CIM Marketing Podcast - Episode 64: Is customer-led marketing the key to innovation?

CIM Marketing Podcast - Episode 64: Is customer-led marketing the key to innovation?

The science of customer satisfaction

This podcast will: 

  • Show how customer-led marketing boosts your business
  • Reveal the secrets of disrupting from within
  • Explore the exemplars of customer-led marketing.
Podcast transcript

Sophie Peterson  00:03

Welcome to the CIM Marketing Podcast. The contents and views expressed by individuals in the CIM Marketing Podcast are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the companies they work for. We hope you enjoy the episode.

Ben Walker  00:18

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the all new season of the CIM Marketing Podcast. And to kick off today, we got a very special guest in the shape of Charlie Dawson, who is founder of The Foundation and author of The Customer Copernicus. Charlie, how are you today, sir?

Charlie Dawson  00:36

Very good. Thank you very much. Very good to see you.

Ben Walker  00:38

It's great to see you, too. And welcome to the new season, thanks for kicking us off. And starting with this curtain raiser, good curtain-raiser I think. We're going to be talking about your area of expertise, which is customer-led marketing and how that can be beneficial for business. And if it's not too obvious a question, humour me at least, what do we mean, when we're talking about being customer-led?

Charlie Dawson  01:06

It's actually a very good question. Because there's a lot of cross-purposes discussion about this. Customer led is not what it sounds like. So it sounds like you ask customers what to do, and then do what they say, and it isn't that. It's actually about doing two things, together.

It's understanding what customers really value. So what are the problems they're trying to solve or the outcomes they want, rather than what they're buying at the moment? And then once you've understood those, can you find new and better ways of solving those problems or getting them to those outcomes?  And customers can often help you with the first of those if you ask the right questions, but you have to ask like slightly deeper questions than, than the obvious. And customers often can't help you at all with the second one of those. Hence, all the cliches about customers didn't invent iPhones. And they'd have asked faster horses rather than cars, and so on. So, so being customer-led is about understanding those problems and outcomes, and then finding new and better ways to get to them.

Ben Walker  02:02

Cliches, but good cliches to remember because cliches with a grounding in, in fact, for the very few people who haven't heard those, and there may be some somewhere in the world. The iPhone point is that nobody asked for a smartphone because nobody could conceive of a smartphone, and way, way before that, Henry Ford said that if you'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have asked for faster horses, because nobody could conceive of the automobile. Nobody could conceive of a powered car, taking them around. And to some degree, Charlie, you seem to be implying that not much has changed in that regard. And customers are still not great at telling us what they want.

Charlie Dawson  02:43

Yeah, and and it's not customer's jobs to be good at doing that. It's our jobs to be good at understanding what they need and to be inventive in response. But, but that's not easy either. And, and I think something that is unchanging over many decades, are the difficulties that people find with doing this for real, that gets even magnified to an even greater degree when you try and do it in an organisation of any size. And that's what I've been studying and, and learning about for the last 23 years with The Foundation. And for the seven and a bit years it took to write the book that you referred to.

Ben Walker  03:18

Is it something that you feel might get a little bit left behind because of course, everybody would say they want to be customer-led but to be customer-led in the manner that you say it should be done, takes hard work, it takes money often. It takes energy. And you know, at the moment, lots of companies are staring down the barrel of rising energy costs, rising fuel costs, spiralling labour costs because of the tight labour market, general cost of living, hitting businesses even harder than it is household. Is it something that you fear might get a little bit forgotten? When we're in a bit of a pinch?

Charlie Dawson  03:53

I think it's something that is talked about a lot and is the front of a lot of people's minds. But I think this thing about it being unclearly understood, and then I think even bigger than that, I think the fact that it is genuinely very hard to do is what gets in the way. So let me let me sort of describe a bit about the learning that we sort of went through and let me start with some examples of success. Because the examples of success, success would make you think it might be quite common.  So there are a number of stories we looked at in the book, four of them so Tesco, EasyJet, O2 and Amazon. Let me describe quickly now.

