Yesterday, Dr. Debbie Qaqish, Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group, lead an interactive digital workshop on how marketers can lead the shift to customer centricity. Attendees began to outline their strategic plan to operationalize this shift during the workshop and we’d like to guide you through what your initial plan should look like in this blog.
Before Dr. Qaqish dove into the plan outline itself, she asked the question, why now? Why is the shift to customer centricity important in 2019? She identified a few key points that helped answer this question:
- In a 2019 report, Accenture research found 90 percent of B2B leaders agree that customer experience is crucial to their companies’ strategic priorities (Accenture)
- Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010 (Forbes).
While we are seeing the industry recognize that the customer experience is the next battlefield for business, leading that shift and making it a reality isn’t so cut and dry. Declaring in a marketing meeting that the pivot to customer centricity is a great first step, but that won’t be enough. Marketers need to strategically lead the shift to customer centricity with a well laid out plan. Dr. Qaqish also indicated that this shift doesn’t happen overnight. The shift to customer centricity is a journey that can be outlined in four stages as seen below:
Dr. Qaqish then began to outline what a structured plan would look like for marketers. She included the following initial points for strategic change management:
- Create an elevator pitch about your initiative
- Identify three clear goals that support your initiative
- Identify your key stakeholders
- Craft an internal communications plan
Debbie then reviewed each of these steps in detail for attendees to begin to outline their plan. Let’s take a look at each of these steps in detail:
1. Create an elevator pitch about your initiative – WHY
Your elevator pitch should clearly state why you are conducting this initiative. It is a statement that everyone on your team understands and can recite at the drop of a hat. Dr. Qaqish provided the following example:
Everything we do begins with the customer, not with us and not with our products. By reframing our focus through the lens of the customer, we can now create the connected experience our customers expect. The net? We attract more new customers, who stay longer, buy more and make our shareholders happy.
2. Identify three clear goals that support your initiative – HOW
Once you have a clear and agreed upon elevator pitch, you also need to articulate how you are going to accomplish this initiative. These three goals will also set up how you will operationalize your plan. Dr. Qaqish provided the following examples:
- Shift how we communicate with our customers
- Shift how the customer experiences our company
- Shift what we measure
You can then connect your elevator pitch to your stated goals:
Everything we do begins with the customer, not with us and not with our products. By reframing our focus through the lens of the customer, we can now create the connected experience our customers expect.
The net? We attract more new customers, who stay longer, buy more and make our shareholders happy.
3. Identify your key stakeholders
Customer centricity may be led by the marketing team, but it is realized across all functions of the organization, which is why identifying the roles and responsibilities is a crucial step. Dr. Qaqish recommended to keep in mind the following types of roles:
- Contributor – Directly and actively contributes to the initiative.
- Influencer – Roles that may contribute indirectly but can influence the initiative.
- Gatekeeper – Roles that may present barriers to the initiative.
- Reaper – Roles that may not contribute but will reap the benefits of this initiative.
4. Craft an internal communications plan
Finally, the last portion of your initial plan will be an internal communications plan. Communication is the number one predictor of the success for any change initiative. This outline should include the following communication characteristics:
- Target Audience
- Content Type
- Resources Required
Dr. Qaqish closed the workshop with a list of homework items for attendees to take their strategy into action in preparation for the next session on Tuesday, February 19th. You can view the workshop recording here and download the PowerPoint deck here to listen to and read at your leisure and fine-tune your action plan.
Approaching the shift to customer-centricity is a big job, but we’d love to help! You aren’t too late to join the three-part digital workshop free of charge entitled, “How to Adopt Customer Centricity in a Product-Centric World” led by Dr. Debbie Qaqish, our Chief Strategy Officer. Every attendee will receive a workbook to help craft their plan during the sessions. We will also host office hours in between sessions where anyone can join to ask specific questions on how to build your plan.