The B2B Marketing & Sales Podcast

How to Think and See VERY Differently - with Jim Gilmore!

July 08, 2023 Dave Loomis & Steve Miller Episode 65
How to Think and See VERY Differently - with Jim Gilmore!
The B2B Marketing & Sales Podcast
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The B2B Marketing & Sales Podcast
How to Think and See VERY Differently - with Jim Gilmore!
Jul 08, 2023 Episode 65
Dave Loomis & Steve Miller

In this episode, our intrepid marketing explorer, Dave "The Voice" Loomis, interviews one of the marketing world's most famous marketing thinkers, Jim Gilmore.

Jim is the co-founder of the Strategic Horizons consulting firm as well as the co-author of the top-selling book Experience Economy and Authenticity: What Customers Really Want, and author of Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills.  Jim is Assistant Professor in the Innovation and Design department in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.  He is also a Batten fellow and adjunct lecturer at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. Prior to that, Jim was at the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and worked at Proctor & Gamble. 

Ready for a truly creative and different perspective?  Jim Gilmore is known for his brilliant takes on business, from creating customer experiences to viewing things through a completely different lens.  I guarantee you’ll be entertained and intrigued by what Jim has to say and might come up with new ideas for your B2B business as a result.  You’ll hear Jim riff on his books and take the conversation to places your mind probably wouldn’t go.  Hope you’ll listen, learn and get inspired!

Follow Dave:

Get Dave's book: Marketing Is Everything We Do

Interested in learning how Voice of the Customer can grow your business? Contact Dave:

Follow Steve:

Get Steve's bestselling book: Uncopyable: How to Create an Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition

Want to learn how to generate more business without spending a ton of moolah, and separate yourself from the competition? Steve's online presentations and consulting will make you UNCOPYABLE! Contact him:

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, our intrepid marketing explorer, Dave "The Voice" Loomis, interviews one of the marketing world's most famous marketing thinkers, Jim Gilmore.

Jim is the co-founder of the Strategic Horizons consulting firm as well as the co-author of the top-selling book Experience Economy and Authenticity: What Customers Really Want, and author of Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills.  Jim is Assistant Professor in the Innovation and Design department in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.  He is also a Batten fellow and adjunct lecturer at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. Prior to that, Jim was at the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and worked at Proctor & Gamble. 

Ready for a truly creative and different perspective?  Jim Gilmore is known for his brilliant takes on business, from creating customer experiences to viewing things through a completely different lens.  I guarantee you’ll be entertained and intrigued by what Jim has to say and might come up with new ideas for your B2B business as a result.  You’ll hear Jim riff on his books and take the conversation to places your mind probably wouldn’t go.  Hope you’ll listen, learn and get inspired!

Follow Dave:

Get Dave's book: Marketing Is Everything We Do

Interested in learning how Voice of the Customer can grow your business? Contact Dave:

Follow Steve:

Get Steve's bestselling book: Uncopyable: How to Create an Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition

Want to learn how to generate more business without spending a ton of moolah, and separate yourself from the competition? Steve's online presentations and consulting will make you UNCOPYABLE! Contact him:

How to Think and See VERY Differently! With Jim Gilmore

Dave: Hey everybody. Welcome to the B2B Marketing and Sales podcast with none other than here's truly Dave Loomis. I'm here again without my co-host Steve Miller, but that's okay cuz I'm joined with one of my good friends from a long time Jim Gilmore, who. Is there's a long list of things.

First I'll say. Welcome, Jim. Thank you Jim. Jim and I have known each other for quite some time on, in, in a lot of different ways. Right now Jim wears a lot of hats. He's a professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, which also has Weatherhead school management, and he teaches in both of those.

Organizations. He founded a a consulting firm called Strategic Horizon that had has had a great run of success over the years, including some very cool events. And he's probably most known for a book not to mention a Harvard Business Review. Article, which is, it's still in the top 10 of most reprints are requested.

Jim: Who knows? It's I would think it's one of their better articles over the years. I suspect, I dunno if it's quite up there with marketing myopia, but, 

Dave: Exactly. So he Jim co wrote a book called The Experience Economy. Work is Theater and Every Business A Stage, which if you haven't read it it's timeless.

