NIT MOT Letter #31

Marketing and Transformational Leadership

  • 水澤 直哉
  • 2018年12月12日

Marketing has been changing dramatically. It has moved from a single function in an organization to a wider perspective on management, with the authentic customer focus infused throughout the entire organization.

Expanding marketing from a single function to a broader management approach has fundamentally widened the scope for the field, creating many new challenges and opportunities. Therefore, marketing, not as technical tactics but as Value Creation Strategy, has become critically important to your business innovation and strategic management.

In this dramatically changing marketplace, you are not expected to remain just another business professional, but, rather, you are highly expected to move dynamically along the upward spiral of growth as a transformational business leader. Let me share with you my definition on 4 fundamental attitudes that define transformational business leaders:

To cope with change and bring about innovation, transformational business leaders should be able to:

  1. Establish and articulate a clear vision, a picture of the desirable future state of the society which you wish to realize through your business with high ambitions and noble aspirations,
  2. Formulate an effective strategy for realizing the vision and identify key challenges to be addressed for growth and innovation,
  3. Motivate and inspire your team members in the organization to work hard to get the strategy implemented successfully,
  4. Express the whole strategy in financial figures by making a solid  Business plan.

By integrating these 4 traits, you can make a difference as a successful transformational business leader!

This integration is not easily achieved and it will take you time and efforts for sure. Therefore, I wholeheartedly extend my best wishes to all of you by sending the following message:

Grit is the power of passion and perseverance for long-term goals and massive transformative purposes. You have to be willing to fail, to be wrong and to start over again with lessons learned. Failure is not a permanent condition. Rather, failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Therefore, strive consistently for innovation to make a difference!

Also, please make the most of the following insights for exploring and maximizing customer value for your business innovation:

Ten insights for exploring and maximizing Customer Value

  (To increase effectiveness and profitability of your business)

Here are practical suggestions for maximizing customer value, staying truly customer-oriented, and producing effective results, without falling into an “internal focus” and unintentionally aiming at developing “golden products”:

(1) Is your definition of  “ Customer”  clear enough?

  • Are you fully aware of customer needs and wants, and also customer attributes?
  •  Isn’t your definition confined to such a primitive level as “the people who are buying our products and services”?
  • Are you looking beyond your direct customers into customers’ customers? (Double 3C relationship)

(2) Do you try to go beyond customer expectations and pursue “ultimate customer value”?

  •  Do you try to go beyond QCDS (Solid QCDS is only the basic “premise “for good performance)?
  •  Do you try to satisfy “unanticipated” latent needs of your customers, as a key factor for success in “delighting” them?

(3) Aren’t you falling into an “internal focus” without knowing it, even if you intend to stick to a “customer focus”?

  •  Aren’t you falling into an organizational inertia where the harder you work, the less likely you are to satisfy customers?
  •  Aren’t you trying to figure out preventive measures so that you can make tactful excuses when you receive complaints from customers?
  • To implement your strategy effectively, do you periodically review and examine your organizational behavior from the standpoint of 4Cs rather than 4Ps?

(4) You may look at your customers objectively all right, but do you view your business from the standpoint of your customers consistently, by thoroughly placing yourself in customers’ positions?

  • Aren’t you regarding customers, just as means of achieving your business goals?
  •  Are you trying to satisfy self-actualization needs of your customers?

(5) Are you confident that, as representatives of your customers, you can express true inner needs and wants of your customers, and can provide customers with deep emotions?

  • Are you trying hard to thoroughly formulate a hypothesis in order to identify latent needs that customers can not express fully enough?
  • Do you respect frank dialogues, in your workplace, that would translate tacit inner wisdom into practical knowledge and application?

(6) What desirable state of the future do you wish to realize through your business for our future generations?

  • Are you confident that you are not the slave to the immediate, with the ultimate goal always in mind?
  • Do you try to identify concrete themes and challenges to be addressed for growth and innovation, in order to realize your vision?

(7) Has a decision been clearly made on what not to do? (to seek optimum resources allocation)

  • Aren’t you in a trap where you tend to tackle all” good “themes and challenges so extensively that you can not focus on the “best”?
  • Your “selection and concentration” policy is thoroughly conducted? Aren’t you constantly busy but with limited results?

(8) To formulate differentiation strategies, are you fully sensitive to customers’ perceptions to make the points of differentiation truly meaningful to customers?

  • Are you fully aware that the way customers perceive your products and services is a decisive factor for success in differentiation strategies, instead of whether you perceive you are differentiated.
  • Can you clearly identify the differences among “Strength”, “Customer Value” and “Differentiation”?
  •  Are you fully aware of costs associated with differentiation? ( The rule of “5,4,3,3,3”)

(9)Is your Value Chain established so solidly that there is a consistent fit between departments as if the lifeline would be incorporated into maximizing customer value?

  • The mission of each department is clear enough to maximize customer value?
  • Business success is not derived from “accidents” but from “inevitability”; the best fit between departments.
  • Business success should be viewed from the viewpoint of “System thinking”, namely, the concept of total optimization should be employed instead of the idea of partial optimization.

(10) Can you identify a new path of business growth, by redefining your business from customers’ viewpoints?

  • What customers want is not the means like a 3mm drill, but the purpose and solution like a 3 mm hole.
  • Providing only the means (‘from the standpoint of customers )has become the purpose of your business?
  • Have you redefined your business by shifting your views from “Present, Means, Function and Internal Focus” (Inside-out) to “Future, Purpose, Value and Customer Focus” (Outside-in)?

Naoya Mizusawa
Graduate School of Management of Technology
Nippon Institute of Technology
   Dec 11, 2018   



  • 専任教授(実務家教員)
  • 有限会社フィロソフィア(企業の経営幹部育成事業) 代表取締役

次号(No.32)は 平川 淳教授 が執筆予定です。



NIT MOT Letter