Understanding the Customer

Home Forums 3. Ideate Section Discussion (Oct 10 to Oct 16) Understanding the Customer

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    Mark Nasmith


    Discovery Interviews

    Business-building work to this point has included prototype development, testing, and informal discovery interviews. I have 2 of 3 prototypes delivered with direct feedback, and I’ve sat with 3 businesses/association and have their feedback as well. In general, the problem I can solve is quantifying unknown hazards, providing relief from distractions and worries, providing solutions where possible, and enabling them to confidently face the unknown.

    Canadian Legacy Project Website
    The organization appears benevolent, service-based, and sponsored. The customers are veterans. If they are looking for assistance or opportunities, then some may have trauma or addictions issues, reintegration problems, lack of purpose, or other challenges.

    The courses available speak to six interdependent aspects of post-CF life: peer support, guidance on self-sufficiency and seeking a purpose, education bursaries, urgent assistance, veteran recognition, etc. It appears that the problem CLP is trying to solve is to get veterans back on track from whatever distractions or obstacles have interrupted them. The customer relationship is very much based on personalities, trust, previous performance, and strong sense of mutual understanding.


    My customers will be small-business owners who are seeking reassurance and knowledge of natural, technological or human-made hazards threatening their business, prefer procedure and plans rather to hope in facing crises, and have an eye on the future.

    I will reach out to my customers in a variety of ways. For example, if I am simply ‘in the area’, I can door-to-door canvass businesses. I can target businesses noted in the media for market or environmental vulnerabilities. I can visit an area prone to city fires, floods, tornados, etc., when the memory is fresh.
    The sales channels will be:
    – Raising awareness though a dedicated web-site (with client logos, testimonials)
    – Enabling customer selection of Plans among options
    – Post-purchase customer support
    – My value proposition (not entirely sure how to vocalize that, yet)
    – Word of mouth among small businesses collectives, types
    – Public relations and customer service (unexpected or scheduled drop-ins)

    Specifically, each of three Plans for sale suits a different audience and are meant for different aspects of a crisis. Each Plan will have three-tiers, providing further options. Further revenue opportunities are work ‘by the hour’, and instruction.


    Judy Evans


    As I reflect on the floods of 2013 in southern Alberta and the fact that my community was 95% flooded, and my work in business recovery, I recall how we tried to help businesses develop continuity plans, with very little success. Perhaps they were too stressed, to raw, to overwhelmed and the list goes on.

    When is the best time to plan for an emergency? And why should a business plan for the worst? And how do we get people to think in risk management terms?



    Erin Melnychuk

    Judy, I love this question. I see businesses still to this day only just getting around to flood mitigation work… and that was almost a decade ago! As I see it, businesses view this work as an unnecessary expense. Or maybe a better to say that is that they view the investment as too significant when they hope it’s a once every hundred years occurrence. To me, this suggests two things, 1) businesses have not yet accepted we are experiencing significant climate change and the frequency of these events is only going to increase, 2) they haven’t wrapped their heads around a small investment in planning now, can save them significantly when the time comes.

    Mark, the hardest part about this industry is finding the delicate balance of demonstrating the case for change by investing in this type of planning, without leaning too hard on marketing through fear – people don’t respond to that. The overwhelm is real and causes people to retreat and build false narratives that provide false comfort (ie: what are the chances of that happening again?.

    I look forward to seeing how you work through this challenge, Mark.

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