There's examples in it obviously, that refer to certain things that maybe aren't happening, anymore. It doesn't really matter. Because the concept is so powerful and we're gonna, we're gonna talk about that. We'll circle back on that in a minute. But the other thing is The latest book called Look, A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills, which is fascinating.

And I want to get into that a little bit too, because there's an interesting event or group activity that, that Jim's been doing in associated with association with the contents from their book. So let's start with the experience economy, because as I said it, it just has legs.

And legs. And it is interesting. Do you think that people were using the word experience very much like they are now with user experience and UX and all that kind of stuff before you wrote this book? 

Jim: Oh not in the same way. It is being used in, in, in ways beyond what I think we even intended.

But, words do matter. I do think part of the success of the experience economy besides attaching itself or being about a long-term structural shift in the economy, which is why the book, I think, is enduring regardless of how many of the examples continue to be in business or not. We, what we basically articulated in the book, over 20 years ago, is that experiences are distinct form of output.

Economic output that experiences are as distinct from services as services are from. Good. So we're not just talking about a premium service or excellent service. We're talking about something different in kind. So services being the activities that an organization would perform or put a price tag on if they're in the service business, that's what.

What a company does the activities, but experiences. Its time, it's charging, it's the, it is as an economic offering. It's charging for the time that people spend in some place or event, like a trade show, charging both the exhibitor just to spend time and charging the participant to as well, but also just the time you spend with customers that you may not be charging for.

So the design of experiences, thinking about experiences different in kind. Than services and certainly different than manufacturing. One of the things we did in the updated edition of the book, so the book was published in, let's do a little book stuff if we can, as an author. The book was published.

Yeah. Yeah. The book was published in 1999. Statistics from my own publisher, Harvard Business Review Press. They shared with me some times ago, so this might be slightly dated, but I'm sure the order of magnitude is correct. About 10,000 business books published every year in English, and 90% of them will not sell 10,000 copies.

And of those that do sell 10,000 copies. 90% of them will sell their 10,000 copies within the first six months, even certainly the first year, and then they're over. Okay. Okay, lesson for your listeners is don't buy any contemporary business books till at least six months. And, the Harvard re-released our book in after 20 years.

That's a rare thing. For 10, 15 years we sold well over 10,000 copies every year as people continue to discover the book, as the message continues to to resonate. One of the things we did in the preface for the updated edition, which was released in paperback and now that edition has been we released in hardcover, is we identified five different directions in which experience thinking if you will, has gone since we published the book.

One is a name only. Which you start calling things you currently do and experience, even though you don't change anything. So instead of customer service, we call it customer experience with no change in what you're doing. So I'm not an advocate of that. Of course. That reminds me of, everybody's calling things experience, whether it's user experience, 

Dave: right?

Jim: Yeah. I do. Everything's an experience and it does a disservice to it. Then there is exactly, there is experiential marketing a term that actually did not exist. We wrote our book and then. Schmidt wrote a book with that title. So that's applying experience thinking to marketing. So less reliance on traditional marketing and advertising even in business realm, but certainly in the consumer.

We a more event based marketing. So that's and even in b2b, traditionally the trade shows the long established event based marketing or experience marketing. But as companies host their own events, and those even sometimes even create their own venues. Longstanding client of mine, Whirlpool opened up a world of Whirlpool in Chicago.

So instead of going to trade shows, in fact, they financed it. By stop going to trade shows actually, and then use that money to have their own destination venues. So when clients are in Chicago, they could go to this environment. And it's all demand creation, it's all traditional marketing, but having customers spend time in a place where, unlike an appliance store, the appliances actually work.

You can actually use them, you can turn them on kitchen vignettes that actually work. So you have experiential marketing, right places and events that create demand in lieu of traditional advertising. Then you have the application of experiences operations, which some are calling a customer experience management or c m and not just c r m.

2.0. But, actually applying experience, thinking, thinking about the customer's time moment to moment through operations, not just the activities that you perform. Then there's what Joe and I really care about which experience, offerings, which is the charge explicitly for the experience to make it your product if you will.

And then there's the digital realm, which is everything I've already mentioned in the digital realm. So a name only. Digital experiences, digital marketing experiences, digital operations digital charging for people to spend time at a, on a game site or some other type of electronic venue. It is clearly in, in the milieu today.

