We are seeing new business models emerge: Can our approach to managing strategy and performance accommodate them?
The traditional models of customer intimacy, differentiation, and markets being “talked at” by companies, are being replaced. (See Grant Leboff, Sticky marketing) Social media and other internet technology means that the conversations amongst customers have much wider credibility. The market has become a conversation and organisations must talk with a Human voice. (See the Cluetrain Manifesto) . This requires different ways of thinking about the relationship between the interface between the organisation and those who participate in conversations with it. (See The New Capitalist Agenda)
New models of business take this further. Customers now participate inside organisations, be that as contributors of content and providing reviews (Amazon and ebay), choosing new products (Threadless & Walkers crisps), or even becoming its designers and developers (WordPress and Redhat). This is not new: we have seen aspects of it in the B2B market for over 20 years. However the extent of use of this model has increased dramatically. Intimacy is no longer an adequate word: The customer has come inside the organisation.
This brings new questions: How do we develop the capability to facilitate and introduce customers inside our organisation.
Refined, tuned and tested in the last dot.com boom, it goes further and helps you to think through how you adapt your attitudes and thinking to accept that your role is no longer to be the expert. Rather the role of management becomes to facilitate others (outside the organisation) to help us be successful. Now that requires a mind-set change.