Steve Jobs, The Exception Not The Rule – Audience-Based Strategies

July 5, 2017, Gil Allouche

It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want.”

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs had the opinion that people really don’t know what they want. That if you make a brilliant product, “They Will Come.”  While there may be an element of  truth in that, product-centric Marketing and Sales is risky.  Jobs had a lot of product failures not often talked about: The Apple Lisa, Macintosh TV, and The Power Mac G4 Cube.

With product-centric marketing, you’re hoping you can capture the untapped psyche of consumers better than they can themselves.  And even if you’re Steve Jobs, you don’t always get it right.

So what’s the solution?

Audience-Based Product, Marketing and Sales is the answer.

An Audience-Based organizational strategy focuses on the pain points and needs of your prospects. It requires intimate communication with your potential customers. And it attempts to tailor products to those customer needs rather than forcing users to adapt to your product.

Why Audience Based Operations

There are 3 main reasons why companies should adopt Audience-Based operations.

Innovation Efficiency

With Audience-Based product development, Product teams never have to guess at what their customers want. No development time is wasted on useless product features. And the highest ranking executive in the room isn’t shaping the product according to a gut feeling. The whole process is driven by customer data and feedback.

Increased Sales Productivity

If Sales is operating from a product-centric viewpoint, they have to convince people to buy their product, whether or not that product helps the end-user. Audience-Based sales teams understand the customer journey. They know what questions customers will have before they even ask. With an Audience Based organization, Sales Reps can position themselves as advisors rather than “Hard Closers.” This also has the effect of shortening the sales cycle. According to Sirius, Audience-Based organizations have 19% faster revenue growth and 15% greater profitability.

Organizational Alignment

In a typical product-focused organization, micro-kingdoms are built for each product line. The different product line managers then battle each other every planning cycle for limited company resources.

With an Audience-Based organization, resources are divided according to consumer segments, not product lines.  So you might typically see teams working across product lines to address a particular customer need or pain point.

Conclusion

Despite the many benefits of Audience-Based operations, many companies still remain stuck in product-focused modes.  The paradigm shift to move to Audience-Based can be too stressful for some companies.  However, unless you have an extra Steve Jobs clone at your company, Audience-Based operations are in your future. You might as well jump in the deep end while its early. Your competitors are!

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