Dynamic Value, Conduit Style
If you ask our customers spread across half a dozen verticals about their reasons for working with Conduit, you’ll typically hear that we meet their most prevalent needs, which they’ll claim to be one or more of the following: community engagement, information sharing, customer support, and revenue generation. Concrete answers backed by objective reasoning, but are those their real needs? I don’t think so. When I probe further in search of the most prevalent motives among our customers, what I uncover most often is the need for dynamic value. If you’re not already familiar with the term, read on.
To understand dynamic value, let’s start with the basics as they apply to web publishers: All publishers want to add value for their communities, and they each define value differently, according to their unique interests. But what’s just as significant as the uniqueness of a publisher’s value is the duration of their impact. No one wants to be a one-hit wonder. Dynamic value is the ability to consistently resonate and hit your mark with your community over time.
Because products that adapt to changing content themes and ideas are bound to have a longer shelf life than those that don’t, dynamism is a thematic design objective behind Conduit’s innovations. As we evolved as an organization and recognized the idea of fostering dynamic value, we extended its application beyond the product, to critical processes impacting our customers. Our Business Development team took the concept of dynamism and applied it to our Sales and Account Management processes.
Simply put, we stopped viewing sales as a single transaction or event with customers, and started looking at it as the initial point of a continuum. We developed a Professional Services team, which helps individual customers with ongoing technical and graphical development needs. We also set up an Account Management team, which shares specific insights and expertise with customers on a long-term basis. Taking this concept a step further, we aligned our compensation systems with the publisher’s ability to add value over the lifetime of the user. For us, it’s when the sales process ends that the real work begins.
Once we began viewing our role as one of supporting dynamic value rather than impacting a specific KPI, everything changed in terms of our approach to customer relations. For example, we re-developed the idea of account optimization from a one-time event to an ongoing process, with regular evaluation, testing, and change to customer implementations. As a natural consequence, our continuing collaboration with customers has made for tighter client relationships, but these aren’t the only dividends. We also regularly receive competitive insights from our customers, and find they are a willing audience for testing our next-generation solutions.
I maintain that our interest in supporting the creation of real dynamic value for our publishers is a key differentiator between Conduit and its competitors. Although the competitive landscape is a crowded place where our rivals wage pitched battles over pricing and innovation, Conduit stands miles apart when it comes to how we view customer success. And remarkably, despite the unabashed willingness of some to replicate our technology, adopting this perspective is the one thing they continuously leave out.
Despite this disclosure, I’m not concerned that our competitors will now adopt our perspective on dynamic value. They’re just not wired with the same objectives. And that’s fine, as there is clearly some merit in taking a transactional approach to doing business. For us, however, that alone doesn’t take into account the totality of value that can be delivered – and more importantly, it doesn’t address the very real need for publishers to stay relevant to their users over time.