So the first thing that, that's common about those four is the customer problems they addressed in their successes in their periods of huge success, which for Amazon is still ongoing. Were pretty obvious. So for both Tesco and EasyJet, it was that the experience of either shopping, or flying with a discount airline, was, was difficult. In fact, in the discount airline sense it was horrendous. And they, and they saw that and they did something about it. In O2's case, it was the existing customers getting ripped off and taking for granted with all the new customers getting all the best deals. And customers were very vocal about that that was a very well understood problem in the industry, but no one was doing anything about it.  Amazon. Jeff Bezos is fond of saying, customers are never going to ask for less choice, more expensive products and slower delivery, they always going to want more choice, faster delivery and lower prices. You don't need to keep asking them that you just need to concentrate on finding new or better ways of doing it. So the customer problems are obvious. All of those organisations have also had amazing commercial success in the periods that they were very good at doing what I'm describing. So Tesco, it was over about 30 years that they did what they did. And over that period, they went from 12% to 33% UK market share in groceries, in a mature market. They went from one country to 14. They went from number three in the UK to number three in the world. And they went from making 50 million pounds profit a year to 4 billion. 

EasyJet over their period, 2010 to 2015, went from three to 5 billion revenue, 120 million to 550 million profit, and a share price from £4 pounds to £19. O2 In their period of 2003 2008. went from being described as worthless, valued at about 3.7 billion to five years later being bought by Telefonica for 17.7 billion. And Amazon I think we all know about Amazon, but it is, it does, it is slightly hair-curling actually that in 1996, their revenue was only $15 million. 10 years later, it was $15 billion. 10 years later than that it was $150 billion. And the valuation in August 2020 topped $2 trillion.  So I think all four of those, you'd say the thing they did for customers was obvious. And their commercial success has been significant. Usually things that are obvious and attractive, you think would be common, and yet this is incredibly rare. So what we've, what we found ourselves doing the book was trying to find out why. Why is this obvious and attractive thing so rare?

Ben Walker  07:09

 Why is it so rare?

Charlie Dawson  07:11

I guess that's the obvious next question.  First of all, let me describe there are two different ways of looking at the world in an organisation. The common one is from the inside out. So you start with, you know, in your offices next to your colleagues, and and you have lots of ways of doing things that are quite familiar. And customers are quite distant, and often silent and certainly not present every day. Or you can look from the outside in. So you can start with customers and their worlds and what really matters to them, and then try and work out how you respond to it as an organisation.  And that is less common and more difficult. What we, what we found in our journey of writing the book is that, something quite strange, in addition to that, it also really matters.

And they are the unspoken shared beliefs that people in an organisation have. So shared beliefs are very powerful things. So if you think years ago, when everybody assumed the Earth was flat, it was quite dangerous to think that the Earth, or to say that the Earth might be round. And in fact, Copernicus who's been mentioned already, he was the person that that said that, in fact, the Earth goes around the sun rather than the sun going around the Earth. And he was so worried about what might happen that the book he wrote to say that, he put at the beginning of it that 'this was useful for navigating ships, but might not be true'. He was concerned that the Catholic church might put him to death.

Ben Walker  08:39

It was heretical for him to make this suggestion, because it didn't meet the shared beliefs of the general populace and the Catholic Church.

Charlie Dawson  08:46

That's right, he was going against the shared beliefs of not just them, but many more. So in organisations, there are usually a lot of unspoken, there are always a lot of unspoken, assumptions or beliefs. In particular, in relation to this question, that matterered, that are about what success is and how success is achieved. So kind of what gets you a pat on the back? And what gets you in trouble? What gets you promoted? And what gets you overlooked and put to one side? And also, I think, you know, those unspoken shared beliefs about you know, do you swear? Do you turn up on time for every meeting, or does it not really matter? And we're really good as social animals at detecting those beliefs. And we all know that the way you detect them is you look at what everyone else does, you don't read what's written down.

