Written by ZOOZ
consulting and training | (972)-9-9585085 | firstname.lastname@example.org
| Issue 18 |
We are pleased to
send you the 18th issue of LaZOOZ.
This monthly newsletter is sent as a free
service to thousands of senior executives.
different sections each time, and does not
We have tried to keep it brief, knowing that your time is precious and your work is plentiful. Those who wish to learn more can find links to articles and sources of relevant information. We hope that you will find the newsletter useful. We would be glad to receive any
comments and suggestions.
Ari Manor, CEO, ZOOZ
On strategic development in practice
Being accountable to each other
Mutual Dependency Strategy means fostering a deep and symbiotic relationship with a number of big customers, and focusing solely on them. The idea is to provide long-term devoted and specialized service that is tailored to the customer's unique scale and needs, and thus creating a difficult obstacle for competitors to overcome. The
closer the relationship and the more tailored the solutions are, the more the customer becomes "addicted" to the relationship, and will refuse to try alternatives.
For example, when an
external consultant develops personal ties with the managers
and many key individuals in a large company over the
course of numerous years, he learns how to provide them
with excellent service and perfectly understands
the organizational culture and the changing needs, and
makes it very difficult for the organization to let go
of his services. In fact, if he does his job
devotedly, he becomes an inseparable part of the organization.
In such cases it is not worthwhile to replace him with
a new consultant that is unfamiliar with
the organization. This is definitely a way to obtain a lasting
Can large organizations
also adopt such a strategy? And how is it actually done?
Here are a few tips for anyone choosing this strategy:
- What products and
services enable a mutual dependency to be
created? Mainly those required on an ongoing
basis, year after year, which are strategically
significant to the customer. For example: legal
consulting, computerization services, maintenance of
production facilities, and the supply of raw materials
or sub-contracted semi-processed products. In contrast
- whoever provides office supplies, air conditioners,
interior design or catering services will find it very
difficult to cause customer senior decision makers to
be dependent on them long term.
- What is the right size? Large
companies can also adopt a mutual dependency strategy.
In order to do this, they must simply find big enough
customers. For example, a symbiotic relationship with
a large university, with an international hotel chain,
or with a car manufacturer - can certainly be
sufficient and yield a substantial income for very
large companies as well.
- How does this differ from a niche
strategy? This is not the development of designated
solutions for a group of customers with similar
characteristics (for example - children's products
or consultation for Non-Profit Organizations), in other words
specializing in a niche. Mutual dependency requires a
separate specialization for each customer. The
customers can be very different from each other (for
example - the army and an insurance company). Even if
they are similar - how they are handled is not
uniform. Fostering the unique ties and solutions for a
specific army does not ensure success with another
army in this case. Each customer is its own entity and
everything must be begun anew with each new customer -
personal relations, building trust, learning,
continuous improvement, etc.
- Isn't the dependency on a small number of
customers risky? There is definitely a risk involved.
When a company receives 20% or more of its revenues
from one customer, and that customer leaves the
company, it can wind up in serious trouble. A company
with a small number of customers is more vulnerable
to risks. Therefore, a company like this will
receive a relatively low valuation by investors.
- How can the risk be decreased? One way is to increase the number of customers so
that the desertion of a single customer does not pose
an existential threat. For example - if no customer is
responsible for more than 10% of the overall revenues,
the risk is much smaller. Close relationships with 15
or more customers needs to be fostered for this
purpose. Not a simple task at all. Another way is to
increase the dependency and the emotional ties of
existing customers. This requires investing in ongoing
fostering of personal ties, and continuously improving
the value provided to the customers (not to become
- How is the mutual dependency
increased? Firstly, a relationship
with decision makers needs to be fostered. This means
personal connections, gifts, parties and events,
friendships, assistance with personal matters, lasting
presence, etc. Secondly, ensure high quality
service as a central value (including
service-oriented employees, customer satisfaction
surveys, service mission statement, etc.). Thirdly,
you get into the customer's shoes - in other
words you learn about him, understand what is truly
important to him, and develop designated solutions
accordingly. You measure satisfaction again, find more
things to improve, and keep on improving.
