Monday, February 27, 2006

Microsoft Origami - how to NOT do customer evidence

If any of you have been following the Microsoft Origami saga, this is a good example of how not to promote your customer work.

Microsoft are allegedly releasing a new product codenamed origami. They've put together a web site to create a buzz around the launch. In an unusual move for Microsoft they're trying to do this in a viral way - the actual announcement isn't happening until March 2, and the site isn't giving too much away. However, Digital Kitchen (a nu meeja shop) post examples of their client work on their web site - including a product video for the Origami product (a handheld device)!

Needless to say, DK took the video down pretty quickly, but not fast enough - it's now been captured by lots of other sites and it's doing the rounds of the blogs.

You've got to hope that this was a deliberate ploy by MS, otherwise someone at DK's going to be feeling pretty unhappy.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Measuring and demonstrating value

Much of the work that I carry out is focused on demonstrating the value of our clients' offerings - through customer advocacy, influencer engagement, or customer DM. An article in this month's HBR discusses the importance of backing up any of your claims with concrete evidence, obviously something that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone working on producing customer evidence!
"Customer value proposition" has become one of the most widely used terms in business markets in recent years. Yet there is no agreement as to what constitutes a customer value proposition-or what makes one persuasive. Moreover, we find that most value propositions make claims of savings and benefits to the customer without backing them up. An offering may actually provide superior value-but if the supplier doesn't demonstrate and document that claim, a customer manager will likely dismiss it as marketing puffery.

And no one wants to be accused of marketing puffery.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Talking to clients, one by one

CMO magazine has a great article on why professional service companies shouldn't produce corporate brochures.

Our clients have a wide variety of complex problems that we help them to solve, or as CMO magazine puts it...

"It's not a refrigerator. ...with professional services. Ten clients who need tax help, for example, probably all need different types of help. The needs of professional-service clients vary too widely for generic marketing. So a critical guerrilla marketing principle applies: One size fits none."

I absolutely agree with this approach - especially within tech consulting. The key is not to talk, but to listen. I can then deliver a personal response that addresses their unique problems.