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The Competitive Advantage

tag: management

December 8, 2015

To Be Really Successful… Try a Little ‘Negative Thinking’

rose2Part 4 of the ‘Retreat Series’

It’s that time of the year when most firms are working (some might say ‘scrambling!’) to finish their 2016 Marketing & Sales plan. Setting lofty goals… thinking about opportunities for growth… considering the possibilities for success. All good stuff!

But I submit that you’ll create a more focused plan and achieve even greater success if you think ‘negative.’ That is, in addition to the opportunities in the marketplace, also look at your business through the lens of the problems and the challenges you face.

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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 18, 2015

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

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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