How can we get the most from our markets?
Successful companies were twice as likely to use strategic planning as unsuccessful ones according to a survey by the University of Warwick Business School.
Strategic planning is often misunderstood. Imagine you have an appointment with a customer at his office. Think of the objective as arriving at the right time and place, the strategy as the method of travel and the plan as the logistics of getting to the right place on time. This is assuming that there isn’t something unforeseen like a rail strike to upset your plans.
Part of making the strategic planning process successful depends on asking the right questions before you start. Some of these might include:
- What are your competitive strengths? These are what make you better in some markets than your competitors are. If you can list the important things that you think make you good in a market then you are better placed to serve it then your competitors. Focus on your strengths.
- What are your competitors doing, and what will be their reaction to anything you do? How will you react to anything they do? It’s one thing saying you are good at servicing a market, but if your competitors are equally good or even better then your strategy may not work.
- What makes some market segments or products more attractive to your company than others? It could be something like the amount of repeat business is higher, or even the unit price. Focus on the markets that are most attractive to you.
Many companies use a Directional Strategy matrix to evaluate the market overall and the sectors that they are strongest in. At Leading Edge we run company specific workshops to help you do this better by making sure you are being objective. By making them company specific, and getting the whole team to work together you are more likely to achieve a strategy that everyone can buy into.
Case Study - Strategic Planning
A major construction group wanted to enhance the earnings of its specialist construction subsidiary. Leading Edge undertook a fundamental 3-year review of the market using detailed data from Glenigan, which was compared to the company's order book. We contacted the customer base to research trends and the company's image. The profitability of different work types was analysed by sector and formed a major input to the portfolio analysis.
These results were presented in three workshops with the board. We identified the optimum sectors and project sizes for the business and agreed a strategy with the directors and then the group chairman. We prepared an outline marketing plan and introduced new forward workload measurement tools and contact management systems, which are now being applied across the group. The company's name is to be changed to more accurately reflect its activity and a new marketing manager has been successfully recruited.
What our clients have said when using us to help with Market Strategy
- "A huge help, with strategy and knowledge of the industry and 'the marketing animal' was very good"
- "Intelligent approach, well presented/professional, good background and contacts"
- "The experience of our sector but also a well managed and professional approach"
- "Good level of sector knowledge"
- "My experience was that the work became a 'partnership' with John Pratt"
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