Pivot for profitability with Account Based Marketing
Source: The Learn-Build-Measure loop from the The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries
A recycling platform becomes a successful business by giving its customers what they actually want.
A small change can make a big difference. For businesses, having a deep understanding of what your customers really want and adjusting accordingly can be the difference between success and failure. The principles of Account Based Marketing (ABM) can be used to help business owners make changes that bring about profitability.
A South African recycling platform called Kudoti came about in 2019 as a result of two people who had been trying to find solutions for the informal waste industry individually. Gift Lubele and Matthieu De Gaudemar joined forces on their mission to digitise the circular economy. A few months later, one of BeBold’s founders, Prasenjit Sinha, met the duo at a Singularity University event and wanted to get involved in their cause. Soon, Prasenjit became a co-founder of Kudoti, bringing innovation and product expertise to the team.
Customer insights are key
The first element in ABM is to position your brand as a trusted enabler. The Kudoti team approached the waste management market with a solution that used the Internet of Things (IoT) to measure the amount of waste in a bin. Companies expressed interest and a few gladly piloted the product. Yet none of them signed up. After four months of work with no results to show for it, the team re looked at the product and pricing. People liked and trusted the product and the team, they understood how it could enable their businesses, but they still weren’t signing up. The current business model didn’t seem to work because the cost of implementing the solution outweighed the benefit the IoT devices provided.
The team replaced the physical IoT device with a web-app, reduced the cost of the product and re-entered the market with a new business model. When this approach also yielded no revenue, the Kudoti team began to understand something important about their customers. Clients would spend money to make money, but they wouldn’t necessarily spend money to save money. Although clients weren’t signing up with Kudoti just yet, the team had built relationships with people in their target market which made it possible to gain such insights. This is the second element in ABM which involves deepening customer relationships. In creating relationships with potential future customers, the Kudoti team could rework their business model based on what the waste management industry really wanted.
Make the Change your Customers Want
Today, Kudoti’s business model has adapted to offer bespoke digital waste value chains for corporate sponsors. Companies are signing up because they can improve their corporate social responsibility efforts and contribute to the communities around them.
Previous business models haven’t fallen away. Instead, the team has adapted the products to run in parallel with the current business model. This is where the third element of ABM, which involves serving customers with the right content at the right time, can make an impact. When a person who works for a corporate company visits the Kudoti website with the intention of improving their CSR, they will also find out that Kudoti also runs a market place for the informal waste industry. For customers looking for recycling opportunities, supply chain discoverability is possible through Kudoti too. Customers who receive communication about their current engagements with Kudoti will eventually be served with information about the other innovations the team can provide.
Kudoti now has several products to offer to different players in the waste management industry, giving them more opportunities to make a successful connection. The team continues to keep a close eye on the dynamics of the industry so they can make adjustments quickly and remain relevant for customers.
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