It's, people use the term, don't always think about what they mean by it, and they're, other than a name only, they're all valid applications. There's some value to be added by thinking about demand creation or marketing from an event perspective. There's value to thinking about operations, not just what you do, but how you do it.

Not just your activity, but rather the time your customers have interacting with your activity. And then, clearly we encourage more and more. Organization think more and more about actually charging for experiences and b2b, there might be challenging sometimes, but in fact business sometimes could have a greater opportunity to create a forum that you charge for.

I've told companies, okay, you've got a, you've got research going on, which you invest all that money in research and then hope to come up with some innovation on the backend that you can charge for. Why not charge customers or prospective customers? A subscription to participate in your research.

So you're charging for a learning experience over time, and maybe they get first rights at the output or they get a discount in the backend or whatever it might be. So there, there are different again, it's an economic offering. How do you charge for for time and not just for experience.

And then of course, I should add that in the book we wrote about what's after experiences as well. Which I think has some real business and business implications, which is transformations. So we anticipated the buying and selling of change. My most recent Harvard Business Review article was January, February of last year.

You had 2022. So to give you that idea, it's There's five things you can sell, commodities, good services, experiences, and then we anticipated transformations as well. And here at b2b, it's not just charging for time, but can companies charge for demonstrate outcomes? A definition of a transformation, most clearly a consulting firm which sort of charges Absolutely, yes.

Materials and sometimes they, I might argue they leave money on the table because if you could get a percentage of the results. You achieve for your customer you might make more money. You might actually help your customer increase revenue even more cost cut costs even more and that, that's not just consulting.

I think a lot of bus can you charge for the ends and not the means. Every Peter Drucker once said, your customers are always buying something other than what you think you're selling to them. They're always at one level of extraction beyond. Somebody buys a pan norty at the writing service.

So if you understand the value that you're creating for customers, can you charge explicitly for that value as an end and not just the means. And sometimes doing so I might argue, will actually help achieve that result better than letting the customer have to piece together all the different services they acquire independently, as opposed to putting somebody in charge.

And not get paid until they achieve the result. 

Dave: Putting your money where your mouth is, exactly. Risk, reward, 

Jim: for sure. I'll give example of that. Again, not to do too much on transformation necessarily, but it's the golf pool that charges for lessons. They're charging for time, but you wanna become a better golfer.

Why not charge for that? Why not explicitly charge for reduction in handicap right now? The real, the reason is because the Gulf Road would've to behave differently. They can't just show up for the lesson, and that's exactly right, but sometimes that improvement is not achieved because the coach is not playing an actual round with you, analyzing your game more closely, giving you a wider portfolio, hand I, or coordination, exercise or readings, materials.

And again, by analogy, any business, if you wanna get paid for demonstrate outcomes, you're likely gonna have to behave differently. You and, but again, you can always say, what are the results your customers are not achieving? That they're frustrated with. And could you ch, could you address those by charging for it?

I'm trying to think. Business to business has, it's interesting actually. It 

Dave: would force you a, to understand exactly the starting point with every customer, which you can't measure an endpoint without knowing what the starting point is. And second of all, it just forces you to understand the levers that you can or can't pull within that organization and politics.

To do 

Jim: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And it, can get complex and especially in business relationships. But again, it's related to experiences because you know that change only is affected by the experiences that you provide, that are under underneath. And maybe to put a bow on all this, the whole way we came up with this set of ideas is my co-author Joe Pinewood, a book called Mass Customization.

And Joe for years was fond of saying if you customize a. A good, you automatically turn that good into a service. So think Dell computer before they lost their way they ne for decades, they never made goods and placed it in the inventory, right? Waiting for somebody to come along. They made computers in response to actual orders.

They were computer making service. Similarly, if you customize the service, you automatically turn that service into experience. Customize the service. Customize the experience. From that experience into a transformation. So that's the big overall picture. Okay? All of our work customization woven in, throughout throughout all our work, so instead of mass production, in your heart of hearts wanting to do one thing for everybody to really understand the unique needs of individual customers, that's where next generation of value is to be found in our estimation. Absolutely. 

Dave: And I think that holds up regardless of, there's been a lot of technology changes in marketing.

