The Growth Glue that Brings It All Together

The last in a series of four articles on key factors in business growth.

So far, we have discussed Leadership Mindset and Organization Skillset. They are interdependent. An effective Leadership Mindset uncovers weaknesses in the Organizational Skillset by staying engaged and asking all the right questions. Often, leaders make judgments on less than robust data, resulting in wasted development time and inefficient use of scarce technical resources. We utilize an Operational Toolset that includes the Breakthrough ToolkitTM to transform market data into insights that are the foundation of successful growth strategies.

The Operational Toolset

An effective operational toolset

  • Is determined by what the team needs to deliver and the company?s culture that defines how they do it, rather than by specific marketing research methodologies
  • Includes analytic tools that deliver market learning, value propositions, and the elements to generate business cases; leadership depends on this to allow project teams to enter into the development phase
  • Produces market intelligence that will lead to the appropriate actions

It is useful to think of these market learning projects as having two phases:

  1. The collection of the data – the quantitative inquiry
  2. The generation of the information to support the decisions that will deliver growth to the business

Approaches and methodologies are selected for both phases that allow for broad, robust and incisive collection of information. Emphasis is on the need for differentiating, reliable and quality information that builds to market insights that the competition has not uncovered.

The Power of the Breakthrough ToolkitTM

A powerful decision support toolset is the solid footing required for strategic and tactical marketplace decisions based on fact. The Breakthrough ToolkitTM is exactly that. Growth teams and marketers use the analytic lenses within the toolkit to visualize the path to growth and business success by answering these and other critical questions:

  • How important are our product attributes to the market and how do the major competitors (including us) perform against those attributes?
  • What benefits (outcomes) do the specifying customers in the market want to achieve, and how do they perceive their primary suppliers performing relative to those outcomes?
  • How can we distinguish between what customers say is important and how they actually behave?
  • How do these attributes and outcomes vary by different segments of the market? What segments are derived from the different responses to attribute and outcome importance questions?
  • How will price changes impact competitive share? How does that differ among the segments?
  • How would customers value the new product concept we are considering bringing to the market? And, what would they be willing to pay for the concept?
  • How would customers value new offering features we are considering? And, how does that value differ among customers?
  • What new features would provide us with a “blue ocean” of opportunity?
  • How do customers perceive our brand vs. competitive brands?
  • What are the underlying structural components and attitudes of the market that define where we need to focus for future growth?

Leaders must change their “mindset” to empower and enable the organizational change; provide the right “skillset” for their teams; and give them the “toolset” required for effective market driven learning. In most cases the potential already exists, so no need to start over. Just remold into a learning organization. Five steps get you started :

  1. Redefine and reprioritize project charters using principles of speed, agility, and simplicity. Bless only those charters that meet the new requirements.
  2. Obtain market value analytics before engaging the teams in product development. Using the right toolset cuts this time down to less than two months, and saves several months of wasted development time.
  3. Utilize both your marketing and technical people in the voice of customer effort and demand their consensus on any proposal to move to the development stage. If they can’t reach consensus, kill the project.
  4. Obtain clarity on the development design based on marketplace specifications. Design may be different for different segments – don’t compromise by designing to the average.
  5. Begin the launch analysis in parallel with the development cycle. Since you have done the VOC using the right toolset, you already know enough to position, price, and segment. You also should have a good sense of your route to market.

Follow these steps and you can reignite your growth machine – even in an economic downturn.

About the Author

Ronald E. SullivanRon Sullivan is a Senior Partner at Breakthrough Marketing Technology. He has worked with many businesses on innovation, new product development processes, strategy, building new business models, channels and distribution, and pricing optimization. He has significant expertise in study design, data analysis, and market intelligence.


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