We’ve been discussing the buyer experience cycle from a blue ocean strategy perspective in this series. As a quick review, the six stages of the buyer experience cycle are Purchase – Delivery – Use – Supplements – Maintenance – Disposal.
Today’s stage is Maintenance. We’re all familiar with purchasing something and then having to maintain it or paying the price if we don’t. In a blue ocean strategy context we view these buyer experience cycle stages as a way to gauge how these stages affect buyer utility. When you use these stages as factors on a horizontal scale and what are called levers, on a vertical scale, you end up with a Buyer Utility Map. Those of you that have been following along have seen this image in each post.
When you measure buyer utility around your offerings in the context of maintenance, these are the types of questions to ask.
Doe the product require external maintenance? My favorite examples of this are aviation oriented. When one buys a private jet, it’s not the price of the jet that matters. It’s also the engine overhauls, the exhaustive maintenance of the airframe, systems, tires, hanger, fees, pilots, etc. As the industry experts started to assess these real costs, innovators began to offer alternatives. Companies like NetJets and Marquis Jets started to break the value/cost trade off by delivering either fractional ownership or simple flight hours without the burden of ownership and maintenance. An entire industry was born out of property analysis of the maintenance and purchase stages of the buyer experience cycle.
Another question? How easy is it to maintain or upgrade the product or service? Online software firms have become expert in the upgrade/downgrade scenarios necessary to please customers. They’ve also become expert at delivering updates and bug fixes without major hassles to users.
More questions? How costly is maintenance? How complex is the product to maintain? How often is maintenance required?
When asking these questions, consider buyer utility and blockages to use as it pertains to the levers on the vertical access. These questions will lead to value innovations that lend themselves to new markets, perhaps even new industries.
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