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Planning

Consumerization

by Randall Craig on December 23, 2016

Filed in: Associations, Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management

Tagged as: ,

Wikipedia defines consumerization as the reorientation of product and service designs to focus on (and market to) the end user as an individual consumer, vs an earlier era of organization-oriented offerings.  It speaks to growing markets by looking for a completely different category of buyer, who may also be an influencer for the organizational purchase.

Of greater relevance, however, is looking at consumerization from the buyer’s perspective.  Consider:

  • “consumerized” members of an association may no longer see membership as a great investment: they may compare membership with alternatives, and decide that something – or anything – is a better use of their funds: impacts membership.
  • “consumerized” staff may prefer their own computers (and smartphones) over the “clunky” official tech gear: impacts IT planning, IT security, and brand.
  • “consumerized” clients may suddenly look elsewhere for answers to their problems… including Google, LinkedIn groups, and your competitors:  impacts both marketing strategy, and revenue.
  • “consumerized” learners may prefer to learn at a time of their choosing using Lynda.com (now part of Microsoft/LinkedIn), instead of attending your “official” professional development offerings: impacts training strategy (and training providers!)

If the internet (and Amazon) has taught us anything, it is that we are fast approaching a time with almost perfect access, both to information and capability.  It takes merely seconds to find an answer on Google, and mere minutes to set up a server on the Amazon cloud.

This week’s action plan:  Imagine a time, five years in the future, when you are competing in a completely consumerized market.  While it is a significant analytical exercise to imagine what this looks like, this week’s action plan is more practical:  what is your organization doing, right now, that you don’t think measures up to consumer choice?  Then either up your game and choose to compete with this, or give it up and redeploy your resources to an activity that has consumer “legs”.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site

www.108ideaspace.com: Web strategy, technology, and design
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

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Why are all consulting projects not wildly successful?  Why are some merely acceptable, and others fail?

Without a doubt, consultants are often to blame: they over-promise, under-scope, or take on assignments with unrealistic deadlines.  Yet clients also control the outcome of the engagement, and often, unwittingly, sabotage their consultants.

Here are six ways this is done:

1) Selection process for consultants is too costly.  The best firms are very busy, especially in the hottest fields.  They won’t go through what they see as unreasonable “hoops” or costly processes to bid – but many mediocre firms will.  The result is a choice of B list players, driving up risk.  To solve this, review your procurement process to ensure that the right consultants actually choose to bid.

2) Fee pressure affects work effort.  An open and frank discussion on work effort and fees is critical.  The best consultants would never compromise their reputation by taking on work that couldn’t be done within the budget.  Yet, if there is undue pressure on fees, then something, somewhere, must be cut:, fewer senior resources, less time on discovery, less time exploring options, recommendations, or implementation.  As a result, project risk goes through the roof.  (On the other hand, any consultant who pads their fees will quickly find themselves without clients, and without a reputation.)

3) No “swilling the broth”. A poorly-defined engagement is where the consultant is constrained from doing an appropriate discovery.  On the other side of the coin, the term swilling the broth is about consultants who do a great job of discovery, swill their findings together, and then feed you back your own broth. The most effective engagements include a discovery phase where the consultant surfaces issues and ideas… but also where the consultant adds their deep experience and knowledge of best practice.

4) No internal alignment.  A successful engagement requires cooperation, not just between the consultant and the client, but also within the client. If some internal groups have differing priorities – or are concerned about the impact of the consultant’s recommendations – they will not fully engage with the consultant.  Or, they may actively sabotage the engagement’s success.  Internal alignment is critical.

5) Project delays.  The consulting team that is working on your project is actually juggling a number of different priorities: other projects, business development/proposal writing, scheduled training courses, personal vacations, and internal firm commitments.   When your project is resourced, there is a certain amount of flexibility, but not an infinite amount of it.  Delays increase the cost of the project to the consultant immeasurably:  momentum is lost, project management costs increase, and other projects begin to take priority.  Even more importantly, delays signal that the project is a lesser priority, both internally and with the consultant.

6) Payment delays.  Like any business, consulting firms need to pay their expenses.  Since many consultants bill at the end of the month, and many clients take 30 days to pay, there is often a gap of 60 days between when an expense is incurred and the payment received.  When the delays are even greater, consultants are even less motivated to go the extra mile.  (Conversely, quick payment is exceptionally motivating.)

