Continuing our series of guest blog posts from Customer Management expert, Peter Lavers.

This series of blogs explores how different aspects of Insight can be used to drive B2B Customer Management.

In post number 3 we consider the importance of customer insight to B2B branding & proposition development.

Knowledge is the starting point for our Customer Attuned Assessment (CAA®) methodology, which is about building better CAA modelrelationships based on trust; working together for mutual commercial benefit. The sub-sections that sit beneath the model (illustrated) have been arranged to give twelve “golden threads” of critical CM capability.

These blogs draw from the international research exercise undertaken in summer 2015 regarding their relative strategic priority, and the CAA® benchmark database.

“Brand & Proposition” came out as 3rd priority overall in the research. A company that has this as a defining characteristic of its corporate DNA:

  • Has clearly defined its brand personality and is excellent at marketing itself above and below the line in its target markets
  • Punches above its weight in terms of brand awareness and reputation for trustworthiness, working relationship and value
  • Has developed very clear needs-based propositions for their customer experience, products and service. These will vary by customer value, with higher levels of individual tailoring and seniority of account management for the highest value/potential (i.e. key) accounts
  • Has hard-nosed propositions that are promises that are kept, not vacuous “we’ll try to” statements
  • Has staff who are clear on how to deliver these differentiated propositions effectively, whilst still providing a good basic level of service to all

This capability area was actually rated as no. 1 priority by the highest proportion of individual respondents but only 35% included it in their top 3, which is why it came out 3rd overall.

The priority ranking by sector, region, business size and seniority are presented below.

Peter Lavers table 3

It shows a wide disparity of preference across groups, with particular emphasis of priority in the board rooms of smaller European Insurance companies and Marketing agencies.

Benchmarks

The chart presents the highest, lowest and mean (benchmark) scores for companies on the CAA® database for the knowledge aspect of this golden thread, which is all about intelligence for customer value proposition (CVP) development.

Peter Lavers graph 3It shows that one B2B company has indeed effectively deployed the best practices of Brand & Proposition Insight. This underlines the achievability of CAA® capabilities.

The range between highest & lowest scores is the largest of the 12, and the benchmark score is eminently achievable.

The companies that have prioritised Brand & Proposition, therefore, can strategically aim towards the top levels of capability.

It is frankly astonishing that some companies in the sector have no relevant insight for CVP development. These tend to be the more autocratically led organisations – do they consider that their brand doesn’t need managing?

This all shows that many B2B companies still have significant work to do in CVP development: “We are in the process of re-defining our proposition and making it more customer-centric. Having been product-led for decades, we have to deliver what customers want, not what we want to supply” (Auto, UK)

In order to score well in this section of CAA®, a business needs to have solid capabilities in the following areas:

  • Do you track your company’s reputation and brand health?
  • Do you research the needs of your customer and of their consumer/end-user groups?
  • Is there a competitor intelligence database that includes analyses of CVP strengths & weaknesses, and cost comparisons vs. market norms?

How do you rank? Have you experienced the marketing capability that Peter shares? How did you use insight to make the difference?