Monday, October 23, 2006

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SMO Sydney has moved its blog to http://strategicmarketingoutsourcing.wordpress.com

IMPORTANT NOTICE

From October 22, 2006 SMO Sydney moved its blog. To view new blogs click here

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Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Google
SWOT analyses are only valuable if you can execute tactically

Strengths and weaknesses analyses ( and opportunity and threat assessments ) are only strategically valuable if you can gauge your position relative to competitors by segment in measureable terms.

And the only viable way to do that is to ask your current and potential customers what your strengths and weaknesses are...compared with their views of your opposition's performance on the same critical success factors that influence their purchasing decisions.

There is absolutely no point in second-guessing what customers' and stakeholders views are. You have to do the research.

Once that's done, the fundamental questions have to be... so what! And now what?

So what if we're stronger or weaker...is our advantage or disadvantage marginal...or substantial? And is it worth tactically executing?

You bet. Now, we know where we stand...and where we have to focus in defence and attack.

Pretty SWOT analyses for business plans are just pretty average if they're not executable.

The more space you can measureably put between you and your competitors on key issues that attract and keep customers, the safer you'll be...for the moment.

It's a continuum. The process should never stop. Market dynamics don't.

Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Strategy

Friday, October 13, 2006

Google
Moments of truth define our future

It's how we handle moments of truth that go to the essence of leadership.

And there's no more fundamental moment than when we realise the business model or critical components of it, are no longer capable of sustaining the delivery of nett cash flow forecasts.

So, what are the danger signs of business model breakdown?

This is by no means a comprehensive list...but add it to yours

  • your market mapping analyses show a marked shift of volume through different channels
  • your customer attrition rates accelerate over a short timeframe
  • more than usual first-line reports leave to join another industry sector
  • your fragmented but relatively stable group of competitors start aggregating
  • major tender EOI's are constructed on completely different terms
  • the media and conference organisers go to other companies for commentary on industry issues
  • your offshore parent company... visits you far more often than normal
  • private equity firms start calling
  • the Board unexpectantly wants a complete investment and operational portfolio review
  • your distributors product mix expands or changes significantly over maybe one or two operating periods
  • you're spending proportionately much too much time working in the business...rather than on the business
  • strategy consultants are persistent ( more than usual ) in their approaches

All or some of this stuff may be happening co-incidentally...but even if it is...we have to make the judgement as others may be... on the business model... or the innovation we need to pursue to survive.

Odds on, if some of this stuff is blatantly on the radar, it may be late in the day...hopefully not too late.

Regretfully, that never seems to be a call we can make with certainty...because it's always the judgement of others ( customers, creditors, competitors ) about our capability to survive.

So, what can we do about these danger signs?

I'd start by looking at the demand driver dynamics in the industry sectors. Something's changed and your management has missed it.


Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Pete Jeans or click on SMO Sydney to learn more about our experience and advantages in building successful businesses

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

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Everyone believes innovation is mandatory to survive...

At a recent business function I attended, a leading speaker made the key point that we all believe in innovation....but who adopts innovation training and mentoring?

A show of hands made it clear that few do! Frankly, I was astounded.

The conventional approaches towards business innovation have largely been vested in customer needs analyses by segment...followed by business case preparation, product and service development processes and internal systems re-design for market delivery.

Flowcharting, reverse engineering, brainstorming, innovation SBU's...we've all used these platforms to come up with better solutions for our customers and our cost-bases.

But I like to combine these disciplines with an attitude that says first...Why not! Let's see if this is achievable! Let's be the first to do this successfully. Let's change the market.

Let's get so far in front of our competitors...that our customers will never have a reason to switch....and new customers will join us at greater rates.

Sure, it's about innovation processes, training and mentoring...but it is about having a core value of innovation embedded throughout your organisation first.

Innovation can take place at every corporate and functional level. Give your people the process templates and support... and let them innovate within their plans. We can help.

Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Google
There was a vibe in the place...

Recently I had a salient reminder in what makes a successful business tick.

It was full of great people who were placed in roles that took advantage of their style and customer service skills.

Their systems were appropriate...not cumbersome...and very practical to extract information easily and quickly.

Their product ranges were complete and competitive and priced right to build customer loyalty.

Their management were accessible and customer-centric...but very importantly, let their line staff do their job without unnecessary interference.

Their policies were well-known but flexible... so that opportunities weren't missed going forward.

