Market forces, as evident recently, are difficult to control or defy. Much of a senior executive’s business success can be put down to luck – to being in the right position when market forces are moving positively. Not me speaking: I’m paraphrasing a recent interview with a retired chairman of one of my country’s more successful companies. He attacked bonus systems that focus only on rewarding achievement of short-term financial outputs: his point being that sometimes managers ”win” mainly because the tide of the times turns in their favour, while others make carefully considered decisions, for the all the right reasons, but lose out because the market moves against them. Reviewing his company’s 100 year history, besides “good luck”, he saw the factors that had allowed it to survive and prosper as boiling down to diligence, persistence and a certain bloody-mindedness about making key client relationships work. From this perspective, the rewards systems in many companies favour the “lucky”, and may actually stifle qualities of diligence and persistence. Is this relevant to Market Research? Read On.. >
As the 2010 budgets and business plans get put to bed, it’s time to finalise the forthcoming year’s sales targets. There’s often the temptation to think that once the revenue and income targets have been finalised the work is done and it’s back to business as usual. Of course it’s only just beginning and, in fact, it’s the quality of the sales plan that will determine how well you hit that top-line revenue target. Frankly, if you don’t have at least the first draft on the table now, you’re already behind the eight ball, given the lag it takes to convert sales to revenue. At its most fundemental, the sales plan encompasses many of the tactical options needed to fulfil the business plan’s overall strategy.
There are 5 simple rules to ensure your sales plan is solid while still offering flexibility to adapt to sudden changes. These rules apply regardless whether you’re major international player with a large percentage of centrally generated business or a sole market specialist with your own niche and select competition.
- Secure the Base:-Don’t assume that because you’ve got 2-3 months revenue stock (aka sales in advance/revenue on hand) that you’ve already got a chunk of the target. Revenue generation is a continuous non-stop journey; you always need stock to kick off the following year.
If panels and data-bases are getting better at telling us the “whats” of the world, and improved qualitative and new nuero-science techniques are getting better at the “whys” (see my last post), then what’s left for the old-school ad hoc survey? Well obviously it can be argued that where representative samples are needed to establish incidence or opinion, well-designed surveys will always be pre-eminent. There is some truth in this, but perhaps not enough of such studies to maintain a global MR industry! The real future of the survey is in recognising and playing to three key strengths: Read On..>
In a recent online interview for the UK’s Research Magazine, Synovate’s Jan Hofmeyr, creator of the Conversion Model, made some telling comments on the conservatism of the research industry and the reluctance of practitioners to embrace innovation. Jan contrasted the position of market researchers with those in the IT world, whose existence depends on innovation. Indeed, he even put forward the example of medical practitioners who continuously seek new ideas and practices to implement throughout their career until the day they retire.
To me the key barrier is not the shortage of innovation and new ideas in our industry. Nor is it really the acceptance of new methods and approaches to address contemporary marketing issues. Read On..>