There've been a lot of changes in the economy, the global economy. Now we're post pandemic and supply chain short and all sorts of things. But still, at the end of the day your premise holds up. 

Jim: Yeah. You gotta create value. And when competitors are able to create the same value, then you become commoditized and you gotta find new ways to create value unless you have, patent on something.

But yeah. It's that's shortlived. But yeah, it's yeah it's always, business is always tough, right. So ho hopefully the things we've written are helpful. Yeah. Frameworks and tools to help companies to think more richly about how they can create value in the world.

Dave: I think one thing that has always been, I've always had a lot of interest in our conversations has been that you have the ability to look at things in different. Ways more than many people that I've ever met. A casual observer might call it, oh, he's so creative. Oh, he comes up with these ideas.

But in your book called, look, I think what you're trying to do is to instruct people that they can see things from different perspectives and angle and therefore Come up with different observations and ideas and so forth from that. Can you say a little bit about that? 

Jim: Yeah. First of all, so the headline for the book look is it all innovation begins with observation you to see some pay more close attention noticing things.

Noticing the unfulfilled needs of a customer. Even things they may not even realize for themselves, but they're, part of the early, my early interest in this area is you can talk to customers and there's all everybody, A lot of people talk about this. What they say and focus groups or interviews is so preconditioned by what they've already experienced and they may not even be the aware themselves.

Yeah, just to be more, more observant, more and more time, of course, is spend observing what's on the screen, all of which is derivative versus, spending times observing. Direct immediate circumstances, by the way, not just of your own customers, your own business, but not just your industry. If we do centric circles, but just broader culture, just understanding what, what's happening out there.

So that's the premise. I've dedicated the book to Edward De Bono. You mentioned creativity. I should, A lot of people say, Jim, you're so creative. And, but yeah, I have to give homage to maybe I had always had a A propensity to try to seek the new idea. But Edward DeBono wrote a book called Lateral Thinking, which I discovered at a used a discount book rack one time and just changed my world.

Particularly this chapter where he bashes brainstorming. So brainstorming is so passive, it doesn't tell you what to do actively, don't judge ideas, build on the ideas of others, come up with wild ideas, but doesn't tell you how to do any of that. So the. The notion of deliberately and consciously moving to a new idea.

And one of the things there, if I can, without getting into all the techniques of DeBono, but the notion of always looking for the underlying concept. What's going on? So you observed X's happening in the world, but what's really underneath that? What's in fact, if anyone wants to go get lateral thinking, there's an exercise in the book about how many ways can you divide a square into four equal psych, equal area pieces, something I have my students do most people come up with four, right?

Get stuck. That's all there, that's all there is. But in fact, if you see underlying concepts, if you not to give it away, if anybody wants to go try this, but if. A dozen different underlying concepts that once you see that it opens up. In fact there's multiple infinite set of answers to that, that, that exercise.

So what's I, the one this say okay what's really going on here? What's go? And then you combine that with notion of all ideas of the bifurcation of two planes. Okay, here's what's going on here. Just take my own book of experience economy, three chapters in the experience economy on the idea of work as theater.

So we take my, business acumen of working for Procter Gamble, and I consulted for 10 years largely in supply chain. Okay? There's a field, but then go intersect that with knowledge from theater, right? That you don't go interview people, you audition them. It set design, acting with intent.

Salespeople acting with intention, I remember reading a theater book which one book I got this from. Oh man. I should be able to achieve this better. You perform blank in order to blank. That's how you define intention. So for example, and again, perform blank, the activity in order to blank.

The intention, classic example is, do you knock on the door to get anybody who might be in there, or do you knock on the door? I assume you can hear that. Yes, my dog. My dog heard that. What do you do? You knock on the door in order to get one person without disturbing somebody else. You do the task differently depending on your intention.

So again, even just a salesperson having presence, just being much more intentional about, how you say things, what you do, how you enter a room, even what briefcase you have, or business card, or how you give the business card. That's all theater, so again, a lot of new thinking simply comes by.

The inter, the intersection of two different disciplines. And again, a lot of that I got in fact de bono, you know that's the, that's well known guy name of Alvin Kessler talked about bifurcation of two planes. Yeah. But DeBono talks about take what you're interested in, what you want, new ideas about how do I, how do I get this customer to buy from this?

