Inoculating companies against inaction, irrelevance, inflexibility and instability.

ANTIGEN: Broken Multichannel Touchpoint Strategy

Just read this from Forrester and it brought me to the inability to meet consumer’s multi-channel needs ANTIGEN.

Seventy percent of US online consumers research products online and purchase them offline. Based on this behavior, Forrester has identified two consumer categories: multichannel buyers and online window shoppers. Multichannel buyers use the Web for both research and purchases, while online window shoppers use the Web exclusively for researching their offline purchases. Multichannel buyers are almost six times more numerous. They are also more affluent and savvier online users than online window shoppers. The demographic and psychographic differences between these two consumer segments, and examples of how top US retailers are evolving their multichannel strategies in response, offer insights into how eBusiness professionals can enable multichannel consumer behavior.”

So, do you have what it will take to close the loop on your consumer’s online-to-offline needs?

Here is a snapshot of many different touch-point channel opportunities. You should be able to quickly determine if you have a closed-loop strategy to meet more of the complex needs of today’s consumers–or not.

In short, are you thinking about all the ways your business can and should meet the expectations of tomorrow’s customers?

  1. Social Networking
  2. Widgets/Tools
  3. Vodcasts
  4. Natural Search Engines (eg. Google)
  5. RSS Feeds
  6. Print Advertising
  7. Portal Widgets/Tools
  8. Desktop Widgets/Tools
  9. Affiliates (non-dealer)
  10. All Brand Web sites
  11. Events
  12. Broadcast
  13. Video interview (eg. YouTube)
  14. Blogs
  15. Catalog
  16. Customer Service
  17. Direct one-to-one Emails
  18. Distributor/Dealer Events
  19. Marketing emails
  20. Forums
  21. Email to a Friend
  22. Dealer Websites
  23. Dealer Stores
  24. Mobile
  25. Podcasts
  26. POP
  27. PR
  28. Product Returns
  29. Product Exchanges
  30. Product or Service Warranties
  31. Online Personal Data
  32. Payment
  33. Balance Checking
  34. Order Tracking
  35. Account Management
  36. Wishlist Management
  37. Opt-in/Opt-out Management
  38. Password Recovery
  39. Gift Card Purchase/Redemption/Balance Checking
  40. Holiday/Gifting Logistics Related Capabilities
  41. Holiday Hold
  42. Delayed Shipping
  43. Ask a Question
  44. Take Customer Satisfaction Survey
  45. General Feedback
  46. Rush Shipping
  47. Gift Services
  48. Purchase an Item
  49. Purchase Item Using Catalog Number
  50. Edit a Wishlist
  51. Create a Wish List
  52. Delete an Account
  53. Edit an Account
  54. Create an Account
  55. Order Re-tracking
  56. Delete a Wishlist
  57. Send a Wishlist
  58. Purchase an Item from a Wishlist
  59. Opt-in for Emails
  60. Recover Password Again
  61. Opt-out for Catalog
  62. Opt-in for Catalog
  63. Product Reviews
  64. Complain about Service

*attribution to Twiss Interactive for this exhaustive list of touch points.

Filed under: Brands, Consumer, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Doing things you think will be messy

Sometimes you have to kiss a monkey to see what you cannot yet imagine.

Sometimes you have to kiss a monkey to see what you cannot yet imagine.

Great email yesterday from a Spanish gentleman who was referencing my last post about inefficiency of brainstorming. He said, “to gain the outcome you want from brainstorming, you have to get messy. Do things you haven’t done before. Kill ideas and rebuild them backwards.”

Then he said, “Sometimes you have to kiss a monkey to see what you cannot yet imagine.”

Genius. I love that.

Filed under: Innovation, ,

Innovation Antigen::Brainstorming a Waste of Time

In the last month, I have been working on an innovation antigen. I am not nearly done yet but want to share some progress here and now. This is an antigen that will help surface the need for change at the leadership level. This is not new stuff. Everyone knows companies need to be innovative. And everyone knows the typical CIO-driven organization does not have the tools, propensity or courage to invite innovation in the door. That is one problem. The other more menacing problem is that many companies feel or believe they are innovating with little or no success when they aren’t being innovative at all. This sours their appetite for continued innovation. If it hasn’t worked for them in the past, regardless of how they did it, they do not want to invite it back in to ravage their modest progress along the knowable lines of average.  In other words, they have little faith innovation can be predictable, manageable and repeatable. This I learned from

My aim is to point to the source of innovation latency and help uncover what isn’t working. Companies of all types and sizes should be able to perform their own “innovation quality checks” by evaluating prime variables affecting positive innovation. The reality is simple. It takes a lot of time, heaps of patience and a willingness to surrender control where control has lent the most comfort in the past…at the top. In my experience, innovation is far more likely to originate in a bottom-up rather than a top down fashion.  Also, in my most recent experience, innovation is deflated by a leadership that is scared and bound by need for control and lack of confidence and curiosity. Firms who’ve made modest earnings with faith in the status quo and comfort in the pragmatic are at most risk. Here are the basic dimensions that will help you determine your company’s climate for innovation.

leaders with no followers

leaders with no followers

  • Do we have a clear strategy to innovate? This is found by asking the question: “what services and products do we offer and how much are we willing to invest to make them better, more profitable or successful?”Chances are that you do not have in place, what it takes to make better situations occur from an innovation strategy. Otherwise you would not be taking the time to read this. Adopting the right innovation strategy can be simple if you are asking yourself honest questions and supplying equally honest answers.
  • Do we have the right processes in place to realize the right innovation for us? Processes are the workflows you have adopted to achieve your desired service or product outcomes. This is where I have lost all faith in brainstorming. It is most likely a waste of your time. Brainstorming is often the “re-arrangement” of all the thoughts and ideas you already have, re-purposed in safe variants too close to what you likely already have. You have to look at more stuff, think about it harder and be willing to surrender everything you have to bring something new into its place. This is critical. You have to be willing to adopt processes that allow the act of destruction in order to create new conventions. For quickest results, try a wholesale destruction of your current process. Allow yourselves to believe that breakthroughs tend to come from a perception system (or process) that is confronted with something it doesn’t know how to interpret. In other words, kill your process early and often. Re-invent processes to innovates.
  • Do we have measurable goals? No matter how much stuff you come up with, if it isn’t aligning to a goal, it’s merely cognitive masturbation. Try to bring simple goals to the table before you do anything else. If your measurement is, “come up with something the CEO likes, the president thinks is going to work or the CIO is willing to invest in, your already screwed. Those aren’t objectively measurable and in fact, invite the cancer back in. Instead, have a test group of outside potential users use them in prototype form and see how they react. Better yet, embark on a cyclical innovation process allowing your tweaks to any innovation to test with real users over and over again, allowing you to gradually perfect your new ideas with the test group. Then show how your progressive innovation process is gaining incremental successes with real users. Then show that to the C suite.
  • Do we have people who possess innovative skills or ideas? Yes you do. You have to let them do it.
  • Do we have the right leadership? –No.

Filed under: Innovation, , , ,