Step 3: Name our Product/Service Offerings and the value each provided the customer
Business definition for some reason is a frustrating activities for many. On one hand the product is everything. People will be more in love with their product than the solution. You should have a have a clear answer to the question, “What is our core business?” It should also match and deliver the necessary value to your core customer groups job they are trying to get done. In the book, Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley & Roger L. Martin, they recommend answering five strategic questions:
- Have you defined winning, and are you crystal clear about your winning aspiration?
- Have you decided where you can play to win (and just as decisively where you will not play)?
- Have you determined how, specifically, you will win where you choose to play?
- Have you pinpointed and built your core capabilities in such a way that they enable your where-to-play and how-to-win choices?
- Do your management systems and key measures support your other four strategic choices?
These are not simple questions and require a great deal of internal reflection. As must of the first two steps were about external, step 3 is very much about internal. What we are now doing is establishing boundaries around our business. These could be outside influences, economic, demographic, technology limitations that we have. If we cannot answer this, do we have a key differentiator that can separate us from the competition? The power of focus is extremely underestimated. Think of Jobs at Apple. The idea of understanding their core business, their product/service offering can easily be argued as the key to his and Apple’s success.
In Malcolm McDonald’s book, Key Account Management: The Definitive Guide, he takes the Ansoff Matrix another step further though he was discussing the Product Life Cycle as it evolves from left to right. One of the things that I tried to do with Malcolm’s outline is to create a story ( a short description in each block) for a customer’s product/service. Though there were a few rough spots in the attempt, it does provide enough information to create a few scenarios on what the future may hold and added a fair amount of substance to a strategic marketing plan.
I think so many times when we look at the future, we fail to paint good real-life scenarios. What will happen as out product matured? What will be our biggest stumbling blocks? How does this relate to our present capabilities and which ones will we need to develop? Though we seem to discuss strategic plans (something over a year by the way), I believe they really are more a necessity now than they have ever been. Without, we are left to the environment to determine our future versus creating our future.
Using a SOAR/SWOT here for our product/service offering is very helpful. Do you have one?
Beginning: Funnel of Opportunity Introduction