Why are Firms Afraid to Specialize?

November 24th, 2015

afraid1Part 3 of the ‘Retreat Series’

Prior to our first corporate retreat a few weeks ago, I conducted a survey of our current clients, as well as some of our past clients. One of the questions I asked was, “What, if anything, do you think makes Harpeth Marketing unique?”

Across the board, they all said the same thing, “… your focus on the market research industry.”

Now, we’re obviously not a market research provider, but as I look across the MR landscape, I see four primary areas where [a few] research firms tend to specialize:

  • By the vertical industry(s) they serve (e.g. specialists in the automotive industry)
  • By the specific methodology(s) they espouse (e.g. qualitative specialists)
  • By the application(s) of MR (e.g. focused on patient satisfaction research)
  • By the market segment(s) they serve (e.g. conduct research on children and teenagers)

So, with all of these opportunities, why are the vast majority of MR providers generalists? Why is their business model to provide a wide variety of services to a wide variety of client types?

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Are you setting your goals the right way? Think “actionable goals.”

November 18th, 2015

goal1Part 2 of the ‘retreat series.’

At our first corporate retreat a couple of weeks ago, setting goals for 2016 (and beyond) was one of the things I focused on. But I went about the process a little differently. Let me explain…

By now. We’re all familiar with the SMART method for setting goals. That is, goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-framed.

As an example, a SMART goal might be “to increase annual revenue by 15% in 2016.” It meets all of the SMART criteria. The trouble is… YOU don’t have control over revenue… your clients and prospects do. But in the goal setting process, this is where most people stop.

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Get Away, Part 1: 5 Key Lessons Learned at our First Corporate Retreat

November 11th, 2015

corporate retreatI just got back home after two days in the woods… at Harpeth Marketing’s first-ever corporate retreat. Our goal was to think through and discuss the direction for our firm in 2016 and beyond.

OK – in full disclosure – the assembled group was made up of just me! [So, for all of you independent consultants and small shops – you, too, can do this!] And like every other corporate retreat I’ve been involved with, there were flip chart pages taped all over the walls, good ideas, bad ideas, some yelling and arguing (even alone, saying things out loud is really helpful)… and a cold adult beverage (or two) to wrap up the day.

It was a very productive couple of days… and I walked away with a clearer vision and direction for our business. I also walked away with some thoughts about how to get the most out of these kinds of gatherings (especially for smaller firms)…

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