But most of all, there was a vibe in the place that said welcome to the team...you're part of us.
Work hard and smart...and pitch in with your colleagues...and you'll grow with us.

Refreshing!

Could there be a lesson in this for all organisations?


Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Friday, September 22, 2006

Google
When does all your brand development pay off?

Brand positioning and all your promotional work is initially just a promise of the benefits to customers.

But if you or your distributors/wholesalers/franchisees or retailers don't empathise with new customers when they touch your business or products and services... and meet consumers information and experience needs, the outcome will penalise your sell-though expectations.

Have you been to a new car dealership lately and been disappointed with the experience?
Have you tried talking to a bank recently about changes to your account arrangements?

Have you been absolutely and pleasantly surprised ( even delighted! ) by an organisation that just did everything beautifully? I have...and I was only buying a coffee! ( and I'll be going back )

The lesson for me is that competitive strategy is fundamental...but infield execution is critical to get payoff for all the hard yakka in the boardroom.

Let me know which organisations have got it right.

Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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© Copyright. All rights reserved. SMO Sydney September 2006.

Google
Networking has taken on much more importance

Never before has networking been more important to build your customer base.

That's because we only take calls or read emails nowdays from people we know can add value in our business lives.

That seems to be a function of contact overload. Who spends less than hour a day wading through their early morning inboxes or message banks during the day? No wonder our fingers and thumbs have got delete callouses!

It is a serious issue...particularly for businesses trying to connect with new customers.

Everyone is searching for cut-through ways to connect.

So what seems to work?

In my opinion, networking is the best way to cut through. If your messaging is brief and clear face-to-face...and your business card summarises your value proposition, you've got a much better chance of your target taking the follow-through call....or getting an email response.

So, what networking events work well?

Well, the one's you run yourself will control the "suspect " market best.

And, I reckon events that add value...are events that tap into the work/life balance space. Perhaps light entertainment...with a short key note address from your leader. Short and sweet.

That way, the messaging is on brand...to support the goodwill generated by the event... and create rapport in the follow-up conversation. Thereafter, it's up to you to listen...sell and close.

What works best in your networking ideas space? Leave your ideas and comments by clicking the comments link below.


Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Monday, September 18, 2006

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Our blog readership growth means it's time to call for sponsors

Nine months after its launch, this blog is being read by hundreds of corporate leaders and managers each month in Australia; plus business editors in the US, UK and around Oz.

Business Transformation in Australia is a serious business blog which is distributed fortnightly.

Readers say that it adds value. Thank you to everyone for your emails and comments.

Now SMO Sydney is offering a maximum of eight annual sponsorship programmes for the blog which can be based on text ads, logos, links back to your websites or email... and guest contributions...integrated with our blog articles each month.

Costs are low. First in will have a clear advantage going forward for 2006/07.

Any business category enquiry is welcome...but SMO Sydney reserves the right to refuse offers in conflicting sectors or categories that don't fit our readers' interests or issue space.

Please email me for details.

Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Thursday, September 14, 2006

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AMI NSW announces Marketing Excellence Awards for 2006.

The Australian Marketing Institute (Australia’s peak marketing industry body) announced the winners of its 2006 NSW Awards for Marketing Excellence late last week.

Today the AMI represents professional marketers throughout Australia, including practitioners from all marketing functions and industries.

Through its unified voice, the AMI has established strong links with business, academia and government to become the voice of the marketing profession.

NSW AMI President Chris Mooney said “We are recognising those who achieve extraordinary success from innovative and effective marketing practices. They reflect marketing’s increasingly critical role in adding value to business.”

The nine winners of this year’s NSW awards were:

Category... Company... and Award Entry

New Brand... BlueScope Steel... Sureline by BlueScope Steel
Brand Extension... ADT... More than mere compliance
Brand Revitalisation ...HCF... The HCF Difference
Incentive Marketing... Synchro Marketing ...Seven Network - The Magnificient 7
Internal Marketing ...Synchro Marketing... Hutchison Telecoms - Retail Excellence Programme
Marketing Communications ...RAMS Home Loans ...Everyone Loves Raymond
New Product/Service Launch... BlueScope Steel ...Sureline by BlueScope Steel
Relationship Marketing... Synchro Marketing ...Hutchison Telecoms Retail Excellence Programme
Sponsorship...St.George Bank... Leading Outdoor Event in Sydney

Read more about award winners here

State winners proceed along with the national finalists from NSW to this year’s Australian Marketing Institute National Awards for Marketing Excellence and the prestigious 2006 AMI Marketing Program of the Year.

