Issue: A mid-sized market research firm wanted to start a technology practice without investing a huge amount of money. While the firm had a solid reputation in the market, the technology expertise was limited, they were not included on any supplier lists, and there were no existing clients to reference.
Action: After speaking with a company executives and understanding the baseline expectations for the initiative, I sketched out a plan with overall market position ideas, portfolio alignment, and a go-to-market plan. I called together the team, assigned responsibilities, and implemented with a four channel marketing campaign and roadshow. Once a toe hold was established in the market, a small group of accounts were managed to prominence and new accounts were systematically added through continued prospecting efforts.
Result: In less than three years, the results included over ten new accounts, inclusion on six major company supplier lists, and a multi-million dollar run rate for the technology practice.
Issue: A large technology firm needed to better understand and segment their enterprise (B2B) market. While category products had already been developed, it was obvious that the one size fits all messaging was not working. This was causing the company to lose share relative to firms with more targeted messaging.
Action: I reviewed available data including competitive intelligence reports and a recent Install Base Study report. We conducted focus groups globally in order to better understand the customer mind-set and to inform the questionnaire design (i.e. quantitative portion of the study). Once the survey data was collected, latent class segmentation was conducted and a discriminant analysis yielded a predictive algorithm (i.e. a gearbox with segment membership as the output). We profiled the segments in detail, and moved into the third phase of the study. In the third phase, we conducted Delphi Groups for which we recruited technology decision makers in each of the defined segments and asked them to participate in the high-level workgroups to help customize the offer.
Result: Across the organization, new materials and messaging was customized for the different segments and a new approach to selling into the market emerged. With just a couple of innocuous questions answered through e-mail prior to a major presentation, the sales force was assured much better alignment between the company and prospect.
Issue: One of the largest retail organizations in the world was having trouble moving the needle on their current loyalty tracking metrics and the lament (common to this type of study) was that the information presented to stakeholders was not actionable.
Action: I engaged the client in an initial needs assessment and a gap analysis, and then called the internal team together to provide ideas on how to best address the situation. Once our initial plan was together, I led a series of high level meetings between the two organizations which led to a multi-year agreement. During this iterative dialog with the client, the team settled on solutions that did a couple of things: First, it separated the strategic study from the transactional study while still allowing linkage between the two. This allowed us to look closely at the entire category, the competitive environment, and potentially confounding effects such as trade area, store size, and seasonality trends. Second, we put into place metrics at the store level that managers were empowered to impact. Beyond addressing just the “what” and the “so what?” questions, the final solution went on to address the “now what?” question through the integration of ‘best of breed’ store workshops, ‘executive action planning’, and ‘learning systems’ in line with the overall change management initiative.
Result: The most important result was that initiative gained the buy-in of the CEO, the CMO and the broader organization. This, in turn, led to an overall change in organizational culture and put a customer centric strategy at the heart of the company strategy. Most importantly, the initiative is being credited with driving stronger front end sales and front end profit margins versus the competitive set.