Delivering Sustainable Value through Process-Driven Engagement

image: circular growthOur sustainability consulting practice spends a considerable amount of time exploring and implementing defined business sustainability strategies.  However when it comes to stakeholder engagement, we too often find companies fail to have a formal path or process defined. In this post, we take a forward look in the value chain to explore the concept of consumer segmentation as on such process.

“We advise companies to shift the focus of customer interviews from ‘problem with product’ to understanding how customers would ideally like to use the product. By commissioning Voice of the Customer VOC projects to explore new customer segments and technology markets, the firm is able to broaden the scope of the standard VOC process and increase its applicability to non-incremental R&D projects”. –CEB Views

Following along this same line, our sustainability consulting has been engaged in the on-going discussion of ‘enhanced’ stakeholder engagement.  Leveraging an interesting Strategy+Business post, Making Customer Segmentation Deliver, we find a four-step process for making segmentation drive improved performance.

1. Define the objectives clearly: Understanding the purpose will enable decision makers to determine whether the segmentation effort is strategic, tactical, or both.
2. Design around the objectives: The key to effective design is working back from the business decisions that need to be made.
3. Prepare a blueprint to operationalize the segmentation: Map out the decision processes by considering these questions: How is segmentation going to be used to influence the major value levers in your business? Will it underpin a redesign of the brand and the value proposition or of frontline sales and service? Will it ultimately result in more tailored and dynamic online and direct marketing? How are the business and functional units responsible going to access the information and use it on a day-to-day basis?
4. Manage the implementation process: Making segmentation deliver is ultimately more of a change management challenge than a technical or marketing challenge.  The tools for managing change need to be deployed fully.

Experience has shown that most business leaders agree that the ability to effectively engage the outside world in today’s interactive business processes is critical to business sustainability success.  It is no longer a question of ‘should we engage’ but ‘how well do we engage’.  Through collaborative stakeholder engagement, your business can stimulate interaction, create alignment, and ensure the most effective results.

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