These Awards will be presented as the climax of the 2006 Australian Marketing Institute National Conference on 11 October 2006 at the Sofitel Melbourne.

Further information: Mark Crowe CEO AMI. Email him at mark.crowe@ami.org.au

Monday, September 11, 2006

Google
Happy People by Naomi Simson CEO at experience company - Red Balloon Day

I believe that Happy People + Happy Customers = Happy Profits.

It doesn’t take much to notice, acknowledge and recognise the contribution people make. But it must be authentic and come from the heart.

It is very rewarding to see the results for companies who take the time to acknowledge the critical role that their people play in keeping them ahead and on top of their business objectives.


People are critical to the success of any marketing campaign. Having people engaged with the business is critical …if they are busy looking for a job elsewhere, how engaged can they possibly be?

It can be very hard to attract and retain top talent.

While the employment levels are so high …even more so in NZ than in Australia right now; its no surprise that leaders and business owners are increasingly seeking ways to ensure that they are ahead in the recruitment stakes.


If you are worried about this, then here’s some of what you need to know… to help win the game of getting and keeping the best people.

Most people leave a job simply because they are not recognised. Very few companies offer long term advancement strategies for their people anymore, preferring the ‘find them as you need them’ approach.

In turn, most employees are aware that in order to grow their resumes and reach the top (of what ever their mountain looks like for them personally), they need to learn a bit here, grow a bit there, and explore new opportunities to shape their evolving expertise.

It may surprise you to know that only 12% of people change employment to join an organisation for career advancement. 70% of the entire workforce in Australia is seeking alternative employment this year according to T2 research; but a staggering 33% of the workforce is currently looking for a new job because they are feeling that they are not recognised or valued enough by their current employer.

According to Gallup Organisation 48% are likely to leave within 12 months if they are disengaged.


The big news is that this does not have to stay the same… and the people you have worked hard to attract, train, trust and give responsibility too, will stay and love being part of your team.

It’s not expensive, and it’s fun for them and for you too if you want it to be.

Naomi Simson
Chief Experience Officer
www.RedBalloon.com.au

Publishers note:

My thanks to Naomi Simson at Red Balloon Days for her article

Pete Jeans CEO
at business transformation company SMO Sydney

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Google
Hats off to DSRD in NSW...good value for SME's

The NSW Dept of State and Regional Development are hosting value-packed functions and forums for SME's during September.

I've been to a few and they are good value for small-to-medium sized enterprises who are keen to review best-practice issues and network with other sector leaders.

You can search their programme of events by clicking the link below.


NSW Small Business Month

Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Sunday, September 03, 2006

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In my opinion for most organisations, strategy preparation must include...
  • board consensus on strategic direction ( preferred markets and RONA benchmarks )
  • adoption of an agreed strategic planning process ( thorough and robust )
  • adequate timeframes for strategy development ( less than 8 weeks is unrealistic )
  • agreement that the strategy implementors will be the strategy developers
  • final draft strategy reviews by independent commentators ( not expensive )
  • selecting and defining appropriate market share measures
Strategy development should consider...
  • facilitation of the process by a skilled strategic expert ( to pinpoint compelling issues )
  • acceptance that the focus should be on meeting customer needs ( current and new )
  • a profitable exit from non-core activities ( non-core dilutes your opportunities )
  • evaluation of the business portfolio value & potential to throw off incremental cash
  • understanding the key drivers of demand ( what happens if they change? )
What else is key in your space? Email me here so I can add to the list.

Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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© Copyright. All rights reserved. SMO Sydney September 2006.

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What information do you need...or what do you need to buy?

One thing that happens all the time in my space as a specialist in business transformation, is that clients and network contacts call me to track down strategic information.

It's part of the value we add...so we're happy to recommend others we know well.

Whether it's a new supplier, an agency, market reports, a high level corporate contact, a business for sale...you name it...we can get it...or know someone who can help...legally and ethically.

Do we charge for this service? No.
What do expect in return? Nothing.
What do we get out of it? Word-of-mouth referrals for future business.

Contacts are everything. What do you need? Click here to email me

Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Monday, August 28, 2006

Google

Researchers set new telephone interviewing codes of practice

Australia’s two peak market research industry bodies - AMSRS and AMRO have got together to jointly launch a public awareness message called "Your Views Count"; supported by a best practice toolkit for the research industry for telephone interviewing, called LIST.