This week’s action plan:  In 30+ years of consulting, I have never seen a client who intentionally sabotages their project.  But I have seen many clients who ask “how can we be a better client?”  The answer to this question will have a direct impact on the quality of the project.  This week, if you use consultants, ask them this question.

And if you serve clients… How might you help your clients be better clients? Since it takes two to tango, go through this list again, and pinpoint your role in each.

 

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register. 

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site

www.108ideaspace.com: Web strategy, technology, and design
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

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11 ways to build creativity into brainstorming

by Randall Craig September 30, 2016

Many leaders find themselves faced with the difficult task of harnessing their team’s creativity to solve challenging problems.  Yet so often, group brainstorming yields little or no significant benefits.  Why? Sometimes it is a question of facilitation skills.  Sometimes a lack of creative process.  But often it is because of one key fact that is […]

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Insight: Building High Performance Boards

by Randall Craig September 2, 2016

Have you ever considered why some boards (or senior management teams) are more effective than others? While the usual reasons may include individual skills and knowledge, attitude, strong staff support, and infrastructure, one of the most powerful drivers of board performance – and also one of the most overlooked – is the onboarding process. Consider: […]

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11 travel hacks

by Randall Craig August 19, 2016

Are you one of those people who despise air travel? Or wish that you could somehow tolerate it, just a little bit more? It is true, in the 1950s travel was a grand affair: it was special. By the 1980s not as much, but there was still an aura of dignity. Today, air travel is […]

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Today Marketing or Tomorrow Marketing

by Randall Craig June 26, 2015

Think what it was like to be Lewis Downing Jr:  Back in the mid-late 1800’s, he was the President of the Abbot-Downing Company, one of America’s most celebrated stagecoach manufacturers.  He was at the top of his game, literally opening up the west with his vehicles.  Lewis Downing Jr. supported an entire industry, from wagon wheel makers […]

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Ten Tests: Can Your Website Live Through One More Year?

by Randall Craig August 23, 2013

How long do you keep your car?  Some people swap their car every 2-3-4 years, while others keep them for ten, and run them into the ground.  There are pros and cons to both strategies, and endless arguments about which is best: older cars have higher maintenance costs, sport some rust, and look dated.  But […]

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Social Media Planning Calendar

by Randall Craig April 19, 2013

How do you organize your Social Media activities?  Most people have a system – whiteboards, excel documents, Google Calendar, or often, scraps of paper.  Unfortunately, none of these are particularly effective, nor are they efficient.  And they certainly don’t help you share your activities with your colleagues. Our take on scheduling and planning:  Social Media […]

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Your Daily Social Media Routine

by Randall Craig June 14, 2012

How do you spend the first 20 minutes at the office each day? If you were in the 1970’s, you would spend the time reading the newspaper, then organizing your inbox (the box on your desk), and finally looking at your calendar before “starting” your day. In the 1980’s, you would be doing the same, […]

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13 Social Media New Year’s Resolutions

by Randall Craig December 20, 2011

Are you one of those people who have given up on New Year’s resolutions?  If you are active on the Social Web, an annual review – and a few resolutions – can make a significant difference to your effectiveness.  Here’s my take on a few you should consider: This Week’s (Year’s) Action Plan: Review and […]

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Viewpoint: Planning for an Uncertain Future

by Randall Craig November 23, 2011

In 1997 there was no Google. In 2002 there was no Facebook. There was no Twitter in 2004, and the iPad only made it’s debut in 2009. There is no indication that the pace of innovation will slow, so how can you plan for the future when the target is moving , and moving quickly? […]

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Backwards Thinking

by Randall Craig June 22, 2011

How often do you crack open the instruction manual for the new TV, car, or piece of software? If you’re like most, the answer is never. Reading through an endless list of functions is both irrelevant, and incredibly dull. In other words, a colossal waste of time. Why then, when it comes to social media […]

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Prep the Night Before

by Randall Craig March 3, 2010

How often have you booked an early morning meeting (or airplane flight), and needed to be out the door far earlier than normal? Or stressed over a critical meeting, hoping that everything will turn out right? One of the most powerful concepts in time management (and in project management) is the concept of prep the […]

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Plant a seed and something will grow

by Randall Craig December 26, 2006

If you are reading this on the day that it is published, then I have a secret to share with you. I came up with the idea for today’s tipsheet last month. Then, about two weeks before “today”, I wrote the Tip. I edited it the next week. And then I used a nifty feature […]

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