Ben Walker  09:30


Charlie Dawson  09:30

And what's written down might be that we customer-led, but what everyone does might not be that at all. What we then learned was that there are some inside-out belief systems, and outside-in belief systems that relate to this question of being customer-led. And inside-out belief systems are of course, natural. Inside-out beliefs, in relation to what I've just said, might be that success is some form of hitting the numbers. And a good way of achieving it is setting higher targets, promising people lots of money if they hit them, and getting annoyed with them if they don't.  And what I've just said is powerful for at least two reasons.

One is, it's really common, like most organisations do a version of what I've just described. So you don't exactly stand out as being mad if you, if you follow that prescription. The second issue is that in the short term, if you're in a degree of chaos, and you do what I just described, actually, for a short while, you will do better, because you'll be organised and teams will know what they're supposed to be doing. And they'll be focused on the big getting on with stuff and so on. The problem comes over time, as the number you're trying to hit each year gets higher. And if you're a very inside-out orientated company, your response to the number getting harder to hit is to push harder. To at best become quite promotional and salesy with your, your communications, perhaps, maybe less good than that you become quite hard salesy in your culture. And maybe worse than that, some organisations find themselves with people who just make the numbers up. So inside-out belief systems are very common, but are very unhelpful - eventually.

Ben Walker  11:06

They're okay for exploiting your existing customer base in any given moment. Because they're, they're a bunch of shared beliefs, which are based on something. But as you, as the target grows, and as you're, you're looking to expand your customer base, you're just doing the same thing over and over again. And instead of unlocking new constituencies of customers, you're just trying to hit the existing base harder and harder and harder. And actually, some of that base will be peeling off to more innovative companies.

Charlie Dawson  11:33

That's absolutely right. Let me describe why outside-in beliefs or an outside-in belief system is almost equally difficult and problematical. And it's because most customer-led initiatives have a set of qualities that are all good, they they are obviously good for customers, they obviously have a cost to the business, but it is less clear in advance what the commercial return to the business is going to be. So let me, let me give an example. So Tesco, one of the first things Tesco did in their, in their very good run was they introduced the one-in-front queueing system.

Ben Walker  12:06

What is the one-in-front, now you have to remind me. It's so long back in the day, I can't remember the one-in-front queueing.

Charlie Dawson  12:11

So the promise was that if you're in a queue, and there was more than one person in front of you, they would open the next checkout. And if they carried on being more than two people in each queue, they would open the next checkout. And they would keep on doing that, they'll keep on doing that until all the checkouts were open. And that was their promise that they advertised on telly. And they worked out in advance of doing that, that it would cost them 60 million pounds a year for the extra people.  At the time, their profits were 500 million pounds a year, this was a serious commitment. Now the question is what are customers going to do when you do it. So clearly, shorter queues are better than longer queues. But a customer is going to come more frequently, or they're going to spend more each time they come, or there's going to be kind of pleased and spend exactly the same? And then there's a further problem, because it's quite hard to find out the answer to that question in advance.

So you can't research it. You know, if you ask customers what they're gonna do that, I mean, they don't know, they might answer the question, but they don't really know until they've experienced it probably multiple times.  You could pilot it. But if you pilot it, you're going to show your competitors what you're planning to do. And Tesco's biggest motivation was to overtake Sainsbury's, who at the time had been market leaders for years. So showing Sainsbury's what you're planning to do was not a good idea, if you were going to get benefit from doing something before them and shouting about it. So you're stuck in this difficult situation where you've got, you've got this good business case where you can't make the commercial part of it with certainty.

Ben Walker  13:38

It's a beautiful marketing conundrum that can be applied as an example all over the place. It's that we've got this great idea: we know from a marketing standpoint, we're pretty confident it's going to work because nobody likes queuing up in the supermarket, and if we can make this pledge, and we can be good on our pledge, we know that it's something we're going to be able to shout about and crow about. But when you go to the finance people, they say, okay, that's fine, but it's going to cost us 60 million quid in extra labour, a lot of that labour will, by definition be latent. So it's going to cut into our profit margin. Yes, the customers might be slightly happy, but we don't know how much that happiness is going to turn in terms of extra revenues. So it's very hard to make that case, to the FD to the C-suite, when you're the CMO, even though you know, it will make the customers happy.