The Objectives of LIST are to:
• ensure that respondents have a consistent and pleasant experience when interviewed by genuine market research companies.
• ensure that the requirements of the Privacy Code are met.
• ensure all industry members use best practice approach to telephone interviewing.

Additionally, a website has been created http://cms.yourviewscount.com.au/ to support both the general public and the research industry in making sure that the general public is fully informed about the importance of participating in research, and is able to differentiate between genuine research and telemarketing.

Greg Wayman, President of the Australian Market & Social Research Society, said “A leaflet called “A consumer’s guide to identifying legitimate research” can be downloaded from the website, and advises how to identity legitimate research; answers frequently asked question such as “how did they get my phone number?”; and provides examples of how public opinion, through research, has shaped government and social policy making.

It also explains how the industry’s Surveyline can assist members of the public to check that the company calling them is, indeed, undertaking genuine research. The Surveyline number is 1300 364 832”.

My thanks to Ben Harvey at AGSM for letting me know about this worthwhile initiative.

Cheers!

Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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© Copyright. All rights reserved. SMO Sydney August 2006.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Google

Organisations that measure regularly, manage better

Measuring performance across key result areas means managers can act quickly on emerging trends to correct or capitalize on their initiatives.

Whilst selection of key performance indicators ( often called a suite of metrics ) is not new, the presentation and distribution of these metrics ( often in graphical format ) through your intranet has gained a new description called “dashboards”.

In the spirit of continuous improvement or other practices like “balanced scorecards”, dashboards give managers a regular update on where the organization is heading against key objectives.

And that is the key…selecting key result areas and setting key objectives first.

Thereafter it’s about defining the KPI’s and putting processes in place to collect and analyse results on an ongoing basis.

Metrics assessment must have a long-term commitment because any short-term exercises will only be relevant to the programmes “today” rather than the organisation’s future “tomorrow”.

Hence, KPI’s must be relevant to the organisation’s strategic plans and go-forward programmes.

Cheers!

Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Monday, August 21, 2006

Google
Strategy, structure and great people is what matters most

The ceo's vision and brand initiatives for the business; building effective relationships with stakeholders up and down and across the organisation… and getting KPI results against agreed targets in key result areas are key imperatives for leaders today and tomorrow....so some of my contacts say. I'm sure you agree.

Best-practice processes to understand demand/market opportunities and risks... and persistent implementation of innovative solutions to meet stakeholder/consumer needs follows...it is hard yakka...but nothing that works was ever easy.

Brand positioning and value propositions that connect and motivate buyers... fall out of these processes to generate future nett cashflow growth. It's hard to pay regular dividends without it.

But structure is important too.

Go-forward team structures that create capability in key result areas; communicating clear direction and accountability… and coaching staff to depend on each other...encourages effective and positive team cultures.

Leaders lead teams from the front…and don’t generally interfere operationally… unless it’s necessary. It is what we respect.

Which leads me onto people issues....the right people with the right skills and potential in the right roles takes time...but is always worth it.

Robust strategy, excellent execution and customer service as well as measurement and innovation. It is what matters most.


Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Monday, August 14, 2006

Google
Are your hands tied often because information delivery is poor?

How often have you felt frustrated because the time gap between an event and the need to act is shorter than the required information delivery period?

Plenty, I'll bet. It's often caused by the inflexibility of systems or shortfalls in planning and preparedness.

If this is the case, it's probably time to undertake a business plan review.

Not a corporate plan or a strategic plan ( although some business plan elements may be strategic ); but a thorough audit of stay-in-business systems and processes which capture,embed and deliver information up and down and across the management and operational team matrix.

In my opinion, it's best to start with the information users. Ask them to prescribe the "must have's" and "would like to have's". Collate it all and turn it over to a systems expert to translate it into a new system specification.

Then you can tender the spec for indicative costs, timeframes and payback value. And get rid of the frustrations!

If your information delivery is best-of-breed, your competitors will have a disadvantage.

Cheers!


Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Google
Knowledge management is more than protecting your IP

There's no doubt that intellectual property (IP) is extremely valuable. But it's more than trademarks and business secrets.

Many organisations document and archive their processes and records in retrieval systems that allow heirarchial access for managers and staff.

But many don't do this thoroughly on a regular updated basis. And when stuff can't be found or is lost through staff departure or lack of documentation, the true value of knowledge management comes home to roost with a thud!

So what's most important to protect from loss or unauthorised variation by users?

