From Jack Welch’s Growth to Jeff Immelt's Growth
Jeff Immelt at General Electric, is an example of placing upstream marketing behavior at the center of their organization.
Under Jack Welch’s leadership, GE became a fine-tuned productivity machine and managers’ focus was making work more efficient. Growth under Welch “top-line growth [was] largely through geographical expansion and acquisitions.” (Stewart 2006)
Immelt retained and intensified this focus, but “the new focus is on achieving organic revenue growth” (Stewart 2006). Immelt “made organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions his number-one priority, explicitly putting in place the skills and behavior of upstream marketing in each of the company’s businesses.” (Charan 2004)
At the Customer, For the Customer
His program “At the Customer, For the Customer” or ACFC are “designed to help GE customers spot new opportunities, figuring correctly that if they grow, GE will as well.” (Charan 2004).
ACFC is a sales process designed to help the customer prosper with “performance solutions”, by “doing Six Sigma projects in GE customers’ operations to help them be more successful” (Immelt in: Stewart 2006), not to push for more sales from existing customers.
To communicate and show how GE can add value to their customer it requires the GE technology and GE sales to join forces and to link into the social and decision-making processes of its customers.
Because GE has unmatched technology knowledge in applications specific to the needs of its individual customers, these customer interactions go beyond the sales and evaluation process and so far as to embedding people to help the customer improve their differentiation against its competitors.
“We created an offering called “At the Customer, for the Customer,” which involves doing Six Sigma projects in GE customers’ operations to help them be more successful. We’re doing this, for example, with a big health systems company where we’re embedding a dozen people—we call them “performance solutions”—who will train the company’s employees on Six Sigma and work with them to apply it to the billing process, the emergency room, any six areas the company chooses.” Jeff Immelt
With a market map GE could identify several customer segments “where it could get paid a premium for helping customers differentiate themselves from the competition.” (Charan 2004)
“[A] creative and practical market map and customer-needs segmentation is an important factor” (Charan 2004) in growing revenue.
Thomas A. Stewart, “Growth as a Process,” Harvard Business Review, June 1,2006, https://hbr.org/2006/06/growth-as-a-process.
Ram Charan,Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business: 10 Tools You Can Use MondayMorning (New York: Crown Business, 2004). Get on Amazon1a