Getting Senior Managers close to their Customers

You wake from a strange slumber. You were picturing your head of department, a very senior executive, sitting on the sofa in the home of one your company’s more challenging customers. They’re a market segment that is, let us be polite, rather ‘down to earth’. Dream or nightmare?

It may be a horrible imagining but it tells us what we truly, deeply desire, or so they say. Haven’t you been complaining for years that it’s a jungle out there yet the closest senior management has got to an expedition is trying to read the smoke signals from the comfort of their encampment? Viewing life through an ethnographic lens can assist the myopic Senior Manager in fitting the product into the customer’s wider life and possibly wilder habitat. Perceptions of quality/value/brand equity don’t dissipate the moment the product is purchased.

At SubstanceQI we don’t do wishful thinking or cod psychology. Our discoveries are rooted in the real world and to get there we believe it can be useful to go native. So when we were asked by an FMCG company: “can you get senior management members really close to our customers” we didn’t run for the hills. On this occasion we supported our clients visit to the customer’s home and enabled their own in-depth interview with the customer.

We needed to navigate boundaries of protocol and practicality and be sure that people would attend, so we plugged our ‘Safari’ approach into one of senior managements regular meetings. The FMCG Company were reassured by our sensitive planning. Attendees were split into pairs and each pair was introduced to one of their customers. We’re aware days like these are something of a rare species. There’s fear of being caught in the long grass; of being swamped by petty unwillingness. To avoid the idea go the way of the Dodo within your organisation book our Research Safari: (Re-engagement for senior managers).

The benefits of Safari for our client were threefold: the customer profile we subsequently tasked client participants to produce identified things that surprised them and challenged their preconceptions; participants got a first-hand warts and all insight into customer relationships with their brand; and all client participants reported an increase in engagement and general enjoyment.

If you want to refine strategic thinking and improve future decision making you need to wake up. Evolve. Go on Safari.