¿Que ocurre cuando juntas a cuatro amigos enamorados por el B2B? Pues que surgen conversaciones muy interesantes. Si encima el reto es compartir experiencias relacionadas con la #internacionalizacion , surge la magia.
Recojo algunas de las ideas de esa sesión, donde aprendí muchísimo con vosotros:
LA INTERNACIONALIZACIÓN Y EL B2B:
El B2B es “sexy” con casos de uso atómicos, aunque tenga peor prensa o sea más desconocido que el B2C.
Todo es global, la internacionalización no es una opción sino un hecho: clientes, proveedores, mercado de talento, procesos, herramientas, tecnología,… todo funciona a escala internacional.
El CLIENTE EN EL CENTRO:
La importancia de poner al cliente en el centro desde la propia conceptualización del producto con R&D. Que la fábrica vaya a visitar a los clientes con Ventas y observe el producto siendo utilizado en la realidad.
La sensibilidad local de Marketing y Ventas es fundamental, son actividades que no se pueden hacer desde un centro de excelencia a kilómetros de distancia del cliente.
Tener en cuenta a las fuerzas comerciales locales desde el diseño del producto en fases tempranas, porque son las que conocen al cliente.
En B2B típicamente conocemos la identidad de nuestro comprador más allá de un “buyer persona” genérico, y eso es una ventaja a la hora de formular la propuesta de valor.
Las startups como ejemplo de empresas nativas globales: su mercado es el mundo, porque buscan no geografías sino oportunidades para sus casos de uso y masa crítica, y tienen la opción de desembarcar sin un complejo despliegue de recursos y entrar y salir de ciertos países con cierta agilidad.
La mentalidad española en entornos complejos de gran incertidumbre funciona muy bien.
LA COMPONENTE LOCAL:
El caso de uso en B2B es típicamente bastante más local que en el mundo B2C, porque los procesos industriales y empresariales tienen una componente local muy importante.
El proceso de compra varía según geografías: en algunos países es muy lineal (un embudo de conversión), en otros más iterativo (una rueda).
La ventaja en Europa de entender la diversidad. Llevamos décadas teniendo en cuenta cómo es trabajar en mercados con marcos regulatorios diferentes, idiomas distintos, usos y costumbres diversos.
Los procesos de compras en B2B se ven afectados por los hábitos de compra en B2C, porque nos hemos acostumbrado como usuarios al “best-in-class” del mundo Retail y buscamos esos niveles de servicio en B2B.
La Venta se sustenta sobre muchos otros procesos en el back: compras de materias primas, manufacturing, supply chain,… y las roturas de las cadenas de suministros en el pasado reciente así lo demuestran. Cada vez el proceso de venta es más tecnológico y depende de muchos actores para poder ejecutarse.
Oportunidad de transformación digital en operaciones, la gestión de la información y el apoyo de los procesos operativos a través de herramientas de inteligencia artificial.
La importancia de la medición, que el producto o servicio en operación genere datos y tengamos claro el modelo de explotación de ese dato.
Orquestar código con soluciones low-code y no-code.
Innovación abierta y colaboración con start-ups.
Skin in the game.
Las grandes gestas empresariales han ocurrido en épocas complicadas económicamente.
La empresa ambidiestra: exploración y explotación.
Incentivos generan comportamientos.
Matriz Real-Win-Worth: “Is it Real, can we Win, is it Worth?”.
“Business has only two basic functions: Marketing and Innovation”
Having devoted my working life as a Strategist and Marketer to Innovation in a number of companies and sectors, I can’t be more aligned with the father of modern Management, Peter Drucker, when he said that without a customer, no business would ever exist. Therefore the fundamental presence of Marketing and Innovation in my professional career resonates so much with what I believe makes businesses possible.
A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from one of the most relevant Spanish business schools. They wanted me to provide them with insights about the content that a new B2B Marketing executive program should include. So I started reflecting on my early years at 3M as a Marketer and later as a Strategist.