It depends on your organisation...but the basics in my opinion are:
  • operational processes in which much of your costs are vested
  • marks, registrations, certifications and other requirements which require renewal
  • websites, visual standards consistency across promotional collateral
  • OH&S practice, environmental compliance practice
  • HR practice
  • Customer service standards
  • Records
  • and the big one....a practical but standardised protocol for email directories

So, is an organisation-wide knowledge management system expensive? That's up to you. Usually, these things are tendered...so once you've made the decision to proceed, the value ( not the expense ) becomes obvious.

Cheers!

Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Google
Stakeholder communication is key when transforming

Most of us are pretty good communicators. But during the process of transforming your organisation to be stronger, more viable and effective, the communication process to stakeholders must take on more importance.

That's because everyone has a stake in change...they're impacted by it..and they want to know you recognise that they're part of it...and have much to contribute.

Customers, bankers, advisors, staff, directors, suppliers, regulators, media, shareholders, owners...all need to be kept in the communication loop regularly.

A simple email-delivered project update newsletter can achieve all this....if you have to deal with communication scale challenges.

And of course, there's no substitute for a quick but effective face-to-face presentation on where we are going, how we're going to achieve our business transformation goals...and who are the key players and responsibilities.

It creates confidence and reduces uncertainty. It is uncommon sense.

Please let me know if there are some specific matters you'd like to discuss privately. Click here for my email details and please send me a quick note.


You can scroll down this page to find many other articles on matters about business transformation. And, if you'd like to join our free email distribution list for future articles, please email me with your contact details.


Cheers!

Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Google
Did you tune into Nightlife with Tony Delroy on ABC Local Radio on August 1?

Firstly, thank you to Tony Delroy and his team for inviting me onto the national ABC Nightlife programme on August 1 to talk about some of the key issues and principles in transforming small-to-medium businesses.

An audio file of this interview can be requested by contacting me here

And thank you to everyone who listened. I hope I added some value. Please let me know if there are some specific matters you'd like to discuss privately. Click here for my email details and please send me a quick note.

You can scroll down this page to find many other articles on matters about business transformation. And, if you'd like to join our free email distribution list for future articles, please email me with your contact details.


Cheers!

Pete Jeans CEO SMO Sydney


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© Copyright. All rights reserved. SMO Sydney August 2006.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Google
For SME's, there should be only two growth issues...

Opportunities and risks are the two critical growth issues for small-to-medium enterprises. ( turnovers typically between $10M-$500M )

Firstly, where are the accessible market opportunities that could deliver superior profitable growth? Secondly, what do we have to do to build capability to exploit them?

Every opportunity needs to be judged against the payoffs of others. Some markets will be current. Some new. Each has costs, risks and rewards.

The trick is to assess them all competitively, strategically and financially in a realistic return-on-shareholders'-funds rank... to identify priorities.

Capability on the other hand is all about investing in the future. It will cover issues like people, distribution, product, manufacturing capacity, systems, customer service and developing sustainable competitive advantage.

Competitive advantage is usually those one or two issues that persuade buyers to prefer a particular supplier. This is not an academic concept. It’s real.

For example, many companies believe that their customers buy from them because of product quality, customer service, competitive pricing and on-time every-time reliable delivery. But when you analyse customers’ buying preferences by market ( and they differ by segment), often customers say these critical factors are a given today.

They often prefer a particular supplier because of the quality of the relationship and the value suppliers add... through understanding their customers’ business.

This is true competitive advantage…and keeps your competitors at bay.


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© Copyright. All rights reserved. SMO Sydney July 2006.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Google
Brand awareness is good...as long as you convert sales leads

Building brand awareness ( created through advertising, promotion and publicity ) is an important activity...but it doesn't become a revenue driver until you can measure its results by segment on an ongoing basis. Then it becomes an asset.

Column centimetres of ads or press coverage is nigh on useless unless you are connecting with existing and new customers to capitalise on a wider market profile. So the leather has to hit the street.

If each rep is making two extra cold or qualified phone calls a day, that's 400 new sales suspects opportunities per year. Now your brand awareness strengths are being utilised.

One extra face-to-face presentation per week is at least 48 new customer connections per year. Do the math if you have a large sales force.

Connecting with new customers is an investment in your brand. To miss the opportunity to do so, is a waste of promotional funds.

But it is critical to measure brand awareness strength and relevance to current and new customers in specific market segments... compared to competitors.

Boards have a habit of wanting to know how their organisations are standing in the marketplace...and what their management teams are doing about exploiting their competitive positions...and converting awareness to profitable revenue.



