Working backward from the customer result – Part 2

constraints, Customer Delight, Marketing

Yesterday we discussed on how you can start with the Future Reality Tree (FRT)from the theory of constraints. For this to work you need to have a very strong understanding of your market, so that you can keep the assumptions down to the minimum.

Once you have created the (FRT) it will also help you identify the chokes or constraints in the marketing process. This is the critical part because with this knowledge you can work on mechanisms to ensure that your process incorporates the constraint and then gives the result.

As an example if you are an author and you want the physical copy of your books to sell say 10000 copies in the first 30 days of its launch. For that to happen two things are critical – one is people know that you have a book coming out on a specific date and two they should go and buy it. For buying they have two options – online retailers and physical bookshops. Lets now only look at the physical book shops.

If a person knows that you are coming out with a book, and he reads your books and he likes to read physical copies of books and he does not like to wait for the book to arrive by courier/mail THEN he is a prospect for you to buy a book from a bookstore.

So how will he know that the book that he wants is available at the book store at the airport / railway station , when he is catching his flight/train. You will need to figure that out because now this is where everything can come to a halt. Whether you need to tie-up for signage with the shopkeeper, whether your books should be kept right at the entrance, then what would the shop charge you. You need to find that out and close all those pieces.

What this whole process of working backwards helps you do is come to what you need to do today – in the now / present – so that you can sell 10000 books from launch date to 30 days.

Today is all that you have. The future will come when it becomes “now” and we can’t forecast it. But we can take steps today.

So work on your customer journeys backwards to create delighted customers.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Working backward from the customer result

constraints, Customer Delight, Customers, ideal customer, Marketing, single target market

When you think you have identified the niche, single target market (ideal client) and you have to figure out how to reach them, a good way to start is by thinking about the result your client will get by using your product or service.

Suppose you know the ideal result you can get for your client. Does that result actually make an impact on your ideal client. If it does not, then you need to rethink about the ideal client and the single target market. If it will make an impact will they become Raving Fans. If not what will need to be done to make them Raving Fans.

If the result you can get is going to make an impact and make them Raving Fans, then you need to think in terms of the journey the client will need to take to reach that stage and then work backwards. Its something similar to the Eli Goldiratt theory of constraints – future reality tree (FRT). You go through the complete logic , starting with the end in mind and then flow backwards to the starting point, to figure out where things could go wrong or the unsaid assumptions.

Recently my team and I were doing a Future Reality Tree for one of our operations and my colleague stopped me from proceeding because we had listed out way to many assumptions for the success of the end result. With so many assumptions not getting into certainty stage, it was going to be a disaster. So now we have one person who is going to work through the next two weeks to figure out how many of the assumptions can be made into certainty by working on platforms like Linkedin etc.

When you do this FRT, you will also be able to work out the medium which can help get you the best/fastest results. It will help you also see the chokes in the system, for you to get the result for your customer.

We will work on the next steps from here in the next post.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Theory of Constraints – and product management – Part 2

B2B, constraints, ideal customer, Marketing, Product Management

In yesterday’s post I spoke why I like the Theory of Constraints and how it can help in identifying the possible reasons, why the product or service is not taking off in the market as desired.

The key advantage is gained when you speak the logical steps and while speaking you realise that there’s a gap in the logic. As a example if you have a product or service in the B2B space. In B2B the process generally involves giving presentations, giving proposals, then negotiations etc.

Now lets take an example. If I need to have 18 proposals in the “market” in by 31st March, because only when you have proposals, can you get orders. While mathematically it is a simple equation that for 30 proposals you need to connect to 900 contacts ( I have used a multiplier of 50, which could vary from industry to industry) and then go through the process. Most people follow this method and then try to do carpet bombing with very little success.

On the other hand if we were to follow the logical process that is defined by the Theory of Constraints then the logic could look like this

If I have a clearly defined Ideal Customer profile


If I have a set of 250 unique accounts confirming to my ICP to whom I can send an email


If I have correct email ids of the relevant person in these 250 companies


If I can send 50 emails to these companies everyday


If 10 people respond back


If I can show my presentation to 2 people every day or 10 people in a week


If 3 people out of the 10 in a week like my solution to their problem


If out of the 12 people in a month, 3 ask me for our proposal


In 6 months I will have 18 proposals in the market

Now if you will speak through the above sequence of logical statements, you will realise the flawed & undefined assumptions, in the argument. One item which is not included is the fact that the customer should have a budget, the statements don’t include the amount of followups that will be needed, what is the assumption behind 10 people responding back, etc. So just connecting to 900 contacts will not help you hit your target

Once you get that data then you can actually analyse whether your target is doable and what is the first thing that you need to hit at to open the “lock” in your constraint. You can also look at it in a different fashion to see for a given target, what all you will need to put in place to achieve it

Try this method and let me know your feedback.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Theory of Constraints – and product management

Assumptions, constraints, Marketing, Product Management

Eli Goldiratt in the 1960s formulated this the Theory of Constraints and over the next 30-40 years he went about figuring out the solutions in various manufacturing companies. They had a lot of consultants world wide, some of whom directly still utilise the framework given by this theory or have modified it with changing times.

Goldiratt during his lifetime had written a few books out of which Goal and Goal II are so well written, with the story so tightly woven, that you don’t realise that you are reading a book which is about serious business.

Like with any theory there are proponents and then there are some who don’t realise the value and identify flaws – like in the real world there could be more than one constraint acting in parallel. These could be true.

However , I have found the theory very logical, in that it goes step by step in a well defined manner. If you go through the If… AND If…. AND If ….. Then. If you have done logic circuits using gates(AND, OR etc. ) then it is even more easy to understand.

Aa lot of times we are faced with the dilemma, that we have introduced a product, after identifying a niche in the market, with breakthrough technology, which has a novelty factor also, but the market is not accepting it. So you start figuring out the reasons.

One way to do the analysis and figure out the course correction is using the theory of constraints, by using the If …AND , If …. Then construct. As you start speaking the logic of the conditions you automatically start realising the flaws in your assumptions and start figuring out the possible challenges because of which there’s no pull in the market. I have found it’s a good way to surface the assumptions that you have taken during the launch of the product. Sometimes it actually makes you go down to where you started the buyer’s journey for your product. It can get you down to first principle thinking because it is so logical.

So while you do a lot of careful planning while launching, you should also be ready to work on a course correction if things are not going as per plan. Its your product, so a product management person you have to do whatever it takes to make it successful.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!