Outsourcing reality show illuminates the buying process
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About a month ago, the good folks at the Outsourcing Institute asked me to contribute some "lessons" for services marketers based on their web-based reality show, The Transaction. No cash involved, but it sounded like an quick PR hit for me while helping out a great organization.
When I checked out the series, however, I realized this was a much bigger deal. Endless "experts" (including, at times, me!) pontificate about what companies need to do to market and sell high-stakes services. Some of the advice is even good. But capturing the real feel for such a complex process is extremely difficult.
The Transaction documents on video the real-life effort of a buyer team from Kodak in its effort to find and hire an outside firm to handle all of Kodak's recruitment, hiring, and on-boarding of new employees. A marketing and sales reality show, no less.
The brainchild of Outsourcing Institute CEO Frank Casale, the video series (each episode is under 15 minutes) documents critical moments throughout the buying process, from initial conception to signing the deal. Kodak begins with a list of some 50 providers to consider, narrows the list through research and due diligence, creates a finalist pool, and moves to a final decision (spoiler alert: although the final episode is not yet posted, the actual deal went down last year when Kodak signed a three-year contract with HR outsourcer Pinstripe).
Episode 7, the one for which I provided some lessons learned, shows the team debriefing its recent site visits to two finalist candidates.
Overall, it's a wonderful way to provide real insight into the buying process, something that all marketers struggle to understand -- and that the vast majority of case studies, white papers, conference presentations and the like do little to illuminate.
And make no mistake, it's a buying process, not a sales process. The Kodak team is anxious to decide (the whole process in this case was less than two months), but they are firmly in control. Marketers (and sales people) would do well to keep this basic reality at the forefront of their thinking.
So kudos to the Outsourcing Institute for creating the series and to Kodak for being brave enough to allow their buying team to work on camera. A definite thumbs up from this satisfied viewer.