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The Competitive Advantage

tag: competitive advantage

November 24, 2015

Why are Firms Afraid to Specialize?

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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November 11, 2015

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

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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September 1, 2015

Is the “Customer Experience” improving in our society?

waiter2In the course of just a few days last week, I had four separate [unexpected] experiences that made me wonder if businesses are finally starting to “get it”… and understand that the Customer Experience may be the most important aspect of marketing, let alone its obvious impact on satisfaction and loyalty.

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August 4, 2015

Partnering with others can accelerate your growth.

partnersI’ve been doing a little thinking and planning lately around the future of Harpeth Marketing – noodling on a variety of strategies and tactics – and one of the things I’ve realized is that a key driver of our past success has been ‘relationships’… no, not just the buyer-seller kind, but the ‘partnering’ kind.

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June 24, 2015

Marketing & Sales Advice from Leaders in our Industry, Part 1

c+r research logoMarketing & sales – and the results they produce – are important to everyone in a firm… but perhaps to no one more so than the owners and senior leaders of those firms… those who have P&L responsibility and who are charged with the growth and sustainability of those businesses.

To get an inside look at how marketing & sales are viewed inside the “C Suite,” we interviewed the leaders of five very well-known, highly-regarded firms in our industry. We think their perspective will be helpful to those struggling with marketing & sales in their firms.

Up first in this 5-part series… Paul Metz, Executive Vice President/Managing Partner at C+R Research in Chicago.

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March 27, 2015

Are we really in the people business?

Chicago_aerial_02As I write this, I’m 35,000 feet over Illinois, heading to Chicago, on my way to Detroit. I’m heading there for a kick-off meeting with a new client. I start nearly all engagements this way.

Why? Honestly, it’s not just for the work – much of it could be done remotely. I do it for 3 key reasons:

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March 10, 2015

Do you have a mobile-friendly website? Let’s hope so!

Internet viewing trends

As regular readers of this column know, every Saturday morning, I go to the same local coffee shop to spend a couple of hours working “on” my business… not just “in” it. I do some writing, review email and social media metrics, plan out the upcoming week and record the past week’s Google Analytics.

Rarely do the Google Analytics surprise me… but this week they did. Of all the visitors to our website this past week, 24.8% of them came from a handheld device or tablet. That is, 1 in 4 visitors were not using a computer! It was the highest ever – up from an average of about 1 in 6 just the middle of last year – and the continuation of an ever-increasing trend.

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March 3, 2015

Best booth giveaway ever?

In last week’s post, I wrote about several things NOT to do in a booth when exhibiting. And one of those was giving away cheesy “merch.” I believe that things like pens, mini-frisbees and logo’d post-it notes just don’t deliver lot of value for the exhibitor.

However, I did see one exhibitor at the CASRO Digital Conference a couple of weeks ago with what may have been the best booth giveaway ever… and for a couple of reasons.

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