Charlie Dawson  14:26

So let me, let me now describe to you what we learned about how this conundrum gets solved. Our learning is about what I've described as customer pioneers. So, so this is fairly unusual, where an organisation in a sector pioneers on behalf of customers kind of goes first proactively and makes things work better for customers before their competitors, before others in the sector.

And customer pioneers have this, have this quality of going first and then have these properties of doing very well commercially. So what did, what did what do customer pioneers do? Well, we found that there were four steps to their journey. But I'm just going to deconstruct the first two, really. The first one of the two I described as a precondition, really. And it's, and we've got a very odd word for it, we call it 'burning-ness'. So burning-ness actually means one of three things, it means pain, or fear, or ambition. And they're actually in descending order of effectiveness.  So pain is 'it's going wrong, obviously, now in the organisation', so it's like a turnaround. So nobody argues that things have to change. Fear is a bit less effective, because it's okay now, but it's gonna go wrong in a bit. So maybe digital disruption is a good example of this. So maybe you're Kodak who invented digital photography, but you're selling an awful lot of conventional film. Why would you ruin your conventional film business today? Why don't you wait for a year, and do it then. So fear can be powerful, but it's less powerful than pain. And then ambition is the weakest. Because ambition, as far as you can tell, things are fine now and they're fine in the future. But you have some desire to prove something to mend something out there, to make the world a better place, to win, some kind of shared ambition amongst the leadership team to do something very different. And the point about calling this burning-ness is to have the effect that's needed.  Whatever combination of these of these qualities you have pain and fear and ambition, need to be held so strongly, that you're simply not prepared to contemplate not addressing the fear, or not realising the ambition, or not dealing with the pain. And what that does is it flips the risk ground.

So normally, it's safe to do what you've always done, and dangerous to do something a bit different. But if you're on fire, it's madness to keep doing what you've always done, and only doing something quite different might take you away from the pain or the fear or towards your ambition. And you still don't know for sure, in advance how well those different initiatives might work. But if you're someone like Tesco, you look at the number of things you could do. And you kind of go 'Okay, that one in front queueing thing that looks like it's got promise, that looks like it's less mad than the other mad things, let's, let's give it a go. Let's try it, it's worth trying.' And so burning this then gets you to the second step, which which we described as moments of belief. So the only things powerful enough to change the unspoken shared beliefs of people across an organisation are people seeing something work for real, that contradicts the assumptions they previously had

Ben Walker  17:39

To get past that first element of inertia, that first element of natural diet of shared beliefs, if you like, busting shared beliefs strikes me as a non trivial challenge.

Charlie Dawson  17:49

The burning-ness needs to be needs to be felt by, by by at least a small group of the of the leaders of the of the entire business. So in Tesco's case, that burning-ness was ambition, and it wasn't it wasn't necessarily a lovely ambition. They hated Sainsbury's and a bunch of people joined in 1982, who got called 'the class of 82' and Terry Lee, he was one and Tim Mason was another and there were there were about 20, 20 plus of them. They had different backgrounds to the traditional Tesco people. They were very ambitious and very driven. And they wanted to show that they could beat Sainsbury's and so they spent the 80s catching Sainsbury's up, essentially by benchmarking Sainsbury's and copying them. But what they realised was they couldn't overtake Sainsbury's by copying them clearly.

They had to find something they could do first, Terry became chief marketing officer, Terry did a big study, looking at how customers saw supermarkets and concluded that the products were seen as good and the prices were good, but the experience of shopping wasn't. So he thought, if we do something about the experience of shopping, we can actually do something before Sainsbury's that customers are telling us they're gonna like customers are telling us how to beat Sainsbury's. Let's do that. So that's where that's where it came from.  In EasyJet's case, Carolyn McCall arrived. And when she arrived, it was pain. So it was a turnaround situation, the previous leadership team had cut back and cut back and cut back to the point that there weren't sufficient numbers of crew to run a punctual airline. And without punctuality, nothing else matters from a customer's point of view. So the first thing was that she had to reinvest to get to get the punctuality back. She also used language quite cleverly, early on, and language is a good clue to the unspoken shared beliefs in an organisation. And so one of the things she did, she was in operational meetings, the teams referred to flights that were delayed and you know, the flight stuck in Madrid and a flight stuck in Amsterdam and they have the code names for them and said, could we talk about the number of people in are in Madrid and the number of people in Amsterdam?