- Is it enough? Not necessarily. In
order to create true dependency you need to think
about what will really create dependency and
"addiction". For example: providing more comprehensive
services (a package deal of production machines,
maintenance, and financing); managing inventory for
the customers; developing designated applications that
the customers become accustomed to using; and even…
knowing too much about the customer…
- Does increasing the dependency indeed
prevent the risk? Increasing the dependency
indeed reduces the risk, but it does not eliminate it,
so that customers might stop buying from a beloved
supplier even if they want to work with him very much,
and even if they don't have a better alternative. For
example - when they experience financial hardship, or
if they are bought out by another company that is
accustomed to other suppliers…
- So why bother? A
mutual-dependency strategy allows you to enjoy
temporary peace of mind for long periods of time. In
addition, the revenues from each customer are very
substantial, therefore saving immense marketing
expenses. It is possible (and preferable) to also
charge a rather high price, since these are
specialized services with high added value. The
savings in marketing expenses, and the high pricing
enable you to achieve fairly high profitability. And
as a bonus - you also have fun because you are working
with regular customers, which are frequently also true
- For seminars on Strategy and Marketing::
click here (PDF booklet, in Hebrew)
- For articles on strategy and other topics: click here
- Information on strategic consulting: click here
Innovation ideas not yet realized
Ideas for innovation in popcorn
following ideas were developed using various thinking tools, and do not exist at present (to the best of our knowledge):
- Microwaveable popcorn
in individual serving sizes (quick to prepare,
convenient to hold in front of the television).
- Seasoned and colorful popcorn (a pre-prepared
mixture colored according to the flavor - paprika,
- Microwaveable popcorn that has a ringing mechanism
or the bag changes color indicating that the kernels
- Popcorn kernels with a very thin hull that doesn't
get stuck between your teeth.
- Light buttered popcorn - butter flavor with low
- Popcorn from the movies - advertisements and
coupons for DVD movies or cinema tickets on the back
of the popcorn package.
- Popcorn cakes (like rice cakes).
- A popcorn ring - a circular bag that rotates and
doesn't get stuck along the inside walls of the
microwave (uniform heating).
- Mega popcorn - from huge kernels (perhaps from a
special and brand name variety of corn).
- "Healthy" popcorn (with brand name corn that has
special healthy characteristics, for example - more
A tip on effective management
A camera on Messenger
Mobile phones were once a product that required getting used to. Today the webcam is such a product. Many managers and businesspeople are hesitant to use it, but when they get started, they don't understand how they could have managed without it. The actual camera can be purchased at Office Depot, Bug, and at many other stores. Even a webcam that costs 100 NIS doesn't do such a bad job. It is recommended to buy a camera with a relatively narrow base that can also be placed on top of an LCD screen or on a laptop (your face looks better when filmed from above). Installation is very simple (a regular USB connection). When you use the webcam for instant messenger programs (ICQ or MSN Messenger, for example, are recommended and free), that know to automatically identify the camera, life begins to look different:
- You can conduct video chats
with businesspeople and customers all over the world.
This is an obvious way to break the ice and tighten
ties. Non-verbal communication and body language are
critical in business, even from afar.
- It is also easier to improve the quality of work
with consultants and employees situated abroad. An
independent employee abroad will also feel more
connected to the organization and less cut off.
- Video chats also require speakers (or at least
earphones or an internet phone). It takes time for
organizations to be convinced that employees need
speakers for their computers. Once they were only used
for music (entertainment), which disturbs other
workers, and therefore it was not accepted. Today it
is a means of communication that saves on telephone
expenses. The voice quality isn't always the best, but
it is only improving with time. And when the
connection is faulty, you can see through the camera,
lower the volume on the speakers and speak on a
- On certain webcams you can take pictures like with
a regular digital camera. Using Messenger you can also
send the photos or all types of files instantly, and
discuss them with the person on the receiving end. It
is nice to see his response on the camera, for example
when he is studying the new logo you have sent him.
- You can also see your children and spouse at home
when you are working late at the office, or to check
during the day how the nanny is taking care of the
baby (you can activate the camera without her
knowledge). You can also send funny animated clips,
included in Messenger, to young children. They really
love it. It's also not a bad solution for keeping in
touch with friends and relatives that live far away.
- You can also photograph/film and send a greeting
or other messages (to a distribution list on regular
email). It is more personal, easy to do, and transmits
the message more authentically. The graininess and the
limited quality of the webcam intensifies the message.
- There are lots of other possibilities, try it and
Note: The Computer Dept. Manager in your organization might not love it, because use of instant messenger programs and the webcam (video!) take up bandwidth (slows internet use for other employees), and also exposes the organization to security problems. There are organizations that bock webcam and Messenger use in advance, for these exact reasons. In any case, it is worthwhile to try it even from home, and to be on top of things. What was once forbidden will soon become necessary.
- For downloading recommended Instant Messenger programs: ICQ | MSN Messenger
- For information on interpersonal communication workshops: click here (PDF, in Hebrew)
- For news on ZOOZ clients: click here