Vantage Blog

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10
Oct
2014

Complimentary Webinar - Tips & tools to help get traction with execution of strategy

One of the biggest challenges most people in business face is getting real traction or progress with implementing their strategies and plans.

In this free 30 minute interactive webinar on Tuesday October 21st at 5pm (AEDT), we will explore

  • approaches to setting up your strategy and plans for effective execution
  • simple tools and tips to help keep you accountable
  • how to improve the likelihood of achieving success

You will also receive a complimentary workbook to help you get traction in your business.

Click here to reserve your spot.

Please feel free to pass on this invite to your team, colleagues or friends - it is a free event.

Best wishes,
Vantage Strategy & Marketing

One of the biggest challenges most people in business face is getting real traction or progress with implementing their strategies and plans.

In this free 30 minute interactive webinar on Tuesday October 21st at 5pm (AEDT), we will explore

 ..

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25
Jul
2014

What Value is There in a Value Proposition?

Lots if you get it right. Unfortunately many don't! A lot of value propositions contain little of the value they aim to deliver.

Why? Because they are created from the inside out. That is they are all about what businesses think their customers want, rather than what their customers actually need. They focus on what you want to sell, rather than starting with the customers’ problems or needs that you are uniquely able to address.



So what exactly is a value proposition? It is the sum of what you deliver (the attributes of your offer), how you are perceived (your image) and the relationship you have been able to develop. It's how it all comes together in a coherent and consistent way.

Put simply, it is how you deliver value to your customers.

I use a value proposition wheel to try and tease out all the elements. Attempting to be clear on these factors goes a long way towards having a coherent and compelling value proposition.















Take Boost Juice as an example. They have a crystal clear view of their value proposition and, if you were to try and deconstruct it, it would look something like this.















The key is making it clear and concise. But also easy to understand and be applied across the organisation.

Critically, however, it needs to be grounded in your competitive advantage – what makes you different. For Boost it is around the “Boost Experience” and the essence that runs through everything they do...“Love Life”.

What does your value proposition wheel look like? Have a go at filling it in and seeing where there are gaps or inconsistencies.

In developing or refining your value proposition you need to be really clear on what problems you are solving or needs you are meeting. This is where the real value to your customers should emerge.

A simple exercise to do that is the product surround model.
















In every product or service there is a core product, the substance. As a rule of thumb the core is normally about 80% of the cost but provides only 20% of the impact.

It is the product surround, usually 20% of the cost, which contributes up to 80% of the customer impact.

A great example of a business that reinvented not only its offering, but the category, is a BRW Fast 100 winner Jetts.

















The approach they took was to think through what the customer problems and issues were with how traditional gyms provided services to the market.

Customer Problem: Jetts Offer:
“Don’t like being tied in for years” No Contracts
“Too expensive“ Weekly Fees
“Too crowded “ No Classes
“Not open when I want it” Open 24/7

So in reviewing your value proposition think about the following questions:
• Can you define what is core and what is surround for each of your current offerings?
• Can you list the key problems and needs for your target market?
• What could you build, refine or deliver better via your value proposition to solve those problems and needs?

A simple exercise that may well help you define and deliver real value in your value proposition. 

Click here to watch our free 30 minute webinar on Value Propositions.


by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing.
This article is linked to James' Google+ profile



Lots if you get it right. Unfortunately many don't! A lot of value propositions contain little of the value they aim to deliver.

Why? Because they are created from the inside out. That is they are all about what businesses think their customers want, rather than what their customers actually need. They focus on what you want to sell, rather than starting with the customers’ problems or needs that you are uniquely able to address. ..

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01
Jul
2014

REGISTER NOW - Finding Value in your Value Proposition Webinar - Tuesday 8 July

What value is there in having a value proposition?

This free 30 minute workshop, on Tuesday July 8 at 5pm (AEST), explores how to deliver and unlock real value for your customers.

Three easy to apply techniques will be explored during the webinar, and you will receive a complimentary workbook to help you apply them in your business.

Click here to reserve your spot.

Please feel free to pass on this invite to your team, colleagues or friends - it is a free event.

This blog post is linked to James' Google+ profile

What value is there in having a value proposition?

This free 30 minute workshop, on Tuesday July 8 at 5pm (AEST), explores how to deliver and unlock real value for your customers.

Three easy to apply techniques will be explored during the webinar, and you will receive a complimentary workbook to help you apply them in your business.

Click here to reserve your spot.

 ..

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23
Feb
2014

Time to grow...but where?

The recent announcement by Toyota means that we now will see the final withdrawal of the car manufacturing from Australia. A real tragedy for those directly employed but what of the component parts manufacturers - those so heavily dependent as part of the supply chain? Time for some tough thinking around their strategic direction and growth options.


Many auto part manufacturers have steadily reduced their dependency on the big three auto players over the last 15 years, but others need to urgently consider their future. They are at a fork in the road and need to decide – is growth appropriate or is it time to milk the business for cash as part of an orderly wind down?

Looking for growth

For most growth will indeed be the path they choose. But where will it come from?