So people started saying okay, well, there's 100 people in Amsterdam, 180 people in Amsterdam, there's 200 people in Madrid, at least - "Oh, hang on a minute." So they, do they know what's going on, and 'do they have food and do they have somewhere to stay at night?' and etc. It just prompted people to, almost subconsciously to begin with to start thinking in a more human outside-in way than the mechanistic sort of inside-out way that was natural. EasyJet then moved on to a more, a nicer version of ambition. So her team, a team, leadership team, changed a little bit. She, at least a couple of people, joined from the outside that had more naturally kind of marketing type views. And they and they developed purpose, possibly the most boring purpose I've ever heard. And it was to make flying easy and affordable for their customers.

Ben Walker  20:41

Boring, it was boring, but probably something that appeals to customers.

Charlie Dawson  20:45

Appeals to customers. And it meant something because their observation was that that that discount flights were affordable, but they were anything but easy. And their job wasn't to make it easy and less affordable. It was to make it easy and still affordable.

Ben Walker  20:59

Affordable. Yeah.

Charlie Dawson  20:59

And at that point that becomes an innovation challenge.

Ben Walker  21:02

They wanted to keep the low price, but make the experience enjoyable. And that was that was no small challenge was it?

Charlie Dawson  21:10

Absolutely. And their first two months of belief tackled two of the things that people hated most. So one of those was not having an allocated seat. So you had that race to sit down, which only if you were travelling on your own and you were quite fit, did you enjoy. Probably even then you didn't enjoy it really. You've got to get the planes to be able to fly backwards and forwards eight times a day to make the economics work to get the prices down. That means you got to turn the plane around very quickly. And if people know where they're sitting, they sit down slowly.

Whereas if they don't know where they're sitting, and they just sit in the first seat that's available, they sit down much more quickly.  So the assumption was you couldn't get quick turnaround times and allocated seats together. And that's what they set out to try and work out. If you could, you could do both. And it took them 18 months. And when you say afterwards, 'it took 18 months', it doesn't sound that long. But when you think after a year, they hadn't solved the problem. And they didn't know it was going to take 18 months. So the determination, the burning sense of ambition that they had to have to keep going and the operations director thought it was never going to work.


Ben Walker  22:16

So there is, this is a really interesting story because they knew what they wanted to do. They knew what the pinch point will work from the customer's point of view, because it was hated, to, this scrum for a seat they're going on a holiday or even a business trip. And it made this miserable experience. So they have to sort of, you know, run for a seat at the last minute, which nobody wanted to do. But there was a reason for it in terms of the mechanics of an airline works because it meant that, because you're putting pressure on the customer to go and sit down they say sit down bloody quickly. Whereas otherwise, they where, otherwise, they dawdle. They know exactly where they're sitting, they're leaving it, they're going to the shop, they take their time. And it's harder for the crew to board the airline. So the mark just say, great, well, we're good, he's gonna get rid of this. But then when we look into it, we think, 'Oh, hang on, there's a reason why we did it' from a from a mechanistic point of view. And actually, it's a really tough challenge to solve. So there's something about customer-led is that come up with the idea, but then you got to work out how to overcome the embedded challenges within it.

Charlie Dawson  23:14

And in a sense, no one function can do it on their own.