I would like to capture in this post a framework and a vision on how I would create an innovative Marketing unit from scratch if I was given that mission today, and the capabilities a modern marketer should have in my view these days.
Let’s start with the basics. I do believe there are two fundamental dimensions in Marketing:
Doing the right things – Doing things right
A Marketer has to focus on what matters first, doing the right things. But when those things are clear, he has to make sure that execution is flawless. Both capabilities are fundamental and finding someone who masters the two of them is quite unique. I have seen brilliant “thinkers” – “strategists” and outstanding “doers”, but normally they are not the same animal.
Exploitation – Exploration
A Marketer has to master short term execution (“exploitation”) while at the same time he must find bandwidth for envisioning what it is to come (“exploration”). Again, it is difficult to find individuals who can perform both roles, and from the cognitive standpoint I strongly believe the brain cannot handle playing both roles together at the same time. Allocating time and energy for each of the two disciplines is key.
If we would merge the two dimensions together, we would end up with a matrix like this one, with what I call the 4 fundamental capabilities an innovative Marketing team should have:
So now we have a framework so we can move on and dig deeper. The question then would be: what Marketing disciplines are expected under each of those 4 fundamental key capabilities of a modern and innovative marketing team? Let’s review them together:
STRATEGIC FORESIGHT (Doing the right things + Exploration)
Someone once said that “the best way to predict the future is to create it”. Understanding what the future will bring, the new market trends and how value platforms and ecosystems will be reshaping, gives an advantage to every marketer with the ability to explore the future.
Predictive Analytics will leverage the power of Data and will anticipate the probability of future competitive scenarios. Propensity models, customer retention alarms, up-selling and cross-selling opportunities discovery, content personalization,… are just a few of the possibilities Data bring to marketing organizations.
Understanding Value Ecosystems Maps (complementing Michel Porter’s Value Chains), assessing potential coopetition opportunities, exploring alliances and partnerships to deliver added value to the customer,… moves the competitive paradigm from a “zero-sum game” to an endless world of possibilities.
Futures Thinking or the systematic study of the “possible, probable and preferable”, provides marketers with a semi-structured approach to better understand what the future may bring.
BUSINESS MODELLING (Doing the right things + Exploitation)
While the term “business modelling” can also be used for exploring new disruptive business opportunities, I am referring to it in this cluster associated to everything related with the classic and fundamental marketing skills: creating and delivering value for the customer.
The Marketing 4 Ps described by Kotler are now frequently replaced for new paradigms in Marketing, but I do believe they are still 100% valid. Product is the cornerstone of the 4 Ps, as delivering a strong product and a powerful value proposition related to it (addressing customer pains and opportunities), is a foundational element of business success. Optimal Pricing plays a pivotal role in achieving profitable growth. Dynamic pricing, value pricing, price elasticity,… are just basic concepts a modern marketer must deeply understand. Promotion and brand management are necessary elements of the communication with the customer. Understanding market dynamics, channel management and Placement, very often differentiates the marketing rock starts from the others.
Portfolio management (new product introduction, product discontinuation,…) is the bread and butter of a marketing strategy. Most successful companies are very often those who shine in this discipline (e.g. Apple, Zara, 3M,…)
Strong market segmentation capabilities and Customer Lifetime Value management will tell you if everything done in Performance Marketing was worth the effort and a recurring business has been achieved, or acquisition costs have been wasted.
[ Keywords: Business Model / Product / Price / Placement / Promotion / Portfolio / Channel / Distribution / Research / Design Thinking / UX / Human Centered Design / Market Segmentation / Brand / Product Life Cycle / Customer Lifetime Value / Partners / Cost Structure / Revenue Streams / Value Proposition / ABM Account Based Marketing / Inbound Marketing / Content Marketing / Affiliate Marketing ]
OPERATIONAL EXCELENCE (Doing the things right + Exploitation)
This capability is about flawless execution at scale. Priorities have already been defined and now it is time for performing like hell. This is one of the most relevant levers in native digital businesses, while it is being widely adopted by legacy companies as well.