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© Copyright. All rights reserved. SMO Sydney July 2006.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Google
What is VoIP and will it lower telecomms costs?

Recently, I did a study on our telecomms costs to rationalise suppliers and streamline services.

What came out of it was the realisation that much of what is being talked about VoIP ( or voice over internet protocol ) is in fact accurate.

VoIP is the capability to use the internet to make phone calls at substantially lower costs. We reckon we can lower our total telecomms costs by at least 25%.

With decent broadband speeds and some low cost equipment, costs of our calls to mobiles drop by over 60%; STD call costs to major capital cities drop by 90% and our local calls are cheaper too. International calls have various cost structures...but 4c a minute is commonly quoted.

A VoIP techo told me today that it won't be long before we can buy a mobile VoIP handset that allows us to fully access internet-based telephony!

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Market entry research costs are sunk...or are they?

When businesses transform their futures, new markets are often key components of their actions today.

But there's a reluctance in Australia in b-to-b sectors to invest in any ongoing market research...let alone market entry work.

In my experience, many organisations don't have the internal skills to understand and effectively manage an external research partner.

But this issue is not critical. It's a consideration..but shouldn't be a barrier to action.

A professional research organisation...accredited by its industry body...will provide the clarity, methodological process knowledge, project leadership and insights you need.

But back to the notion of..."are market entry research costs sunk?"

Absolutely not.

They're spent...but the value of any research is to reduce the risk. Knowledge is leverageable power and influence.

Better to spend what's needed ...rather than lose a lot in an enthusiastic but misguided jump into the deep end.

I would be looking for government subsidy support...which is available in some cases at both state and federal levels for eligible research.

The scope of research costs usually depends on the industry sector...its structure, channels, route-to-market options, geography, customer segments and competitor community.

But having said that, a good Australia-wide discovery-based research job to turn up public domain info shouldn't cost more than A$50k. And, most of the info you'll need is already published in part somewhere.

If you need to undertake primary research ( focus group work and representative segment surveying plus analysis ) reporting and peer reviews... the value escalates quickly.

But, that's the key issue...value.

Value is what you get from researching whether your proposed products and services are wanted by customers ...and can you make superior growing returns by entering a new market...compared to your current portfolio?

If the answer is no, don't do it. If the answer is maybe, do some more research. If the answer is yes, start building your strategies.

Market entry research improves the probability of returns on your capital. We do a lot of it.


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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Google
It's not just about who you know...it's who knows you

The power of your network for getting things done is a given. But the real essence of network power is how you leverage it to get noticed by potential customers.

Who knows you...is a pathway to new opportunites...and your network can help expand your reach and profile tremendously at low cost.

Word-of-mouth referrals are usually credible and instantly pre-qualify your business as a short-listed potential supplier.

To prove this, send me a few paragraphs of why your business is different and better than your competitors...and I'll publish it. My networks will learn about you...and your network will expand.

Here's ours as an example...

SMO Sydney meets the needs of ambitious organisations for business transformation strategy and implementation. We are not consultants. We are hands-on senior management leaders.We work inside the business...with the teams...on the business.

We are different and better because our strategy processes are world-class. When we apply these to our wide and deep industry sector knowledge, customers benefit immediately because we know how to exploit their competitive advantage.

Send this to your networks...and we'll both benefit!


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Pete Jeans or click on www.strategicmarketing.com.au

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Google
How vulnerable are we to business risks?

Part of what we do as leaders is to reduce risk. Improvements in mandatory and voluntary corporate governance and reporting obligations have contributed much to building shareholders confidence across many issues.

But in the process of transforming businesses, my opinion is that risk reduction audits should be prioritised in the key result areas...as well as the OH&S, environmental and corporate social responsibility areas.

Operationally, risk management should be an ongoing key imperative.

Reducing risks will deliver lower costs, improve efficiencies and tidy up the business in readiness for suitors when they make their approach. That's the value add.

We use a comprehensive organisational audit checklist to check a businesses' health. Built up over many years, it's also very useful in M&A situations or strategic reviews where discovery is critical.

Who wants to find out how vulnerable a business is at five minutes to midnight? Or a week out from a Board retreat to strategically assess the businesses' potential going forward?


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Pete Jeans or click on www.strategicmarketing.com.au

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Google
We all have different business needs...

When we condense it all down, more profitable customers are the future lifeblood of business growth.

But the journey to that destination takes best-practice process, discipline, outstanding execution and time.