Ben Walker  23:18


Charlie Dawson  23:19

Whatever, you know, what customers experience ultimately is the product of what everybody in the organisation does. So you might, you might have the insight into what could make the difference. But you're going to need to orchestrate, work collaboratively with colleagues, to do what's going to be needed to get it done. And in the end, the inspiration they got was from Formula One wheel changes, tire changes. Which essentially four things happen in parallel rather than one thing happening four times in series. And so this is why you bought discount airline planes now always from the tarmac. So even if there's an air bridge, they don't use it. And if you bought on the tarmac, then if you've got an allocated seats, you know whether you get in the front door or the back door, and it does take you longer to sit down, but you basically fill in, fill up two halves of the plane in parallel, rather than the whole plane in series. And that was the key to unlocking the problem, which they then made a huge amount of money from and got huge advantage from.

Ben Walker  24:18

Though ultimately a simple solution but it takes a while to work it out and work out how you're going to do it and how you're going to crack it. And it's genius, a great story and the books full of these stories. And that sort of things that marketers and their colleagues in businesses can can get some inspiration from. Because the danger is of course, if we're not customer-led, then someone will come in and disrupt the industry by being customer-led. So we've got to be disruptors within our businesses. It strikes me that a lot of these stories will show marketers that it can be done.

Charlie Dawson  24:49

Absolutely. There are 18 stories in the book and most of them are legacy companies that found the burning Enos from one of those sources and had the outside in perspective to then do something constructive about it. And it's hard what what you're doing in the legacy business. The problem is, you become fixated about the solution to the customer problem that you've learned to produce at scale. And you start thinking the thing you're producing is, is the, is the solution, is the best possible solution to the problem. So I remember years ago working on ready meals.

And, and the problem with working in a ready meal sector is that you just think about your competitors, who also produce ready meals. And so innovation is you know, different packaging, and maybe a different cuisine from Vietnam or something like that. And then along comes Deliveroo. And Just Eat. And of course, the problem the customer is trying to solve is how to get nice food quickly. And as soon as you say that, it's obvious, there are ways to get nice food quickly that aren't ready meals. But the problem is if you're if you're in in a category of ready meals, you you just concentrate on doing that as well as you can.

Ben Walker  25:53

So come on then, 2023, if you're a marketer, many of our listeners are marketers in, are going to use that phrase 'legacy business', I always find it sounds slightly derogatory, it shouldn't. Established businesses who are facing disruption, we're all facing disruption, everybody's facing disruption. 2023 is coming along, we know it's going to be difficult year with margins, we know that costs are going to be high.  If you've got an idea about how your business can become more customer-led and disrupt from the inside by being more customer-led, what are the steps you take in your business to get your ideas to the top table? Is it about finding allegiances, finding those allies, finding those people that do share the burning-ness in there, even though that might not be everybody? Is it about identifying those souls in different parts of the business, different departments?


Charlie Dawson  26:43

I think I think that's, that is definitely a crucial part of it. I think there's also maybe a couple of things you can do to help people go on the journey, right? One of the things that we found that can help people's belief, outside-in belief, in in a much more practical, small way, are doing things in person to look from the outside-in. And remember looking for the outside in has two things about it. It's about understanding what really matters to customers, and then finding new and better ways to respond to their problems and the outcomes they want. So, so speaking in person, to some customers, even a very small number of customers, sounds really obvious.

But it's very powerful at reminding you about how they see the world, what they really care about what the impact is of what they're experiencing from others and from you, and you doing that, but also other people from other parts of the organisation doing that can be a really powerful unlocker for people to realise there's stuff out there that matters that they're not dealing with that there are problems that are not fully solved. Or there are consequences to things that are happening that are normally invisible, that are quite serious, and maybe people are carrying on buying from you. But their mindset is very much not with you and frustrated and, and so on.


Ben Walker  28:10

Do you think sometimes going back to what you said right at the top of the show, customers have a tendency to accept the difficulties accept unpleasantness is just part of the transactional process, they may not nap, they may not complain, bounded all the time, even if they feel it themselves. And sometimes you got to dig a little bit to find these pain points.


Charlie Dawson  28:33

We talk about the breadth of your conversation with customers as being either at the thin end of the wedge or the thick end of the wedge. And most people tend to have a conversation at the thin end of the wedge. Let me give example. If you're a credit card company, a thin end of the wedge conversation will be let me ask you about credit cards. How did you why did you choose the current credit card that you've got, and what customer will probably say something to do with interest rates or what have you. And it will be kind of true, but it won't be very helpful.