It is also the discipline of Marketing Automation, to ensure the right proposition arrives to the right customer at the right time, supported by strong automation platforms and solid customers and leads databases with a sharp segmentation (CRM).
Strong Loyalty schemes frequently improve customer retention and increase the yield of the existing customer base.
In companies like start-ups where there is not a solid track-record or a historical business to manage, Growth Hacking is frequently a discipline and an attitude where “growth” is the mantra and funnel conversion KPIs are like the North Star.
[Keywords: CRM / SEM / SEO / Display / CRO / Loyalty / Growth Hacking / Analytics / Marketing Automation / CPC / PPC / CPA / CPM / Trade Marketing / Inbound Marketing / Social Selling / Employee Advocacy / NPS / Customer Satisfaction / Service and Aftersales]
TECHNOLOGY ACUMEN (Doing the things right + Exploration)
Technology has always been an accelerator for change. There are two approaches to technology from a Marketing perspective: utilize it for the benefit of operational excellence (e.g.: RPA Robot Process Automation, Marketing Automation,…) or fully embracing it to incorporate it as a fundamental element of your product / service offering (e.g.: cognitive assistants, AR / VR experiences,…). I am covering here the second, when technology is not an enabler for your product offering but an element of it. In that situation, marketers need to understand and explore the possibilities of technology to incorporate it as an essential element of the value proposition.
While pure tech players will drive technology as a core competence and will develop it internally, if you are a marketer in a non tech industry chances are high that you will need to search for it outside. If that is the case, there are a number of possibilities (externalize R&D, embrace Open Innovation initiatives, acquire technology to incorporate to your product,…)
[Keywords: RPA / AR / VR / AI / Cognitive / Voice / R&D / Open Innovation / Corporate Venture Capital / Startup / Intrapreneurship]
So… are these capabilities above everything that a Marketing team should have? No, I have been just focusing on the pure marketing practice, but I would strongly recommend to complement the Marketing team with these other disciplines as well:
P&L literacy: knowing how to build and action a profit and loss statement and how different revenue streams and cost drivers affect to the overall profitability of the business.
Project Management skills: from classic project management to agile and scrum basics, in order to be effective and efficient when managing the business.
Soft skills: Negotiation expertise, team management mastery and strong empathy with customers and stakeholders.
Sensitivity towards environmental sustainability: understanding how sustainability is reshaping the whole business landscape and drives customer willingness to interact and buy from corporations.
Having reflected about all these capabilities required to run a solid Marketing team these days, I’m curious about the feedback that my colleagues and friends will provide. Are you missing something? Do you have another view on everything above?
Having worked for 3M for most of my professional life, transitioning from Product Design to Service Design almost a couple of years ago was a pivoting time in my life.
Ever since then, I’ve been reflecting on the skills, methodology and attitude that 3M taught me and helped me so much during my transition to Iberia Airlines.
Some days ago, I decided to merge the talent of my current Service Design team at Iberia with the vast Innovation knowledge from my former colleagues at 3M by visiting the 3M Innovation Center in Madrid. It was a highly pleasant evening and it was beautiful to see that, when in 3M facilities, I still feel at home.
The following lines are a distilled and very personal view on what makes 3M such a massively powerful innovation engine. Why has 3M been an Innovation paradigm for so many years?
1. Embrace failing as part of succeeding
Nowadays this attitude is a kind of mainstream mantra. It’s always quoted in “manager wannabes” airport business books. But when it comes to real business life, very few companies stay strong holding this principle.
3M has been one of those companies from the very beginning. One of the most influential 3M executives, William McKnight, has a number of quotes that are not surprising when formulated by modern executives like Steve Jobs but were absolutely innovative at McKnites time back in the 50s.
“As our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable tolerance. Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way. Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs. Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative. And it’s essential that we have many people with initiative if we are to continue to grow.”