Without trying to second-guess anyone's needs, here's some of the product and service solutions that are key pre-requisites. Just click on the link below.


Product and service solutions

What are the useful sources for identifying new clients?
  • industry associations and their user groups
  • trade magazines in target markets
  • trade websites like http://www.ferret.com.au
  • your website's enquiry management processes
  • referrals from your existing customers and contact networks
Email Pete Jeans or click on www.strategicmarketing.com.au

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Google
Retaining a mentor...where's the value?

You're extremely busy. Half a dozen major projects are underway. Some of your teams are performing well...the others need help...but your resources are stretched.

Deadlines are approaching fast... and targets and deliverables must be met. You're going to make it this time...but you know there has to be a better solution next time.

That's the value of a mentor...best practice, guidance for teams who are struggling; a trusted third party with an objective view and hands-on implementation experience, a second opinion when the issues and facts are clear...but the options are ambiguous or not readily obvious.

Is retaining an external mentor cost-effective?

Compared to employing an expensive senior manager with a roving role who may not stay around; retaining a mentor can be very effective.

For a few thousand dollars a month, mentors can be pointed at specific projects. Their independence guarantees objectivity and a commercial focus on results.

Do I use mentors. You bet. No-one is an all-rounder. But Boards and senior management expect all-round performance and professional outcomes on-time every time.


Contact
Pete Jeans at www.strategicmarketing.com.au

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Google
Organisations are renovating their brand positioning and market imagery...will you?

For a few months now, I've noticed that more organisations are reviewing their branding...and updating their logos, straplines and promotional positioning statements.

I suspect this is because we are at the mid-decade point of the business cycle...with the upside to come. This is certainly true of the housing and building products sector...one of the major drivers of the Australian economy.

Updating positioning at this time makes good business sense....but good business process is essential to get it right...relative to competitors' offerings.

And, it's not an expensive process.

If brands are a promise to buyers of the benefits and values of your products and services...and the strength of a brand today and in the future is a building block for future nett cashflow ( free cash or nett profit before interest and tax ); then brand evaluation and strengthening techniques now are very worthwhile.

I use a simple Brand Wheel Analysis process to get a good handle on where we are today and where we want to develop our brand to make us sustainably different and better in customers' minds.

There's a generic template below which is often useful. Follow the steps....but use an experienced facilitator to extract the value from management teams' participation.






Generic Brand Wheel Analysis template

Contact Pete Jeans at www.strategicmarketing.com.au

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Google
Three ways to lift your margins

Someone asked me not long ago how they could quickly lift and sustain their operating margins in the face of strong competition.

So we did some work and three imperatives emerged...
  • conduct an undiscounted revenue and margin analysis by segment to identify the pricing and terms areas where discipline was loose
  • market and sell more higher margin products and services across existing segments where the competition's value proposition was poor or had clear opportunity gaps
  • evaluate the strategic worth of direct distribution of low contribution products and act on the results
Whilst this is not specific advice for your business, it has some merit across many enterprises.

contact Pete Jeans at
http://www.strategicmarketing.com.au


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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Google
Is the time right to acquire a competitor?

Many industry segments in Australia are fragmented... and growth via merger or acquisition is a key option. Even ologopolistic markets offer the same opportunity.

Why would you consider it just at the moment?

Well, the economy is in good shape. Inflation and interest rates are relatively stable, loan capital is arguably readily available and industry structures are ripe for transformation after a long period of little change.

Because major competitors appear to have consolidated their positions and have access to cash for defence, smaller players may have to get together to go forward on a sustainable viable competitive basis.

Or can they stand in the face of stronger larger competition and enjoy comparable margin rates in the forseeable future?

I doubt it long term.

What can you do quickly and at a reasonable cost to identify merger and acquisition opportunities in your market?

Ignoring the fact that you understand your competitors by market segment ( many don't ) , the first strategic step is to construct a market map.

This market mapping approach identifies the channels and route-to-market by segment...and pinpoints which competitors have greater influence.

Thereafter, I believe it's about identifying the potential value-add of bolting two organisations together to strengthen the overall value proposition and to release cost synergies.

At the beginning and at the end of the day, it has to make market sense as well as ensuring your survival.


contact Pete Jeans at
http://www.strategicmarketing.com.au


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Friday, May 19, 2006

Google
Is innovation in corporate Australia alive and well?

No.

Just about every function I get to...or meetings with leaders,
people are saying...where is the innovation in Australian business today?

