In this video shot by my JD-OD colleague Jon Reed, Jonathan Becher, CMO SAP gives us some important insights into the many ways in which marketing is changing. During the conversation (flick to 6min 34secs) Becher talks about the contrast between the way he used to buy motor vehicles and the way that happens today. In short he is saying that 10 years ago, he was at the mercy of the dealer. Today, he asserts that the power has shifted to the consumer. He looks at this as evidence of a changing dynamic in the way goods and services are acquired.
I have used Becher’s ‘pull’ argument to support how I see the spread of SaaS solutions. Pull occurs where you, as a supplier of goods and services, ‘pulls’ the potential customer towards you through a variety of means rather than ‘push’ marketing messages at them. Pull presumes a level of active engagement whereas push is one way broadcast.
I have also said that in future, we will see more clients coming based upon personal recommendation of their peers than has been the case so far. I’d go so far as to say that in the future, personal recommendation will be the predominant way in which professionals acquire their clients, albeit there will always be a certain level of negotiation around what services are to be delivered. That is another feature of the pull model where content from customers act as instantly consumable reference points.
Contrast this with what Stuart Lynn says about his recent attempts at buying a Jaguar XK:
So why am I not a proud owner of an XK, well it’s down to agreeing what I would consider to be a fair deal. I’m finding the Jaguar dealers very difficult to deal with and quite arrogant if I’m honest. Taking into account I’m trading one Jaguar to buy another I have to say I’m pretty disappointed that the dealer wants to make money out of me on the new car, make money out of me on the part exchange, and make money out of me on the finance deal. This combined with their arrogant take it or leave it attitude is the reason I’m going to stick with the car I fell in love with 18 months ago.
It now seems that problem has been resolved because:
Putting aside my own petrol head desire to own such a beast… this was only made possible because I found a dealer who actually wanted to cut a deal that was mutually beneficial as opposed to being heavily stacked in their favour.
My emphasis added. Lynn’s argument is an exact reflection of what Becher talks about with his car buying experience example. Putting this into professional speak – we cannot expect to dictate the client uses ‘our’ preferred software solution though we may wish to persuade them of benefit. We cannot expect that providing standardised, commoditised services will be enough to keep the client happy. We have to work with them to discover what it is they really need and then tailor the solution to balance against what they can reasonably expect to pay. On some we’ll win, on others we wont. That’s the nature of profit and loss.