with suppliers have a visceral as well as a rational dimension, esp. when there is a lot at stake and their relationship with the supplier is of an ongoing nature, rather than merely a one-off transaction.
Customers judge us by what we stand for and by our enduring commitment to their concerns and causes. Thus, our resolve and behavior speak louder than our promises and plans. And, as the saying goes, culture trumps strategy. That is why our leadership style and passion matter greatly. That is also why a firm's customer agenda must be everyone's concern, starting with the top team -- not just that of sales and marketing.
So ask yourself, what is it that you want your business to be recognized for and excel in? Then engage your organization and your customers accordingly, and shape a culture that reflects it.