Abundance of Choice

Choice empowers customers to demand excellence.

An accelerating and energized global economy is delivering unprecedented productivity and abundance.  While it is true not everyone shares in this plenty, for those well integrated into the economic fabric there is a bounty of choice that exceeds anything in mankind’s history.   

Choice Grants Power

It has not always been this way.   For much of the 19th Century, scarcity still defined the average person’s life.  Make do … or do without.  When the 20th Century ramped up its engines of mass production and mass marketing, a different kind of scarcity took hold.  More products and more stores … but the choices were limited to the lowest common denominator of market need.   

As the market delivers more and more options, providers must find ways to become their customer's first choice.

The 21st Century marketplace is different. The average customer wades through thousands of promotional messages each day.   Products and services are  endlessly diversifying and the shelves that once held a few major brands, now overflow with manifold choice. 

Second Place Is No Place

What happens when there are so many choices?  Customers are empowered to demand product and services that meet thier unique needs, defining excellence in any way they choose.

  • Personal Priorities –  The customer’s values count now.   Its their opinion about the importance of  price, convenience, and quality that matters when choices are made.  
  • Changing Circumstance – A cold drink is worth its wieght in gold on a hot day after a long hike.  Customer prioriities can shift with the circumstances of their life.
  • Individual Emotion – Customers don’t have to be rational.  They can like and dislike with emotional fervor.  Emotions are allowed.

In this abundant market  the second best offering on the shelf is doomed.  Anyone who can fulfill a customer’s desire becomes a potential competitor.   There is no reason for a customer to accept a compromise when they can invest in a product tailored to their particular needs and desires.   

Become someone’s first choice

Much gets written about customer satisfaction, but few organizations deeply imbed the customer in thier business.  Thier view is still mostly inward, at their own operations and business challenges.  

The customer can no longer be a second class citizen.  They have choices.  The old market for the “good” and acceptable services is gone.  In abundant markets, successful organizations must become excellent at creating customer value.     

Takeaway:

Become someone’s first choice, create excellent customer value.   

Good Reads: 

Godin – Permission marketing / Pink – Whole New Mind

Brainstorming Questions

  • Who is your customer?  Who intimately understands their needs?
  • How many options do they have when the selecting your offering?  What are they?
  • Are their needs more subtle than you claim? Do they change from situation to situation? 
  • How has the range of choice grown for your customer?  How will it grow?
  • What messages does your customer hear?  Are they overwhelmed?

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