What do penguins have to do with it?

This is a guest post from one of our co-workers, Jeff Krawitz. He is referring in this post to the Who/What/How marketing/sales framework used by us in our work with clients. Who refers to Who is buying, What refers to What are they buying, and How refers to How do they want to buy it. Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the framework drills you down into more specifics for each to “force” the user to find answers that help the company achieve its goals and create more loyal, profitable customers. If you want to know more you can download a free white paper.

I have always found How #3, the Value Delivery System (VDS), to be the most difficult to get across in our workshops. I explain it and try hard to define it, but often with more limited success than I would like. An example I sometimes use is to suggest that when they communicate with a customer in a routine way (an invoice for example), do something to allow the recipient to derive some positive value from it.

I recently did a half-day Customer-Centric Marketing workshop at a top financial services company in Iowa. I went through each of the nine boxes of the Who/What/How matrix giving examples and definitions. For What #2, I suggested that instead of sending clients monthly reports filled with numbers, find out what each client is saving for and show them a picture of that item filled in enough to indicate how close they are to achieving their goal. In other words, show them their progress in their terms, not strict financial numbers. I told them that one of my goals was to visit Antarctica and touch a penguin, and that the first financial management company that could help me get to that in my terms would win my account. (I also suggested that they should send me a map of Antarctica filled in proportionately to my financial chances of getting there).

When I got the How #3, the VDS, I just didn’t feel I was getting the concept across as well as I would have liked, and I felt that all my examples were falling flat. At least I thought so.

When I got home the following Monday, I received a simple “thank you” note from Michele, the person who had sponsored by workshop with the company. However, along with the note was a book. A large “coffee table book called, Planet Earth. In it were a few sticky bookmarks with Post-Its from her. One note was attached to a picture of penguins in Antarctica saying “I hope I get to meet you when you retire!”

I guess she did get it and then added something to a routine event that makes it valuable and special. That’s a Value Delivery System.


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