What we’re thinking
Every progress journey starts from the seeker’s progress origin.
It is unique to each seeker and for each progress attempt. And is likely to move over time as seekers acquire resources in other markets, industries and progress attempts.
Interestingly, progress propositions need to assume a progress origin for the seekers they want to attract. They do so using one of three approaches: customisation, mainstream, or segmentation. Getting it wrong may lead to seeker frustration or too high a lack of resource – both making the proposition less attractive.
From a value perspective there is no value created at the progress origin. Only the judgement(s) of progress potential.
Finally, opportunities to systematically innovate come from reflecting changes in progress origin over time as well as closing gaps between seekers’ origins and existing propositions’ assumed origins.
progress origin: the progress state from which a progress seeker begins their progress attempts.
Whilst seekers may share similar progress origins, we are best off, initially, considering them to have unique origins. Even when repeating an attempt, they start from a different place due to gained skills and knowledge from previous attempts.
These individual starting points impact a seekers decision process in two significant ways.
Firstly, the distance between a seeker’s progress origin and their desired progress sought states often determines how much resource they need. A larger distance usually demands more resources, which the seeker might not have. Feeding into the “lack of resource progress hurdle.”
Secondly, it shapes a seeker’s assessment of progress potential. Reflecting their confidence in achieving their goal considering their starting point. Again a larger distance between progress origin and progress sought can lead to a lower judgement of progess potential.
That’s why it’s crucial to understand a seeker’s progress origin when creating progress propositions.
Relating to propositions
Progress propositions have two main aims:
- Lowering the lack of resource progress hurdle: This means providing the resources a seeker lacks to make progress.
- Enhancing assessments of progress potential: They aim to boost a seeker’s understanding of their potential for progress.
To achieve these aims, a proposition needs to make assumptions about seekers’ progress origins.
And with this comes two challenges. A proposition might assume a progress origin that is:
- farther from progress sought than the seeker sits
- nearer to progress sought than the seeker sits
Let’s explore these briefly.
assuming origin is farther away
When a proposition assumes a seeker’s origin is farther from where they actually are, it can lead to reduced seeker judgements of progress potential and eventually progress reached if they engage. In other words, a frustrated seeker.
Imagine trying to learn a language when you already know the basics, but the only available courses assume you know nothing. Engaging with such propositions would likely leave you bored until the course catches up with your current knowledge.
assuming origin is nearer
Conversely, if a proposition assumes a seeker’s origin is nearer to their desired progress sought than it really is, it risks not adequately supplementing resource. This can mean not addressing the lack of resource hurdle. Which can reduce a seeker’s perception of progress potential.
Going back to learning a language. If that language courses assumes you know more than you do, you would likely face challenges taking the course.
There a couple of approaches a helper can take to minimise these challenges – offer customised or segmented propositions.
Customising means tailoring each proposition to match the unique progress origin of every seeker. Vargo & Lush, in their work “The Four Service Marketing Myths,” advocate for customisation of offers to be the marketing norm over standardisation. From a perspective of maximizing value creation, we wholeheartedly concur.
In certain cases, customising propositions isn’t just advantageous; it’s essential. For instance, interior designers must understand their clients’ starting points to gauge the extent to which they can push creative boundaries. Or doctors must engage in individual consultations with patients to diagnose and provide personalised care.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that this level of customisation demands effort from the helper, which might be considerable. Such exertion translates into a higher equitable exchange hurdle, which could potentially dissuade seekers from engagement. It might even elevate other progress hurdles, such as adoptability (if too complicated a process) or resistance (if, for example, too nosy), further discouraging seekers from engaging.
To reduce progress hurdles, helpers may opt for a segmentation approach. Here, we identify meaningful groupings of seekers based on their progress origin and offer propositions that are ideally suited to each group’s situation.
In fact, customisation can be viewed as an extreme form of segmentation, effectively resulting in one distinct segment per seeker.
As we expand the number of seekers in segments, we turn customisation effort into assumptions. This lowers the helper’s effort thus lowering the equitable exchange progress hurdle. At the expense of being slightly less attractive to those seekers at the fringe of each segment.
Common segments include:
- Mainstream Origin: a widely shared progress origin that a large group of seekers can identify with
- Empty Origin: a special case of mainstream where the origin implies no progress has ever been made
- Niche origin: a non-mainstream segment of seekers that the helper intends to concentrate on
This is an approach more commonly associated with progress sought but can also be valid for progress origin.
Relating to value
It’s important to recognise that at the starting point of a progress journey (the progress origin), no progress has been made, and consequently, there’s no value emerged to recognise.
However, as we’ve seen, issues can arise if there’s a misunderstanding of a seeker’s progress origin. This misunderstanding can result in what is called value co-destruction. This means that goals, ambitions, and expectations are not aligned andor resources are not allocated properly. That hinders progress.
Relating to innovation
When it comes to innovation related to progress origin, the key opportunities involve tackling the two challenges mentioned earlier, which are related to the assumptions made about the starting point in propositions.
This innovation can come from:
- existing businesses (incumbents) adapting and improving their approach to address the challenges associated with progress origin assumptions.
- new entrants identifying and implementing ways to reduce frustration and lack of resources of incumbant offerings, and either replacing existing solutions with more effective approaches or supplementing them to reduce.
This systematic innovation can be pursued alongside efforts to address progress sought, creating a comprehensive approach to improving the overall progress experience.
- Does segmenting progress origin of your seekers give insights into new offerings, attracting more seekers than taking a simple mainstream view of progress origin?
- How does segmentation of progress sought feed into offerings? Particularly contextual progress, which as a rule doesn’t change in progress attempts.
- Are there growth opportunities by switching to a mainstream view of progress origin?
- Reducing equitable service exchange progress hurdle
- But is there an impact on lack of confidence progress hurdle (branding aspects)
- If your proposition will be tailorable for each seekers’ progress origin are there enough seekers able to engage in equitable service exchange for your survivability?
- What resources might some of your seekers still lack from your choice of proposition’s progress origin; is it going to kill the attractiveness of the proposition, or are they simple and effective to add?