Lately, I’ve been thinking about "impact." How can a company predict the impact its products or services will have on customers?
“Who are we, if not measured by our impact on others?”
– Carl Sagan
Unlike people, companies don’t have the luxury of just waiting around for customers to be impacted by them. Instead, companies must actively look for a way to emotionally connect with or otherwise impact their customers. But how do you predict the type of impact a company can achieve? Below are some criteria you can use to evaluate whether your product, services, or actions will create an impact with your customers.
I = Innovation. The more innovative your offering is to your customers, the more it is likely to be impactful. This assumes your customers are open to innovation. If not, match the innovation of your offering to the comfort level of your customers.
M = Market. What is the applicable market size for your product or service? Obviously, a larger market provides the opportunity for a larger impact, collectively. This might not translate into a larger impact for an individual customer, but helps you gauge impact from a different perspective.
P = Personal. What type of personal connection can your company, product, service, or brand make with each customer? Unlike the overall market size, consider whether you create an opportunity for an individual customer to emotionally attach to some aspect of what they purchase or the community they join by teaming up with you.
A = Alignment. Alignment refers to how well your product or service fits into the typical routines and lifestyles of your customers. If music is part of your customers’ lifestyle, then something related to music is more likely to align with your customers than a non-musical offering. This doesn’t mean customers can’t adopt new forms of products, only that adoption and impact become much less predictable when you can’t predict alignment with their current lifestyle.
C = Change. Consider whether you facilitate beneficial change in your customers’ behavior. Beneficial change translates into a positive perception by your customer. This is balanced against the ‘alignment’ factor, so consider starting with incremental changes to your customers’ current lifestyle.
T = Timing. There are several aspects of timing that could translate into impact. In some ways, market timing is important—if you introduce a product or service before the market is ready, adoption and impact are unlikely. Similarly, if your product or service is only briefly useful to a customer, then lasting impact will be difficult to achieve.
By now you’ve noticed that these criteria spell ‘I-M-P-A-C-T’. Hopefully that will be a helpful reminder of the different criteria listed. If you have other criteria you already use or would like to suggest, let me know in the comments.
[This post was originally published August 9, 2017, on LinkedIn by Jeff Holman.]
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