Experience-Based Differentiation: The Venn Diagram

As I was thinking about Experience-Based Differentiation (which I probably do waaaaay too much), the following venn diagram came to mind….


The bottom line: You need to know what customers need/want AND what your company stands for.

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

4 thoughts on “Experience-Based Differentiation: The Venn Diagram”

  1. It’s dangerous to ask me if I have any opinions. It’s like opening up an all-you-can-eat sushi bar; I could keep going and going and going. But I’ll try and refrain myself and keep it (relatively) short.

    You’re right, competition needs to play a part in most of your strategies. And it does in the venn diagram above as well. If your brand is the exact same as everyone elses, then it won’t have much impact in the market. So on the right side, your brand needs to be developed with an understanding of the competitive environment (and your company’s inherent strengths).

    On the left side of the venn, customer insight can’t be in a vacuum either. You need to understand what customers think/need/want in the “real world” where competitors are bombarding them with offers and messages. So that insight needs to be reflective of the competition.

    Having said that, I highly urge companies not to overly focus on the competition. The companies that I find being the most successful are aware of their competition, but they obsess about their customers.

    So when it comes down to trade-offs of time/focus/budget, I’d chose to spend my time thinking about customers, not competitors, in most situations.

    Thanks for the comment!

  2. I woud say that “audience” trumps the other two. If you could only do one of those things well (audience insight, brand clarity, and competitive insight), then I’d go with audience insight.

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