How do we close this deal? How do we get more business from customer A, the bundle will just buy, will pick just a random word. Is one of his techniques. So you just take something random and have that collide on your topic and see what emerges. And that's a, again, so once I discovered lateral thinking, that just really solidified and I think helped me immensely.

And I try to certainly teach my students. I encouraged businesses and I dedicated look to Bono because the inside the book is a tool called Six Looking Glasses. Metaphorical tool for six different ways to look at the world that might help you see things you might not otherwise notice without this contrived metaphorical lenses.

What was all inspired by DeBono six thinking hats, and also his book Six Action Shoes, which has a similar metaphorical thinking caps or action shoes. Plenty Your Actions. So in some sense, look is a prequel to those two other two other books. And the other thing I learned from DeBono is just practical simple tools.

Any client I have or you have, you're never gonna know their business as well as they know themselves. So my orientation is to give them new thinking tools. You take that combination, a new tool, a new framework combined with business, know-how, that's the winning. Again, that's a bifurcation of two planes as well.

Dave: And then you teach this in some, I would say I, I haven't been I've been to a mini version of this. A couple years ago when you took a group through it, but there was an extended version that you have now. I don't know if you call it like a seminar or a 

Jim: group project. We do have a, we do have a certification program, which we do every August.

Go to strategic and check. That's a week long, not cheap. We basically go in depth through the book. But yeah, I. Now I teach at Case Western, which is fun. Cause now I get to experiment with new teaching techniques. But yes but I teach a design course for mba. I guess I could pitch our part-time MBA program if anybody's watching that.

Of course. Yeah. Still considering that. But spine of that course is the design of goods, physical things, the design of services, activities, and then design of experiences, design of time. So that's the basic spine. But then I augment that with classes on observational skills, ideation skills, even conversation skills.

I do stuff on presentation skills. I did that about adjunct for four years, that case. And I just finished my sixth year full-time. And then undergraduate, I came on board. I was adjunct. I came on board full-time to basically reinvent management 2 0 1 undergraduate management. So there. That and what's there is, I sometimes I teach a course.

I think like some of this stuff is basic, but it's basic that like everyday business people ought to be reminded of. And I start the whole course with a Peter Drucker quote, the managers create the conditions in which others work and that's a design issue. Or don't, people don't manage people, but what are the conditions in which you have an effective and efficient organization.

So you know, that's the whole headline for that. And then I. Basic functional things with students, but again, that certainly 

Dave: Is a hot topic right now with the work at home debate exactly as you might say because it's a back and forth. But talk about ripple effect. And now every day we're reading about, I don't know, to use the, be dramatic and use the word collapse of commercial real estate, but certainly a lot of changes in commercial real estate because of.

That, and that those are conditions under which we work. And some people are loving those conditions. Some people, not so much, some managers like Jamie Diamond or back and forth on the whole thing, you, you can only force people to do so many things. 

Jim: This is an interesting application for experiences.

It's the workplace experience. In other words, yes. If you're just, if you're just, if you're just creating conditions, people do activity while they act, the services they perform. Doesn't really matter where you spend time doing that. In words if the, if where, experience is about places and events.

It's about, it's place based, but if it doesn't matter what place the activities perform. How do you attract employees? Spend time in a collective effort? It's only if the time is of value. So the office experience needs to be such that you get some value, you come up with thoughts, you get some efficient that you would not get.

Unless you're, and that's designing the time. In fact, I have a client that's done work historically with conferences and external events and now pivoted to say how do we apply that same thinking internally? It's almost every day is a conference in the office. You know what's the intelligence?

What's the information you get? What's the networking? What are the things you traditionally go offsite to go no, that needs, we need to bring that every day. Or if we're gonna ask people to come in two days a week those two days, Can't be the same as what I could be doing at home. All you've done is wasted my time making me commute.

Wow, that's really interesting. So I might even argue a transition period back is the fact cab people will come back just a day a week. But make sure you design that day to be fundamentally different and kind in terms of how employees spend their time versus, versus spending at home. If it's the same as what you spend at home, why would you want to go?

