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Microsoft’s “wallowing in reality” is Required to Understand What Customers Really Want.

Passengers were pleasantly delighted to learn that Marjan Rintel, the airline’s CEO, was one of the flight attendants on a KLM flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam.

 While executives in the C-suites, whose desks are typically the furthest away from the consumer, may find it simpler to be given a researcher’s topline report on customer behavior, this CEO’s method of obtaining a handle on a company’s operations was a literal and figurative reality check. It offers as a good illustration of what it takes to understand how customers genuinely interact with your brand or establishment, in my opinion. In a setting where everything is shared and publicly available, To understand the subtleties of what customers are thinking and experiencing, as well as the reasons behind their actions, it takes more than a cursory review. It takes the equivalent of getting down on the ground (or, up in the air, as it were), to see, first-hand, what people enjoy about your service and, more crucially, what they don’t like. This is necessary to attract and retain customers as well as maintain a competitive advantage. 


Immersing yourself in the issues of your clients enables you to develop more pertinent and, better yet, more inventive solutions that are future-focused. Recently, I spoke with Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, on this subject. He began by expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to work for a business that actively promotes an innovative culture that encourages ongoing reinvention of not just its goods and services but also its business model. but in how each person views their work. The Microsoft teams, he continued, immerse themselves in the customer experience in order to not only understand their demands but also to be able to pivot in advance of market opportunities given the growing rate of change and the fiercely competitive environment. Capossela, however, refers to it as “wallowing in reality” rather than “immersion.” Despite how crude it may sound, Microsoft has greatly benefited from their strategies, and more importantly, so have their consumers.  


Their primary “wallowing” strategy is gathering every Friday as a cross-functional leadership team to work on exercises focused on particular problems or concerns, such as examining the company’s shortcomings and losses in the marketplace.. As opposed to how you want to perceive it from inside the confines of your company, Chris remarked, “it’s about seeing the world as it really is.” This aligns everyone’s thinking, enabling us to have insightful debates about where we need to go and why. They can use a customer who had chosen a rival product as motivation to start a discussion about how and where Microsoft fell short. Were there issues with the functionality, the sales procedure, the pricing, or any other areas where customers interacted with the business? Why did the buyer select Zoom instead of Google or Amazon? At the organization, “every one of our discipline leaders is pushed to innovate beyond the actual engineering,” according to Chris. It can be relatively simple for a corporation that focuses on products to give those teams and processes more attention, but doing so could make other disciplines less likely to innovate. 

By reversing the logic, Microsoft focuses less on rival companies and more on its existing customer base in order to gather feedback from the actual world. While interacting with your followers is where you find significant chances, we as marketers are aware that it might be easy to judge your brand based on what the competition is doing. In fact, this group is frequently able to “co-invent” the future. Chris stated, “Of course you want to know what motivated someone to purchase a competitor’s product, but the people who use our products already can teach us the most about ourselves.” Chris gave the example of Microsoft Xbox players who, despite enjoying playing on a large screen,wanted the chance to play on their phones or other devices as well. “We came to the realization that our console-centric understanding of the game industry was inaccurate. We needed to have a gaming-centric perspective, so we created Game Pass, a subscription service that allows players to access hundreds of games on various platforms. Microsoft learnt significantly more from the Xbox users—dedicated Microsoft customers—about what was essential to them than it could have from the customers of its rivals.

Brands may be both rational and emotive, as any marketer is aware. A person’s choice of a brand involves both rational and emotional considerations. However, as I previously stated, CEOs all too frequently only consider the logical side of a marketing report’s bullet points when they want to hear from customers. You can only truly understand what your customers believe when you actually spend time with them, hear them talk, see their faces, listen to them intently, and watch how they respond to your brand. “Wallowing in reality” helps you better traverse the problems in order to develop pertinent and original solutions. It gives you a deeper knowledge of their sentiments. 

Chris said, “I think it’s one of the most important things you can do to learn and refresh your team, and your brand. “Wallowing” can be the last thing a leader wants to do.

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