Back in my 3M days, I have to say I never felt scared of committing any mistake as empowerment from senior managers was always a key cultural pillar.
2. Avoid the “silo mentality”. You are as strong as your network is
Back in 1968 Dr. Spencer Silver was trying to find a super powerful acrylic adhesive without much success. But he managed to understand the quite unique characteristics of the adhesive he had just created: it left very few residues and it was pressure-sensitive.
Years later, another 3M researcher called Art Fry thought about Dr. Silver adhesive when trying to attach the bookmarks he used for guiding himself along with his hymnal while singing in the church choir. Post-It had been accidentally invented.
Shouldn’t Silver and Fry been in contact nor their investigations available to each other, Post-It would have never been conceptualized and this iconic product from the ’80s and ’90s wouldn’t have existed.
During my time at 3M, I always felt supported by a massive network of colleagues just at my fingertips. It was a matter of calling or emailing them and I always got some kind of help.
3. Ensure pivoting is in your DNA
3M is the acronym for “Minnesota Mining Manufacturing”. The company started as a mining corporation, exploiting corundum. But soon the founders discovered that the mineral coming out of the mine was of much less quality and decided to pivot and produce sanding paper. Sanding was at that time dangerous as the particles created were inhaled by the workers. So 3M invented “Wetordry”, a waterproof paper that eliminated dust from the sanding process. The mineral that was not valuable from a mining perspective had become a key ingredient of the sanding paper industry.
A key lesson from this 3M beginning is the power of pivoting on your core strengths and embrace change when needed.
Ever since then the story of 3M if full of key investments and exits from businesses that were not fully aligned with core competencies.
While in 3M, I had the opportunity to reinvent myself a number of times: businesses, geographies, roles and responsibilities. Every 2-3 years a beautiful opportunity emerged and pivoting was possible.
4. Understand that there is no Innovation without customer demand
A former Sales Manager at 3M always said that “the best product sample is the one a customer buys” meaning that there is no way to understand customer propensity to buying by giving free products to them. Or like the old Marketing quote says “don’t tell me what you would buy, just show me your ticket”.
Customers lie every time. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes without purpose but just because we are all biased when confronting a “would you buy this?” type of question during customer research.
The only way to check customer demand is in real life, and 3M always had very clear that without customer demand there is no valuable innovation.
Coming back to the Post-It story, a very clever movement that Art Fry made was probing his boss that there was a real demand for his product. He gave free Post-It samples to assistants in several business units and when they were running out of samples they came back to Fry asking for some more. He then told them to ask their managers for the product and that way he probed the company that customers were really willing to use the new product.
When working at 3M for every new product launch I would build the RWW Real-Win-Worth model while analyzing the P&L potential impact by answering these questions: Is the opportunity Real? Can 3M win with it vs. competitors? Would it be worth it in terms of profit?
5. Co-create with customers all the time
Customer co-creation is now mainstream within the Service Design playbook but back in the 30s of the twentieth century was something absolutely new.
Most of the more powerful 3M inventions were conceived by working hand to hand with real users, shadowing them while they were performing their daily tasks and performing ethnographic research (e.g.: masking paper, Scotch tape,…).
There is no lab work powerful enough to replicate the real working conditions of a customer so observation in real life becomes crucial.
During my 13 years at 3M I estimate I have visited more than 500 customers from many industries (automotive, retail, industrial, electronics, public health,…) and countries. Every day in the field was a massive creativity boost.
6. Embrace a full international vision
Most companies claim to have an international vision, but very few manage to create a full international culture embracing at the same time the key central values of the corporation and the local uniqueness.
As markets and product categories evolve at a worldwide scale, leveraging the power of an international network (labs in more than 36 countries, business in more than 60 countries) is mandatory and facilitates anticipating megatrends and attending global customers demanding a unique value proposition independently from the business site.
Regionalization at 3M has occurred a number of times, adapting the organizational design to the geographies that make more sense from a business perspective.