I've worked out my, ever since I left a larger firm, I've had a home office. Might have a 32nd commute. That's nice. You don't have to see below my waist what I'm doing here on Zoom, I can drink outta of a red solo cup. Don't do that. Won't tell you what's in it. Hard to do that in the workplace, 

Dave: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So let me give you a I'll just, I'm surprising you with this example, for the B2B world, if I'm a, if I'm a B2B marketing person, let's say I work for a ball bearing manufacturer, there's a big one in our region. And I sell, my ball bearings to machine companies, obviously people who use ball bearings, right?

How, what's one of the techniques from The Look book. Yeah. That could help somebody see things differently. Rather than just saying, oh, yeah go and observe those people using your volunteerings. Or what can they 

Jim: do that, where they, yeah, it's a great question and we'll do observation, then we'll talk about what else can they do.

But observation wise, one of the techniques in the book is simply to have a, what I actually call a curiosity list. And we can direct it, like what are you curious about in terms of your customers And I use the letter, a very simple thing. I use the alphabet, I call it my A to X, y, Z list.

X, Y, Z is one bucket cuz they're tough letters. But for every letter to the alphabet, X, Y, Z being one bucket. What are you curious to know more about with your customers? Do you have a list? So what are those? 24, 4 four things. And then go observe that. So ha having a particular list of things I is helpful and if you struggle to come up with that list, it's why?

You should, in fact, I would argue you should have multiple lists. You should have multiple categories in every category. Let's just do deliveries. 24 things about deliveries you're curious about. Maintenance, 24 things about maintenance. You're invoicing 24 things about invoicing you're curious about, have multiple lists of, so again, I'm influenced by doing.

Wanna know what you want, ideas about Debo talks about. So what do you want to have more observations about the other thing I could argue just even operationally is pick a different activity or pick a different place. To just intensely look at. I've had a re retail clients where I'll do something like every day, pick a different spot to go look, and you'll see basic maintenance issues.

Basic maintenance. No, I'll tell you an ob an observational application that just came across recently and I think it'll, it can quite equate to ball bearings as well. But a longstanding client of mine is a restaurant company out of Atlanta and they're famous for for a chicken sandwich.

I've got you. Okay. Anyway And I was visiting recently when I was in Atlanta and I got a tour of Chick-Fil-a's innovation Center. And they have all these awards up on the wall for different projects, and one of which was clearly based on observation, which is for decades, operationally, when they made biscuits, they basically had this sta they have a sheet of dough and they just would stamp out the round biscuits.

And then one day someone just looked at it and went, why are we using a circle? Because if all the extra edges around the circles, which either has to be re, re put, collected, redone on a sheet, or if things are too busy actually disposed of. And so why don't we just use a hexagon so that there's no space in between the cuts, millions and millions of dollars saved in in, in labor and or waist thrown away.

And you just noticed that the shape mattered. Okay, that's a biscuit. You know it's back, but it's back of the house. To get close to ball bearings, it's back of the house. It's customer's not seeing it. And when the dough rises, nobody can tell whether it's a circle or hexagon. Either way, it doesn't matter.

Nobody sees it. That's the way I feel about b b2b, by the way. There's a lot of stuff that the public doesn't see. There's, we don't 

Dave: see ball 

Jim: bearings back of the house. Anything. Here's something you want to go observe. What are other industries besides your, you can observe even consumer businesses where you can look at their back of the house.

Cause their back of the house is normally b2b, right? So just cause you're a, cause you're a B2B company. Don't think you can't learn from consumer goods or consumer offerings. You can, cuz they have operations too. Absolutely. Again, it could be, I don't, I know ball bearing business, but you know how many eaches are in a container and how much waste there is in opening up cartons or whatever, or just processing Mex, proctor and Gamble.

I remember. My, I left I got about a year in before I left when we first started doing total quality management, cross-functional teams and okay, tqm visiting, actually visiting customers. I was in logistics actually visiting a grocer's warehouse and seeing how they stack things and how they process things.

And I remember years later I was doing a project for Wawa food markets outside of Philadelphia. It was actually a product to revisit all their sourcing. They had run outta capacity at their dairy. They're like, should we keep, should we expand the dairy? Should we try to buy milk on the open market?

