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Entering new B2B technology markets and the planning fallacy

When B2B technology vendors enter new markets they often find that their success falls short of their expectations. Some of this is due to their go-to-market strategy, competitor actions and unpredictable market changes. However, many technology vendors fall victim to the planning fallacy – the tendency for individuals and organizations to under estimate challenges and to over estimate their chances of success. A useful for tool for mitigating the planning fallacy is reference class comparison.

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Relevant messaging in a changing IT outsourcing landscape

IT organizations are becoming more mature users of outsourced services and delivery models.  Isurus’ research across multiple technology categories shows a shift in how IT evaluates outsourcing options and its use of various models (offshore vs. domestic, in-house vs. outsourced, on-premise vs. offsite hosting, etc.), and these trends are also evident in research conducted by CIO Magazine, Forrester, and others. 

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Improving innovation through better questions

Dwayne Spradlin, President and CEO of InnoCentive, recently contributed an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review that identified asking the right questions and defining the problem as critical elements of successful innovation: “When developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most companies aren’t sufficiently rigorous in defining the problems they’re attempting to solve and articulating why those issues are important. Without that rigor, organizations miss opportunities, waste resources, and end up pursuing innovation initiatives that aren’t aligned with their strategies.”

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Distinguishing the Next Big Thing from the Next Big Sell

A recent article in the MIT Sloan Management Review provides practical guidelines to help IT buyers make better decisions about which new innovations to adopt.  The article points out the risks of being persuaded to invest in new technology by the hype that surrounds it, only to be disappointed by the lack of business value it provides. They advise IT buyers to assess where and how quickly the technology is being adopted, the pace and success of implementations, and value achieved by other companies that have implemented it.

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What type of innovation is your customer buying?

In a recent opinion column Clayton M. Christensen, author of The Innovators Dilemma, identifies three types of innovation that drive capital markets: Empowering innovations, sustaining innovations, and efficiency innovations. Mr. Christensen’s hypothesis is that all three innovation types are needed for a robust, fully functioning economy.

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Moving prospects along the buying process

Patrick Spenner and Karen Freeman recently published an article in the Harvard Business Review on the importance of understanding where a customer is in the buying process and of helping customers simplify the process itself: To keep your customers keep it simple. The article focuses on consumers but parallels exist in B2B markets and we have long championed these ideas among our B2B clients.

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Sometimes your channel is your brand

“There is very little loyalty left. Manufacturer X is mercenary. They just want to make money, and I’m mercenary. In other words, Manufacturer X doesn’t care about me, and I don’t care about Manufacturer X. They just make a good product.” This quote from a recent study sums up the state of many of the channel relationships we see across a range of technology and industrial B2B markets.

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Why likability matters

Likability is also one important criterion we use to test advertising.  Even as advertising and advertising research have become much more sophisticated over time, likability continues to be a useful predictor of effectiveness. 

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Marketing and selling to the reptilian brain

Tim Riesterer’s recent HBR blog post about stimulating the customer’s “lizard brain” to make a sale correlates with Isurus’ work on messaging and sales effectiveness.  Riesterer points out that most sales messages fail to compel buyers to move away from the status quo because our “lizard brain”—the brain stem and other structures responsible for our survival instincts—prefers safety and avoids risk. Implicit in this message is the idea that a purely logical message often isn’t enough to drive change.  To make a sale that breaks the status quo, the sales message must appeal to the lizard brain.

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The challenges of the strategic IT function

In most industries the IT function is looking to be more of a strategic partner to the business rather than simply a cost center and service provider. CIOs are looking across the business to identify ways they can help the business compete and grow revenue. Many have developed a business liaison function that they place within the business units; a few are even setting performance metrics for their strategic role in the organization. These efforts have met with mixed results given the relatively high hill to climb.

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