Customer-centric Growth Insights

At the Customer For the Customer: GE's Initiative for Growth

Upstream Marketing

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.

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(Stewart 2006)
Thomas A. Stewart, “Growth as a Process,” Harvard Business Review, June 1,2006, https://hbr.org/2006/06/growth-as-a-process.

(Charan 2004)
Ram Charan,Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business: 10 Tools You Can Use MondayMorning (New York: Crown Business, 2004). Get on Amazon1a

Written:
Last updated:
2022-02-05
2022-05-03
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At the Customer For the Customer: GE's Initiative for Growth

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A creative and practical market map and customer-needs segmentation is an important factor in growing revenue
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At the Customer For the Customer: GE's Initiative for Growth

What is a Market Map?

A creative and practical market map and customer-needs segmentation is an important factor for revenue growth. With market mapping, the different properties of a product/service – which have been identified as important for positioning – are plotted against each other in a diagram. So that your own products/services can be appropriately compared to those of the competition. Market maps should help you to understand the behavior of competitors and identify gaps in the market. It also allows you to see who your competition might be/become and what other products and services are offered in the same industry and niche. Find an example at the BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z7scbdm
At the Customer For the Customer: GE's Initiative for Growth

What is ACFC?

At the Customer, for the Customer (ACFC) is a growth program started under the initiative of Jeff Immelt to to help their customers become more successful.