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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 (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 to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site Web strategy, technology, and design
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


In the olden days, external advisors would be called in whenever there is a problem to be solved.  Proposals would be reviewed, contracts negotiated, references checked, and the engagement would begin. The consulting team would show up, diagnose the source of the problem, and help the management team focus exclusively on getting rid of the bad.  Then the real problems would begin.

The problem with this traditional problem-solving model is that the focus on the bad means that the everyday good is ignored. And while the “bad” problem may be solved, inevitably new issues come up because less “good” is being done.

Enter Appreciative enquiry, an alternative facilitation process.  This approach focuses on what’s good – what’s right – and seeks to do more of it. In this way, the bad is “pushed” out. As someone who has facilitated groups using both traditional and appreciate enquiry processes, there is a huge difference in the minds of the participants.

  • When the focus is on dissecting the problem – when the focus is on the bad… everyone feels bad. The problem looms large.
  • When the focus is on the good… everyone feels good. They feel that they can take on the world.  And they do.

While this description is necessarily simplified, the concept is a powerful one – and illustrates how a simple change in methodology can have a dramatic influence on the outcome.

This week’s action plan:  If you were managing a team, which would you prefer – a group that felt beaten up, or a group that felt they could accomplish anything? This week, before jumping to the solution to your next problem, consider how an appreciative enquiry process might be used.

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

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


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Choosing your focus

by Randall Craig January 18, 2013

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Eight Great Social Media Reads

by Randall Craig December 21, 2012

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Social Networking Integration

by Randall Craig November 30, 2012

Have you ever considered how some words (and technologies) are so important, yet in the fullness of time completely disappear?  Buggy whips, Barrel makers (“coopers”), and Telex machines  are but a few examples.  Not fifteen years ago, the term “ebusiness” was popular, until people figured out that there was no such thing as ebusiness – […]

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Online Customer Service

by Randall Craig August 31, 2012

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by Randall Craig July 26, 2012

Look around: who are the Social Media go-to people in your office?  Look around again, and identify the people with the strongest business acumen.  In almost all organizations, the first group is younger, with-it hipsters, while the second group is typically much older.  Getting these groups on the same Social Media strategy page  can be […]

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Social Media Measurement

by Randall Craig April 12, 2012

How do you know if you are successful at Social Media?  While the answer a few years ago may have been it’s so experimental, we’ll have to see, the answer from some today is similarly dissatisfying:  Social Media ROI is comparable to computing the ROI of a telephone. We can do better than this – […]

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Social Media Carrot and Stick

by Randall Craig March 22, 2012

While corporations are trying to figure out how to use the Social Media carrot to entice their customers to buy, their customers are using a powerful Social Media stick when it comes to expressing their disappointment and dissatisfaction. In the olden days, corporate policy may have been the customer is always right. Today it is […]

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Three lessons from the Facebook prospectus

by Randall Craig February 23, 2012

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Viewpoint: Planning for an Uncertain Future

by Randall Craig November 23, 2011

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by Randall Craig September 20, 2011

Have you ever thought about how to become more creative?  One way is to expose yourself to ideas just beyond “the usual”: ideas that challenge you to think differently, or expose you to experiences that are well beyond your immediate knowledge.  With so much available on the web, it is easy to forget that books […]

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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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by Randall Craig June 14, 2011

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