I have to agree with them. Apart from innovation in technology applications (blogging, podcasting and some interesting stuff at the recent Cebit exhibition in Sydney, ) not much has changed in business process the last few years.

Organisational churn goes on... and I wonder whether this is one of the central reasons that is stymie-ing corporate Australia's future development and competitiveness?

If you measure innovation generally as a consumer or a b-to-b end-user... by the number of times we switch brands, innovation is close to comatose.

Or is that because the corporate sector's marketing efforts are so good, brand switching is not an option? I don't think so! It's just that there's no new options coming through.

The organisations I see that outstrip their competitors time and time again, year after year, have innovation as a core value....and a core activity...supported by substantial investment and independent reporting lines to senior management.

But, to say that these practices are widespread, would be wrong. They are not.

So what should we do about it?

Innovate. Make innovation the reason that people keep their jobs. Develop new budgets that have high proportions of new revenue and EBIT specifically linked to innovative products and services.

Where do you start? Probably at senior management level first.

What do you do? Get some advice from leaders who have trod the innovation path successfully.

Who are they? I know a few.

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http://www.strategicmarketing.com.au


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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Google

Key result areas ...are you focusing closely enough?

Business Transformation in Australia is probably Australia's only serious business blogsite...created specifically to encourage businesses to become more competitive.

I believe key result areas that really matter are...
  • Profitable customer growth
  • New product and service development
  • Knowledge management
  • Market intelligence
  • Information delivery
  • Talent development
  • Organisational culture
  • Stakeholder support
  • Financial performance
  • Regular planning and measurement
Why is this suite of KRA's so important? Because they're all related. Selecting one KRA is inadequate. Selecting a few is inadequate. Choose them all and you choose your future.
  • Profitable customer growth...new customers should mean new free cashflow. If they're not profitable, don't do it. If you're not sure which new customers are worth pursuing, find a way to measure current customer profitability.
  • New product and service development...markets evolve constantly. Do you want your customers to believe that your competitors are in front in the new offerings stakes?
  • Knowledge management...when one analyses the critical factors why customers prefer one supplier over another, it's usually about the business improvement value you transfer to them. That means it is absolutely essential to protect your strategic intellectual property and operational processes from potential loss as you experience staff churn.
  • Market intelligence...first-to-market advantage provides a clear competitive edge. Do you want to be second or third or worse because your operational priorities are prejudicing an opportunity to regularly scan what's happening in the markets you're interested in?
  • Information delivery...poor information access and slow delivery costs everyone. Great information capability creates new cashflow opportunities and saves money. It's as simple as that
  • Talent development...in my opinion, it's best to hire staff with the best potential...and then develop them. If you hire the best...it'll cost a premium...and sooner rather than later, someone will pay more...and you're back to square one...often before they've delivered
  • Organisational culture...in my opinion, organisational cultures directly reflect the management style and attitudes of the leader. It is a key result area because key results are driven from the top. So it makes sense to meet your competitors' leaders so you can understand the dynamics behind your opposition's culture. Every general in history wanted to know who they were up against...to exploit their weaknesses.
  • Stakeholder support...stakeholders influence the provision of funds...intellectual or cash. Whether they're investors, creditors, advisors, staff and customers...they all need to be on-side, engaged and fully informed. Are yours?
  • Financial performance...it's a given...cash, creditors and customers...in my view, robust systems are mandatory to manage history and your transactional future
  • Regular planning and measurement...if you can't measure...you can't manage. So plan first and measure often

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http://www.strategicmarketing.com.au


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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Google
Considering the overall performance of your organisation this year...

With the year end approaching and most of us involved in strategic reviews, here's a few acid questions worth thinking through.

On a scale of Excellent Very Good Good Fair Poor

Is?

  • profit growth this year better compared with the average of the last 3 years growth
  • growth in new customers stronger compared to last year
  • contract or tender win %’s better than last year
  • the ratio of sales to employees increasing Vs last year
  • the reduction in costs better than last year
  • reduction in staff turnover better than last year
  • the regular introduction of new products strong enough
  • the introduction of innovative services on target
  • customer satisfaction better than last year
  • the quality of relationships with stakeholders better
  • the company's agility to change improved
  • the effectiveness of the promotional activities to generate leads on track
  • the quality of marketing support materials adding value to customers

If your gut feel or evidence suggests the answers are unacceptable, I suggest you get the best possible help quickly...and feed it into your strategic review processes.


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