Monday, March 29, 2010

Defining a marketing capability
Sat Duggal

I thought this was very cool re what is needed to create demand generation:

"……here are the key components of a demand generation capability:

Process – Managers in demand generation activities do not respond very well to the step-by-step rigid process definitions that are more appropriate to other parts of the organization. They respond best to the combination of a framework organized by decision gates, managed by metrics and learnt through success models that clearly illustrate stories of what worked and did not.
Skills – The process is only as good as the people driving it. In driving demand generation decisions there are four key components that are important – consumer focus, channel focus, data foundation and creativity. Good demand generation case studies typically demonstrate superior application in all of these components.
Knowledge and experience – While experience is a function of time, it can be fast tracked by some form of shared learning on case studies. Some companies also use a carefully managed mentorship program that better leverages the knowledge and experience of its people.
Supporting Infrastructure – The role of the supporting infrastructure is to make the demand generation capability efficient, scalable and current. This can be achieved through technology, centers of excellence and other such enablers."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stall Points
May 23, 2008 By, Derek van Bever and Matt Olson

I thought this as very interesting. We often talked about the importance of clearly defining the assumptions in implementing new initiatives (the Discovery Driven Planning process from McGrath and MacMillan) but this takes it a step further in clearly articulating the underlying assumptions in your basic strategy.

"How do you challenge something that’s never been articulated?” The question arose at a gathering of strategists we convened in which we polled the group to determine how many of their firms had written down the assumptions underneath their strategy. Literally, do the assumptions exist on a piece of paper or in an electronic file—anywhere?

It’s interesting that most strategic plans are very accurate at capturing goals, as well as uncertainties—things we don’t know that we expect will be significant—but are not at all helpful at clarifying what we believe. At articulating it in a way that enables constructive challenge and conversation.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that if your core assumptions are “in the ether,” you run the very large risk of a nasty surprise when one or more of those assumptions become dangerously out of date. We offer a number of practices for articulating assumptions, but our favorite for this task is probably the Core Belief Identification Squad, an internal hunting expedition to discover the deepest beliefs of the firm about its products, customers and markets through the use of a series of provocative questions. (“What 10 things would you never hear customers say about our business?” is one of them, for instance.)

So, how would you respond to our snap poll? What ways have you discovered to articulate your strategic assumptions in a way that they can be exposed to constructive challenge?"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

As we have highlighted, one of the major reasons for failure to grow is the inability to resource the critical initiatives to win. Usually the challenge is stopping programs that are not consistent with your goals to create the budgetary headroom for the really important programs. Leaders must set clear priorities and communicate them to the organization. We often have leadership teams develop Ballpark Decision Criteria or those criteria they will use to decide resource allocation, broadly disseminate them, and then really use them to make decisions. This blog posting offers nice insight to the challenge.

"Everyone knows the problems that arise when kids walk into a candy store: Everything looks so good they want it all, and they end up overdoing it. Unfortunately, practicing self-control doesn't get any easier with age, which might explain why setting a limited number of priorities, and sticking to them, is one of the most difficult challenges facing managers today......
.......Many felt that everything was important and nothing could be dropped without serious consequences. But if everything is called a priority, then nothing is. In fact, what's worse is that people at lower levels, faced with the impossible task of trying to respond to everything, end up deciding what is important based on their more limited sense of the company's strategy and their ability to get things done. By not clarifying the few key priorities, leadership teams unintentionally delegate priority-setting to their people. And then they wonder why everyone isn't on the same page.
1. Use your current portfolio to deduce your real priorities.
2. Force-rank the projects to determine what's really important.
3. Communicate to the rest of the organization.
4. Repeat the process periodically. "

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tutorial—Innovation Radar on Apple

We first talked about the Innovation Radar back in November of 2006 as a systematic way to develop complete business systems.

As always, the goal is to create sustainable competitive separation by excelling in one or more of the radar elements—the more the better but be careful not to dilute your effort. The Sloan article explains the nuisances of each of the components.

On February 1 of this year, I highlighted some of the underpinnings of Steve Job’s approach to innovation and promised this tutorial.

Competitors must compete against the business system, NOT just a given offering!

Here is my brief summary of Apple's Innovation Radar business system. If you have additional thoughts, please share them

Offering: Apple’s principle thrust is designing products that make existing functions –computing, phoning, listening, reading, etc.—easier and more fun in a world class way.

“Apple products are known for being stylish, powerful and pleasing to use. They
are edited products that cut through complexity, by consciously leaving things
out — not cramming every feature that came into an engineer’s head, an
affliction known as “featuritis” that burdens so many technology products”

Platforms: This is where they have excelled by creating multiple, reinforcing platforms:
Operating system for iPod, iPhone, and now iPad

iTunes will have to be renamed. This is where they connect to their consumers to purchase anything from music, to e books, TV shows, applications (this is revolutionizing many aspects of our lives with over 100,000 and counting), etc.

Apple stores is where you can meet an Apple expert to buy and/or help with all their products

Most importantly, they reached a point where they can be considered the standard as evidenced by the number of third parties developing products to be used on their platforms.

Customer experience: Anyone who has used any of their products knows this IS their strength and the major source of value creation

Value capture: like Amazon’s one touch purchase system, Apple established a safe and VERY easy way to purchase items on their iTunes platform. Once your established in their system, it is effortless.

Networking: They established networks with suppliers in all major categories from music and book publishers to TV networks. Their strength from all the above puts them in a very strong position.

Brand: i____ is becoming as strong if not stronger than Apple®