And the partners to whom I worked for at the time, cause I was still a junior dean successfully said, look, let's do a total inbound rationalization product. Let's reevaluate. Know who you're buying direct from, who you're buying from, wholesalers and so forth. And I remember touring Miller Hartman wholesaler outside of Philadelphia and seeing a case of bounty towels and was remarkable about this case of bounty towels.

There was one on a pallet, so instead of smaller cases with 24 rows inside the case was the size of a palette in terms of length, width, and height. And you took the lid off and grabbed eaches. Bounty towels, and I'm sure it was a result of the work I'd done previous that had started when I was with p g and then left.

If you just look, if you just observe how paper towels get handled at a wholesaler going to Wawa, you realize they cut the top of the cases off with a sh with a knife and sometimes there's damage cause you'll cut the inner thing. Will you throw that away? It's waste, right? All the actual labor in terms of, cuz you ship a whole case of adding towels to independent, one wall wash store.

It's like a three year supply. You, they're shipping eaches, but that packaging's not designed for eaches again. So it's that kind of operational thing. This, just look how things are handled. Invoicing, extra work. You by the way, you can observe with your ears listening on phone calls, there's, just observe what is going on.

Sometimes I look at clients they, and go it's your business. Why are, what? What? Why are you not doing, why do you not have almost exhaustive knowledge of how everything happens? This is my old PG and Proctor Gamble. So is 

Dave: there a difference between curiosity and question? Everything? They're related, 

Jim: of course, right?

They're related, right? We have a lot of assumptions, curiosity, 

Dave: right? We have a lot of assumptions. And actually, I've heard of techniques of reversing hidden assumptions just to see what would happen. 

Jim: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So again it's you mentioned ball burnings.

B2B means sometimes you can think it's mundane, but what's nice about B2B in my view is if you observe something, sometimes it's a lot easier to make happen, to affect the change. Because sometimes you only have to find a single customer, right? That's willing to work with you, that sees the better way that cause maybe they have to make some adjustments too.

But then you've got a built in case study that convince customer two and customer three and customer four on down the line. Sometimes you're a consumer good with the masses. You gotta, for McDonald's to change anything with like over 20,000 stores, that's a monumental task, right?

Because it has to be uniform across the whole thing. But b2b, you can take your A customers, whatever or your. Smallest customer, and we'll start there cuz they're hungry, whatever it could be. So sometimes if you can, it might be harder to come up with ideas. I think it is in the experience space, but if you come up, but once you come up with it, I'll tell nothing besides observation.

Dave. That's, I call this the which I'd be remiss not to mention for your for your listeners, is that, or your viewers. I call this the most neglected but powerful idea in the experience economy. Which is something we call customer sacrifice, right? What's that? It's an ugly term. It's meant to be some people might call it customer compromise, but customer sacrifice.

And basically it's a metric to layer on top of customer satisfaction. Most organizations realize you need to have satisfied customers, but if I use JD Power's definition of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is the gap between what customers expect and what they perceive they get.

Okay. So it's the gap between what customers expect and what they perceive. They get perfectly good definition, good measure. You want satisfies customers, i e you want to meet expectations, but we think there's so much more value to look at customer sacrifice, which we define as the gap between what customers settle for and what they want exactly.

So again, it's the gap between what customer, what each customer settles for versus what one exactly. And customer sacrifice is created. Anytime you have a mass produced good or service, or you do things one standard way for everybody because people want certain dimensions. Now you can't customize everything.

Don't think I'm about customizing everything. You go broke doing that, but it's discerning what dimension of your offering, if customized. Would get rid of sacrifice. The reason to customize, which is the back, our background of our work is because you have the greatest standard deviation of the exact way people want something and you're doing it one way and they would, they value that dimension and there's a world of sacrifice.

Your ball bearing company, every company has got dimensions, which customers are selling for something other than what they want. Exactly. So part of it's to go observe and understand that with your customers. And I usually ask, what's the one dimension of sacrifice if you were to eliminate, would create the greatest value?

Don't get rid of it all and go on that journey looking for, what is it we're doing One standard way that, and gotta understand, by the way, you have to understand individual customer needs to do that. And by the way the term individual customer. Should be unnecessary. That's a redundancy.

And the only reason I have to qualify the noun customer with the adjective individual is because they're not treated individually. If they were all treated individually, I wouldn't have to use that term. But that's again, that's work, right? Oh mean I have to go understand individual needs. Yeah.

