In a probably slightly twisted sort of way I often think of the Rolling Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” when I think about Voice of the Customer or VOC. It is almost a universal truth that if you ask customers what they want, they will respond with some form of “a better version of what we are buying from you (or your competitor) today at a lower price.” If you just ask directly, this is almost certainly what customers will say they want, and many probably believe it. But the goal of good VOC is to get beyond this superficial response.
We often talk with companies who are waiting to work on their strategy because they are reworking their mission and vision statements. There are key differences between mission, vision and strategy and it is essential they all fit together to drive impact. Successful companies connect these three pieces together to ensure their business focus is clear, communicated and market driven. But strategy is too important to be put on hold while you search for the perfect mission and vision.
Our advice: Make sure you don’t put your strategy on hold while updating your vision and mission statements.
Read the full blog for insights on the core components of your strategy that drive results to set you and your company up for success.
When we were kids (yes, we had cars and televisions back then), there was no doubt that the DC universe of superheroes was cooler than the Marvel Universe. DC had Batman and Superman, the two coolest crimefighters, plus we had the Justice League cartoons on Saturday mornings and Lynda Carter’s Wonder Women on TV. DC… Continue reading Do you Prefer Superhero Strategy Lessons from DC Comics or Marvel?
The Pygmalion Trap The Greek myth of Pygmalion, the sculptor who falls in love with the statue he creates, is one of the most enduring stories of all time. The tale shows up in the works of Ovid, the Roman poet who lived in the time of Caesar Augustus. In the 18th and 19th century,… Continue reading Don’t Fall in Love With Last Decade’s Business Model
A man in a well-tailored suit will always shine brighter than a guy in an off-the-rack suit.
– Michael Kors
Mr. Kors may be right, there is nothing quite like a real custom-tailored suit. But it has also been one of life’s luxuries reserved for the fortunate few – a bespoke suit from one of London’s Saville Row tailors will set the owner back at least $2,000 and it could be several times that amount. So, most of us usually settled for an off-the-rack suit, it didn’t fit perfectly, but it was a fraction of the cost.
Too often, companies believe that the purpose of strategic planning is to find some magical ‘silver bullet’ that will solve all their problems and guarantee a path to profitable growth. A frustrating conversation with a client we had a few years ago comes to mind:
Amphora: What do you think of this draft strategy?
Client Executive: I don’t know, it feels like something is missing.
Amphora: Well, is there something wrong with our logic? This strategy should result in higher growth and higher profits.
Client Executive: No, but it’s based on information we already know, I was looking for a big idea.
Amphora: Yes, but this strategy is completely different than how you currently operate; it clarifies the underlying business trade-offs and forces different choices. Is there something you think we overlooked?
Client Executive: I just feel like there should be something more, like an outside-the-box idea.
Amphora: Is there any specific big idea that you think we should investigate?
Client Executive: I thought that was what you were going to come back with.
Expecting your strategic planning team to come up with the next big idea to guarantee profitable growth, is a bit like asking for a plan to lose weight without diet or exercise, or a plan to make money in the stock market without taking any risk. It would be nice if these strategies existed, but it is rarely the case.
It’s that time of year again – no, we are not referring to the holiday displays starting to appear in stores which seems to happen earlier each year as the holiday season gets longer. We are referring to the equally long season of budgeting that is ongoing for many of you reading this. CFO Magazine… Continue reading Can you make the headache of budgeting a thing of the past?
We continue to believe that done well, market segmentation is not just a critical marketing tool, but can be the defining element of your overall strategy. In our previous blog post, we shared of the most common difficulties in getting to a workable needs-based segmentation. So what can you do to avoid those mistakes above and unleash the power of an effective segmentation?
In our Grassroots Strategy workshops with clients, the highlight of the week is often market segmentation. Done well, it is one of the most important changes in the way you think about your business and customers – the customers you choose to serve and how you serve them impacts both the revenue and the expense sides of your income statement. But too often, teams struggle to do it well.
Decision making in times of unusual uncertainty is one of the greatest, perhaps the single greatest, challenges of leadership. Navigating the current COVID-19 crisis and crafting appropriate responses has been a challenge for leaders around the world. And whatever happens, we are likely to have years of second-guessing as to what we could have done differently. To some extent this is inevitable – with so many unknowns, it is a certainty that we either over-reacted or under-reacted, deploying certain measures either too early or too late; and we may never know which, as we cannot go back in time and try something different.
With all the major sports leagues shut down, perhaps it is more important than ever that we keep alive that grand American business tradition – the sports analogy. So here it goes: boxer Mike Tyson once said “Everyone has a plan ’til they get punched in the mouth.” At this point in the Covid-19 crisis, that sums up where most companies are with regards to their 2020 plans – we are reeling from being punched in the mouth.
Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones, and our thanks to those who have been risking their lives on the front line fighting this invisible enemy. As we write this, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, people are talking about plans to re-open the economy. But to Mr. Tyson’s point, those can’t be the same plans that we had coming into the crisis. You’ve been punched in the mouth, what do you need to change before the bell rings to start the next round?
What do Rock ‘n’ Roll, innovation and defense technology have in common? If you’ve heard this story, you probably have a guess. If not, it might surprise you to find the answer is one person: Skunk Baxter.
Pricing is one of the most important levers your organization has, therefore pricing decisions are some of the most important it will make. Set the price too high, and you won’t sell anything. Worse yet, set the price too low and you are leaving money on the table.
That leads to the question, what department or function within your organization is in the best position to set the price in order to maximize earnings?