03 Dec “Rev X” – Back of the Napkin
“Rev X” – Back of the Napkin
Sometimes the very best ideas are birthed on the backs of napkins or envelopes. An observation or idea becomes a picture in the mind’s eye and begs to be captured at the exact moment it crystallizes, no matter where you may be at the time. That’s the very nature of a revelation and that is what occurred when our founding partner (John) first sketched out the graphical depiction of the typical lifecycle of a service management relationship, a concept we’ve come to know as “Revelation X®”.
I well remember the debates about the differences between selling and marketing services versus products. Both John and I transitioned from the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) sector to the services management side midway through our careers and these conversations were particularly relevant and interesting to us. The longer we’ve engaged in the services world, the more distinct the attributes and requirements of the diverse sectors have become in our thinking.
We’re going to spend the next few weeks on a deep dive into Revelation X (Rev X for short). The implications are so profound that Tenacity’s entire second book (“Why Good Clients Fire Great Companies”) is devoted to the concept.
Before we do, however, and for purposes of background and comparison, let’s invest this week in a cursory review of the product lifecycle. The product lifecycle is a straightforward concept well known to all CPG marketers. The object is to gain and sustain market share and to manage the brand in such a way that it acquires and maintains consumer loyalty in an ever changing and competitive environment. Succeeding requires a quality product geared to meet consumer needs, recognized value, sustained awareness and constant innovation.
There are many great examples we could choose to highlight. Tide detergent, however, is one of the best. Introduced by P&G in 1946, today, Tide commands over 30% of the laundry detergent market, outselling its closest competitor (also a P&G brand) by more than 2:1. The Tide brand’s innovations are too numerous to mention, but consider “new and improved” formulations in powder, tablet, gel pack and liquid, not to mention the additions of scents, fabric softeners, crystals and all other manner of functional improvement, specialization and packaging.
So, what are the implications, if any, for high-level services management sold in a competitive B2B environment? Is there a comparable services lifecycle? What if we factor in the reality that these contracts are large, they take the buyer out of the market usually for years, they’re bought by a group of people who will not normally be on the frontlines as direct users of the service and they’re sold by individuals who won’t be staying around to deliver on the expectations they created in the minds of the buyers.
Complicated right? Unless we have to interrupt this series for a major announcement of breaking news (no promises, but it could happen), next week we’ll begin the introduction of the lifecycle of the services management contract. We’ll peel back the layers of Rev X, and see how some of the key concepts we’ve been discussing (expectations, relationships and technical delivery) play pivotal roles in keeping the clients you’ve worked so hard to get and extending the service lifecycle.
In the meantime, if this conversation has stimulated any thoughts that you may have on this subject, we’d love to hear from you.