Are you competing in a category bubble or beyond?

I recently gave a keynote on CX being the competitive differentiator! Where empathy is the key to creating human to human experience to improve engagement. But what does that mean and why do some measurements fail to unlock customer growth? Is it important to understand the emotion behind the decision-making processes associated with purchase behaviour?


Understanding share of spend, and how people allocate their money is complex. I don’t propose to pick this apart now, but it got me thinking about the competitive landscape and how this is changing with customer needs and wants.


Companies can get stuck in trying to compete for share in markets which are perceived as closed – they satisfy the one customer need and that is it! But is this true? Re-visiting the Wallet Allocation Rule (Timothy Keiningham, Lerzan Aksoy and Luke Williams) the use of NPS doesn’t always convert to spend or return customer. But considering how customers allocate their spend to meet their needs impacts share? But what share?


On a hot sunny day “I want something refreshing and tasty as I need to cool down” – the customer needs and wants are clear in this example. However, the solution could be different. This could be a cold fizzy drink. But are brands in this category just competing in a bubble of other soft drinks? There are other products which also meet those same needs, but are in a different category such as Ice Cream. By understanding the customer needs and outcomes your business fulfils, you can burst out of traditional category bubbles; meet the same needs in new market sectors, driving growth.


This can also be the case when buying services. I have, at times, felt pigeon-holed when introduced to others; I have been described as a specialist in Customer Research or Customer Service or Retail or Hospitality etc.. None of which are wrong, but my skills and experience go way beyond these limited tags, meeting the needs of the customer and focusing on their outcomes. As a result, I do not feel restricted to one or two skills or sectors, but can aide and develop CX across multiple sectors, and industries.


I have seen this coming for a while, but for me right now there is a collision happening between how we understand people to create brand engagement and how we measure and deliver Customer Experience - which is so exciting!!


But are companies who are measuring and recognizing the needs they fulfil for their customers be more able to adapt? Does combining excellent customer experience design with needs evaluation, earn brands the right to grow beyond their traditional market and burst into other category bubbles!


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