In 2019, AE joined the IO.Energy Ecosystem, an initiative meant to facilitate new energy services through customer centricity. While most energy players know all too well that putting the customer at the center of the organization and adapting your strategy accordingly is what customer centricity is all about, a lot of them struggle putting the idea into practice. For those organizations, switching to the Maka approach can work wonders.
What is Maka?
Maka starts from the basic principle that the energy transition doesn’t need to be expensive to be successful. Forget solar panels, heat pumps, electric vehicles and battery storage. While these innovative technologies will surely aid the energy transition, they come at a cost which is far from feasible for many consumers. Rather than push themselves to make money fast, energy players must take a step back and wonder: ‘What is the minimal added value we can deliver to help anyone gain insight into their consumption profile and, consequently, become more energy-efficient?’
Google knows the answer
Maka may seem a strange approach at first, but some of the biggest companies in the world already adopted it a long time ago – and for good reason. Take Google, for instance. One of the first offerings they launched was their search engine, a high-value yet free solution for anyone interested. Next, Google launched their second big offering, which we all know as Android: a free-to-use operating system that even allows for easy (re)branding by manufacturers.
Unparalleled customer loyalty
Effectively putting the customer at the core of their strategy, Google delivers value without asking for money. The result? Unparalleled customer loyalty and, hence, an extremely large customer base. A rare phenomenon in a world of customer empowerment where consumers are becoming more demanding and less loyal, and an interesting opportunity for (often traditional) players who are struggling to keep their own customer base – let alone expand it. To tap into Google’s massive customer base, more and more companies today are happily investing in Google’s paid services (such as Google Ads).
Ask questions first, get money later
By offering their biggest solutions for free, Google managed to become one of the most valued companies in the world. It’s a great example of what can happen when you adopt the Maka approach, which focuses first and foremost on customer value. Doing so successfully leads to improved customer loyalty and, ultimately, increased company value.
Of course, revenue streams (advertising, third party features, paid services, …) will always be needed. But they will never achieve their full potential unless there is an underlying platform that creates a clear added value both for B2C and B2B customers. What that value should be exactly, depends on the customers themselves. Never assume, but always ask them directly. In AE’s opinion, that is the only way to confirm a potential value and, at the same time, the cornerstone of any proper customer-centric platform.
Then what about innovation?
At AE, we often see customers looking into innovative technologies and new markets in a bid to tackle their dwindling customer base. While this is not a bad strategy in itself, you’re still putting yourself up for failure if you don’t focus on your customers and their loyalty towards you first. By putting money before value, after all, you will need to continue looking for new customers as your customer base becomes more and more volatile.