When traveling around different subsidiaries, I always felt the regional flavor while acknowledging a unique culture of innovation and management.
7. Invest in Technology Platforms
3M devotes around 6% of the Sales to R&D (1.7 $B), which is not much comparing to other well-known innovation companies. Why this limited investment result in more than 3.000 new patents every year and new products accounting for more than 40% of the total revenue?
The secret is the “Technology Platform” approach to new product invention. Scientists in 3M bring in technical knowledge in more than 46 fields (e.g.: adhesives, additive manufacturing, micro-replication,…) which is later mapped to specific customer pains in what is called “Applications development”.
The beauty of this strategy is that investment in technology platforms development pays off in a number of applications in many industries creating massive synergies.
I still remember my first day at 3M, when I called my wife saying: “Honey, this looks like the James Bond lab, full of inventions with hundreds of applications”.
8. Fall in love with the problem, not with the solution
With such a bright technology available at your fingertips, it would be easy at 3M to come with a sophisticated technical solution to address a customer pain that was proven later that was not a pain at all.
Design Thinking was always in 3M DNA, with Marketers and Technical communities obsessed with “solving the right problem” before moving into “solving the problem right”.
I remember like if it was yesterday when a senior executive killed my initial product positioning strategy for an automotive aftermarket product family. I was then in love with in my view the smartest solution to an eroding business, but revisiting the issue while calling on additional customers absolutely changed my mind about what the issue really was. The outstanding performance of the product was useless as customers threw it away far ahead reaching its full potential. It was not a product technical challenge but a customer perception challenge.
9. Creative problem solving is key
“What if…” approach to key customer challenges is a fundamental technique at 3M. The most obvious solution is not always the better one. Exploring other paradigms, embracing technologies from other business practices, calling a colleague from a different sector always pays off.
Moon-shot thinking creates a mindset that defers judgment and creates the right atmosphere for addressing the underlying customer issues and opportunities.
I had the opportunity to participate in several product launches where creative problem solving was applied. For example, car painting is difficult because matching the original paint color is a challenge under interior car body shop light conditions, so why not bringing indoor the natural light tone created by the sun with the support of a “sun light” device?
10. Hire the best technical community in the World
3M has been led a number of decades by a strong technical community. Managers are necessary to manage, but technicians are the core of 3M innovation powerhouse.
There is not an easy balance between Marketing (responsible for targeting customers) and R&D (responsible for creating outstanding applications), but when squads of both communities worked together, magic happened.
Until now, I have sound respect for the technical community at 3M, always willing to help and create outstanding products to bring value to the company.
I’m absolutely in love with 3M, as much as I am with my current employer. My new role in Service Design in an airline makes me approach the question “what does 3M need to do in the future to stay at the front line in terms of being an innovation power house?” with new insights from the Service Design industry.
If I would need to choose three elements, it would be:
1. Embrace ecosystems and Open Innovation
As intelligent as your own employees may be, by definition there will always be more talent out of your company than inside of it. Why would you lose the opportunity to embrace such talent in an “Open Innovation” scheme where internal 3M talented individuals would work shoulder on shoulder with bright corporates and start-ups around?
I guess the fear of losing IP on the technology has prevented 3M from this exposure to the external ecosystem, but I believe it has come the time to open themselves to the bright future that external talent can represent.
2. Boost talent as the key competitive factor
Products and services are not any longer the key competitive factor of a company. They can be bought, copied, replicated, … while individuals cannot.
In the start-up world teams are very often the reason why investors support venture initiatives, as they know the product will very possibly change but the talent of the team will make pivoting fast and cheap possible.
3. Have an eye on the long run
Strong pressure to meet quarterly earnings targets can result in compromising the long-run strategy. Innovation needs some space to flourish, and fostering such conditions requires senior management to counterbalance short term goals with building the right capabilities for the future.
What was once one of the 3M management principles: “If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.” needs to get traction again.
