You Should Want What CEO’s Want

What do CEO’s want?



Customer Intimacy


IBM has just completed a study of over 1500 CEO’s (free registration required to read) and other decision makers from around the world with special emphasis on a group IBM calls “standouts”.

Simplicity. I don’t need to tell you how fast things are changing these days. Many people are being overwhelmed by information and technology overload.

A cell phone user manual is now 3 or 4 times the size of the phone. What did someone come up with? A simple-to-use cell phone. That’s all it does. It has oversize numbers. It’s cheap. It sells!

The idea is to simplify things for both you and especially – the customer. Split-test an ad containing two different keywords – learn vs. easy – and see which one has a better response.It may just mean using a product video demonstration rather than a manual, or a simpler interface to a complex program.

Dexterity. Many of the CEO’s surveyed doubt their ability to cope with changing technology. But, the best corporate managers look at rapid change as a challenge. Flexibility is key – the ability to create new products, scale up or down with equal ease, meet changing demands, respond to new trends.

You have to be quick on your feet, an advantage for small businesses that aren’t bound by an overbearing hierarchy but can adapt to changing conditions.

Customer Intimacy. Getting to really know your customers is actually helped by today’s technology – website tracking, polls, surveys, Facebook, Twitter and other social media, all connect you with your customers.

Customers have never had so much information
or so many options. CEOs are making “getting
connected” to customers their highest priority to
better predict and provide customers with what
they really want.

What do people want or need? Your products can be developed with your customers rather than just for your customers.

Creativity.  I’m going to back off a little from the recommendations in the IBM study. They use terms like ‘courageous’ and ‘transcend’ and ‘unconventional’.  As a small business owner you may not want to bet the farm on something “outside the box” (if I hear that phrase one more time I’m gonna scream).

But, they did have a few good suggestions:

  • Continually tweak your models
  • Borrow from other industries’ successes
  • Use a wide range of communication approaches

For small businesses, most marketers will tell you to find a need and improve on what’s already out there, not reinvent the wheel.

Conclusion – What CEO’s the world over want for their business you should want for yours. You have to talk with your customers, simplify things for them, adapt to changing conditions and find new ways to market your products. Good advice for businesses large and small.