Management and Marketing in Turbulent Times
by Sterling Thoughts on April 3rd, 2011

Hi All,

I hope you had a restful & pleasant weekend and are looking forward to this week with much revived passion!

This growth tip features lessons from the book “Chaotics” by Philip Kotler and John Caslione – in which the authors address the major changes in the marketing landscape and companies have tried to stay afloat.

Customers are better informed
They are empowered. They can find out almost anything about any product, service, company or person - by searching the Internet and asking questions of their social networks. We must develop a new mindset of always being on hot standby to respond to customer concerns and issues.

Competitors can copy you faster
Competitive advantages have a much shorter life today, shortening the innovator’s return on investment (RoI). Research your customers more frequently now because their needs and wants are in flux. Don’t get caught relying on old “tried-and-true” offers that no longer resonate. Get the strategic long-term vision right.

Focus on all that’s safe and emphasise your core values
Do everything possible to communicate that continuing to do business with you is safe. Sell customers products and services that continue to make them feel safe – and spend accordingly to retain and grow the existing share of wallet. It is much cheaper to up-sell to an existing customer than it is to win a brand new one.

Don’t discount your best brands
If you have a wide variety of brands and want to appeal to more frugal customer needs and wants with lower prices - create a new, separate and distinct offering / bundle under a new brand name so you maintain the value-based selling.

Save the strong; lose the weak
Do not waste time or money on marginal brands or service offerings that are not supported by market-leading and competitive value propositions, and a solid customer base with strong growth prospects. Companies must remain focused on their core business first and foremost, and satisfying their target customers - paying particular attention to their best customers. Profitability analyses conducted regularly as a matter of business discipline (e.g.: revenue by product) will demonstrate the high margin products & services (and also show that while some products may be popular, they may not necessarily be profitable !).

90 Day Strategic Planning & Quarterly Business Performance Reviews
Strategic planning, as part of business planning normally done prior to the start of a financial year, should be reviewed (and for some businesses re-done) at three-month intervals, rather than reviewed and adjusted once a year. More stakeholder representatives should be included in the discussion and decision making process, including key customers.

Dual vision
Companies need to operate with one eye focused on the short term - and the other eye focused on the long term. Short term is about managing the present – operationally & administratively. It should include projects related to improving the current core business, and meeting the needs of today’s target customers with excellence and authenticity.

Long term is not about performance improvement – rather it is about forgetting the past and reshaping the business to compete more effectively in the future – strategically and tactically. Often, this demands bold, disruptive strategic moves away from the present to reorganise and reshape the existing Go-to-Market model and organisational alignment for future success.

I hope this provides you with some insights as well as some brain food. Do have a very good week ahead!


P.S.: For those of you who've started your new FY on Friday last week, a very Happy New Year once again ! It is the year the business plan takes shape for some of you, while for others it is getting to know the pleasure of over-achieving targets originally thought to be too ambitious! As for the rest, you know what I mean, as you will be doing this one more year! Woo-Hoo!! :-)

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