The thick end of the wedge is starting with them in their lives and who they are and how they live. And probably some characteristics they have like whether they're quite planned or quite spontaneous about things and their attitudes to money and whether they're comfortable with debt, or whether they're more savers and want to be a bit more controlled with things. And then you might get a bit further on the wedge a bit a little bit narrower and start understanding what they do in relation to money and buying things and the relationships they've got with different sorts of organisations and so on. And their answer to those questions will be more will make more sense because you've understood the bigger picture. And then maybe you'll get back to why they got the particular credit card they've got.

But by now you've got all this context. So you'll understand that for them, a credit card is only ever going to be a small part of a solution. And maybe they use it in a very narrow very particular way. Or maybe they they use it in a very irresponsible very big way. because of other assumptions they've got, but you understand a whole lot more about what really matters to that customer by looking at the thick end of the wedge by starting at the thick end of the wedge, than by only being at the thin end of the wedge. So even in conversations with customers, and there is a second bid to come to doing this as well. But even in just looking at conversations with customers, there are are more useful versions of conversations and less useful versions of conversations that you can have.


Ben Walker  30:24

Yeah, yeah. So what's the second bit, then what's the second way that you're going to reveal?

Charlie Dawson  30:28

So the second bit is the second part of looking outside-in. So it's the, it's the new and better ways bit. And again, we found that there are ways of doing this, that are quite personal and quite emotive. And essentially, this is about looking at parallels. So find people in other sectors, not close competitors, but in other sectors that have done have tackled issues with some similarities to the issues that you're wrestling with. And then find somebody in that organisation, or who used to work for that organism, work for that organisation, and listen to their story in person.

And when you do that, and maybe when, when a group of you does that from your, from your own team, or from your own wider organisation, you get two things from it, you get ideas that you wouldn't necessarily have had before. But more importantly than that, you get belief that very different things are possible, because it's happened over there.  And you've got a chance in the conversation to also say what went wrong? And how did you make the case to do that? And if you did it again, what would you do differently? And what did it really cost? And how long did it really take and all of that stuff. But it's true, what happened is true. And you might find that it took a bit longer than would have been ideal.

But it definitely happened. But you listen, you listen and learn in quite helpful way. They're not telling you what to do. They're just telling you what they did. And if you have three or four or five of those conversations, then people give you new bits of jigsaw puzzle that you didn't have before that you can piece together into a new picture, that you can now start believing might answer the customer problems that customers told you about, that customers can't solve on their own, and that you can't solve very easily on your own either. So, so that's a sort of belief-based way that we found of giving, giving you both the insight that you might need, about what really matters, and then the ideas and the confidence or the belief to do something about it. That hasn't been done before in your sector.

Ben Walker  32:27

That confidence and that belief will help change your mind. So to match up your mindset from being inside out to outside in and we all need a bit of smashing up and self discretion. From time to time, I would say okay, that is fantastic Charlie, some great insights there today. When can we get hold of this book of yours?

Charlie Dawson  32:44

It's on sale now, through all good booksellers, and probably some of that aren't good as well. So yes, I'd encourage you look for it. There's a website, Just 'the customer copernicus' as one word. That's quite hard to say. And I'd encourage people to have a look and enjoy the stories.

There are some other stories on the website as well from some other organisations that aren't included in the book. So they're worth reading too, Transport for London, Giffgaff, Mumsnet, and even the Glasgow neonatal clinic, who have, who have used a parent-centred approach to sort of young and sick babies.

Ben Walker  33:20

Fantastic. Some big brands or some lesser-known brands, but all great stories. Charlie Dawson, Thank you very much indeed. I hope you'll join us again on the CIM Marketing Podcast very soon.

Charlie Dawson  33:31

Yeah., love to. Thank you, love loved talking to you.

Sophie Peterson  33:34

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Ben Walker Host CIM Marketing Podcast
Charlie Dawson Author The Customer Copernicus
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