El South Summit (https://www.southsummit.co/en) arrancaba hace unos días con la sesión Open Innovation Forum previa a la inauguración oficial del evento.
Comenzó como maestra de ceremonias María Benjumea, alma máter del evento, con mucha energía y poniendo en valor South Summit como el evento de emprendimiento más potente del Sur de Europa y Latinoamérica.
El padre de la Innovación Abierta, Henry Chesbrough, agitó conciencias poniendo de manifiesto que o las grandes corporaciones somos capaces de colaborar formando un ecosistema con proveedores, start-ups y otras corporaciones en una búsqueda obsesiva por encontrar bolsas de valor para el cliente, o nuestro futuro será complicado. Que Amazon haya sobrepasado a Walmart en capitalización bursátil no es casualidad, y gran parte de su éxito reside en saber generar economías de escala y alcance integrando en su plataforma a cientos de miles de stakeholders.
La Innovación Abierta permite romper el paradigma de que sólo las empresas con presupuesto elevado en R&D pueden innovar. De hecho las buenas ideas en un futuro muy presente serán muchas y al acceso de todo el mundo. El elemento diferencial será la capacidad de ejecutarlas.
Mario Pardo de BBVA reconoció la dificultad no ya de tener ideas de negocio relevantes sino de ponerlas en valor. En una industria como la banca regulada y tradicionalmente endogámica, abrazar la Innovación Abierta facilita a BBVA apoyarse en la inteligencia colectiva y el talento interno y externo.
Paul Misener de Amazon reflexionó sobre la obsesión por el cliente y la aceptación del error. La innovación es por definición un ejercicio de experimentación y existe la posibilidad de fallo. La mejora incremental es para Amazon deseable, pero no suficiente, por lo que apuntan a lo que denominan “Moonshots” ó proyectos radicales con efecto multiplicador. La toma de decisiones en Amazon es rápida para la mayor parte de los asuntos y solo hay un ínfimo porcentaje de decisiones sin retorno que son reflexionadas con mayor detenimiento, lo que les permite un “time to market” imbatible. Se rigen además por la “regla de las 2 pizzas”: un grupo operativamente eficaz no debe superar en número las 7-8 personas, que son las que se pueden alimentar con 2 pizzas 😉
Pau Contreras de Salesforce remarcó la importancia del cliente 100% conectado, que busca en todo momento una interacción con la empresa personalizada, sin fricciones y en tiempo real.
Vish Sowanide VISA habló del cambio de paradigma desde el modelo “Checkout” de relación con el cliente en el que solo conocemos de él una vez se ha ido, a un modelo “Checkin” en el que mucho antes de que haya interactuado con nosotros ya somos capaces de conocer sus deseos, preferencias y podemos adaptar nuestro servicio a él.
Ken Morse puso al público de pie. Este antiguo Director del MIT hizo a las grandes corporaciones allí presentes revolverse en las sillas al explicar lo que necesitan las startups para poder trabajar con nosotros: agilidad, procesos sencillos, transparencia. Nos quedamos con el resumen de su intervención: “Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave” y el ánimo que daba a emprender proyectos: “Remeber, Colombus thought he was heading towards India”.
Y como broche final al evento Gabriel Perdiguero de Iberia contó el ambicioso proyecto de Big Data en al ámbito de la Transformación de la compañía, con una orientación clara a la Personalización y el Real Time Servicing, siempre con el Cliente en el centro.
Price is one of the most effective driver (and destroyer) of enterprise value. Still, many corporations don’t spend much bandwidth understanding the full potential of #SmartPricing.
Having these considerations in mind, today the Marketing consultancy company Simon-Kucher & Partners together with Expansión shared their annual update on Pricing and Smart Monetization in Madrid.
Former Ministry of Industry and SEAT, S.A. board member Josep Pique opened the session with his vision on current business models reshaping under #globalization and #digitalization. According to Mr. Piqué, corporations die because of lack of cash flow but revenue management is key.