That's exactly what you have to go do versus sitting back and do it one standard in the way you've always done it. Yeah, you can do that for a while. But after a while when the, the negotiations, the price goes down and competition comes in, you need to actively be looking for ways to create new value and it's out there.

Sacrifice, I think, is a key. So a combination of observe, yes. Behave behaviors. Behaviors, yes. And analyze sacrifice. And by the way here's a connective tissue. You are not going to identify sacrifice by asking customers where they sacrifice. I've done that. Early days of this concept that mean I tell, I have a couple stories I tell about sacrifice and then I tell the story, right?

Basically. I won't tell the story, but ask customers like, do you sacrifice? I don't know. People, customers are so accustomed to not getting what they want. Exactly. They don't even know how to think about it. So you have to observe. Very difficult. You have to observe how do they jury rig something?

What are their workarounds? What are things that they do? What do they discard? What I mean? If they're, if they, if, by the way, there's two kinds of sacrifice, getting rid of all sacrifices of value to customer, but some sacrifice is because you're providing customers with too much, and that's wasteful. Yes.

Everybody gets the same stuff from the box. What can you cut back on? So they can be really wasteful. You want give cus here's the mantra. You want to give customers only and exactly what they want. Wow. And if you're giving away too little, then you have to provide more. But there's lots of times we're doing, we're providing customers more than they want, giving more resources, more packaging that they want, and it would actually save money.

To understand the exact needs of customers. Yeah, I love it. 

Dave: I just got that's that, 

Jim: That concept's in the experience economy, which I guess I wish more people would take it, read it and take it to heart. 

Dave: So I buy my my coffee Pete's coffee pods for the Keurig. I buy 'em in a box that's 75 of these pods in a box.

I buy them from Amazon. And it used to be this box came in a bo in a, in an Amazon box, and I'd open the box and then I'd take this big box out. A box In 

Jim: a box, yeah. 

Dave: That just comes in in, in the actual box, in the coffee box. It doesn't say Amazon. On the outside it says Pete's Coffee and there's an Amazon sticker and somebody just, and I'm thankful for that.

Now, don't you know, I'm sure I'm gonna get notes about how wasteful my coffee pods are, but. I there's other angles to that, including wasted coffee from, making too much and other things related. And e even 

Jim: the the paper filters. There's a b there's a B2B change there cuz you know, Pete's coffee and Amazon had a conversation probably about making Pete's box more stronger to withhold shipping.

No doubt about that. That's a B2B conversation that they had. Yeah. Definitely saving Amazon money and saving them boxes, we'll see. We'll see. Also saving Pete, but then Pete similarly, exactly. By the way you do Pete's, if I can do a little coffee, my son-in-law son turned me onto community coffee.

Okay. In a dark coffee. And I can get two cups outta of the one pod, so that'll reduce your waste as well. Ooh, 

Dave: that's interesting. 

Jim: Okay. Just don't lift the don't lift the lid backs. You wanna keep that first hole, but I'll tell you, there's waste.

There is in fact people, soc assumption, people think it's one cup per pod, not necessarily 

Dave: Interesting. I'm gonna try it. The time has flown by and this has been fantastic. I have lots of questions and curiosities from even just our conversation as usual. But this was fantastic, Jim.

Thank you. Oh, 

Jim: you're welcome. Thanks for sharing, giving me the 

Dave: time. Yeah, just fantastic. And what's the best way to reach you, if anybody, 

Jim: Strategic, and you can take it from there. My man, our managing partners, Doug Parker, and get ahold of him. And if you have any interest in.

Our certification program or go to Amazon, obviously get the books or your better 

Dave: bookseller. Yeah. Highly recommend the Look Practical Guide for improving your observation skills. We talked about obviously the experience economy and strategic horizons. Thank you, Jim Gilmore. Welcome. This has been the B2B Marketing Sales Podcast and thanks for joining us.

We'll see you next time. Thanks. 

Jim: Thank you for listening to another episode of the One and only B2B Marketing and Sales podcast, the source for B2B marketing and sales insight. If you enjoyed the podcast, please be sure to subscribe and leave these old guys a five star rating. Check the show notes for any links and contact information.

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