Too often, I see strategic plans indicating a growth aspiration, but there is no real idea of where this will come from and the capabilities required. Putting aside mergers and acquisitions or strategic alliances, there are four broad organic options as Ansoff’s product matrix below demonstrates:
























Market Penetration - can you sell more of your current product to your existing target market?

This requires your current customers purchasing more of your product or service. Difficult for auto parts manufacturers; but very relevant for other industries when thinking about growth.

Are you able to increase the purchase frequency per customer? Alternatively are you able to take market share from your competitors?

Following the path of market penetration requires a real point of difference and an appropriate marketing strategy capable of wooing those customers towards you and away from your competitors. You need to be able to demonstrate very clearly the benefits for customers in switching. Without a clear competitive advantage however, for many it becomes a fight over price – and that’s rarely profitable or sustainable.

Market Development - can you sell your current offering to a different target market?

If you already have the lion’s share of the market, you might consider market development – selling to a different geographic market or a different demographic.

For instance can you sell your product internationally? Starbucks having saturated the US market turned its attention to other international markets. The trick here of course is to make sure your offer suits the new market, or is tailored and packaged to do so – that’s where Starbucks came to grief in Australia. Many auto manufacturers have already gone down this path –especially those in the technology space by selling specialist componentry they manufacture for local purposes to overseas car manufacturers.

Product Development - introduce a different offering to your loyal customers

Yet again difficult for auto parts manufacturers who solely service the big three auto companies locally, but successful companies do this well. For instance JB Hi-Fi decided to introduce white goods under their brand. Same value focused market segment but in a new product category. Similarly McDonalds successfully introduced salads and a healthy offering to their existing customers – tapping into the trend towards healthier eating. Apple broadened their offering to their loyal customer base from the Apple Mac to include IPods, IPhones and IPads – all built off a clear brand positioning and differentiated user experience.

Diversification - what opportunities exist to develop new products and offer them to new markets?

Without doubt the most difficult of all strategies is that of diversification. This is exactly what the automotive component industry is grappling with at the moment. Their current offering is nearing obsoletion. Their customers (big three auto brands) are closing down manufacturing locally.

In order to survive they need to look at what they do well. What is their competitive advantage and capabilities? What can they leverage? Where are the real growth opportunities in long term sustainable industries. And as has been highlighted by Victoria’s premier and the Prime Minister, this requires heavy investment and comes with greater risk.

However a number I know of have already done just this some time ago. They have utilised their core competency, e.g. specialist pipe bending or electronic componentry, to make new products for new market segments.

This requires business leaders to think hard about what their capabilities are, and to think laterally about how they can be applied to meet new customers’ needs. Deep strategic planning and challenge to current thinking is required. Not a simple process, but for auto parts manufacturers critical for them to embrace urgently, if they haven’t already.

Marketing Understanding

And of course all of this requires you to have a very good understanding of the market in which you are playing and your core capabilities and opportunities. What are the long-term prospects for growth? Are there any other barriers such as government policy or the general state of the economy? What are you competitors doing or planning to do? Are there any other major factors affecting the future direction of your market such as technology, the environment or our aging population?

Without a good handle on these questions you will not be in a good position to judge which strategy for growth is appropriate for you.

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing

This article is linked to James' Google+ profile

The recent announcement by Toyota means that we now will see the final withdrawal of the car manufacturing from Australia. A real tragedy for those directly employed but what of the component parts manufacturers - those so heavily dependent as part of the supply chain? Time for some tough thinking around their strategic direction and growth options. ..

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06
Jun
2013

Simple: conquering the crisis of complexity:Book Review

I have found there are 3 types of people in the world.  Firstly there are those that thrive on complexity, making things seem more difficult or complex than they need be.  In part in may be that they thrive on detail, or want to show how smart they are - therefore building up their status by surrounding themselves with complexity.  May be a little harsh, but I bet you know people like that!


Secondly those who are fantastic at seemingly making the complex simple. Reducing challenges and opportunities to their essence. 
And the third group?  The rest of us!  In most cases wanting life/business/relationships to be simpler.  But battling to find a way through the complexity. I therefore read with eagerness “Simple – conquering the crisis of complexity” just published by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn.


Siegel and Etzkorn come from a design background and mainly focus on communications but it is an interesting, quick read and prompts thoughts around how do you boil things down to their essence – the whole “less is more” thing.

I particularly liked their model on how to achieve simplicity for customers:
  • Empathise – perceive others needs and expectations
  • Clarify – make the offering easier to understand, use, and benefit
  • Distill - boil down and customise what’s being offered to meet needs
A lot of businesses provide customers with lots of choice – every variant and option they could dream up, thinking choice is what customers want.

If, however, they took a long hard look at what customers actually want/need, and apply the Pareto principle, they will no doubt find that 80% of the value will come from 20% of the features or product offering. 

Providing loads of choice is, in many cases, the easy way out – ‘we’ll leave it to the customer to work it out’.  In a world of exploding choice that just adds to the clutter.

Simple tells a number of stories of brands winning the complexity war.  Usual suspects such as Apple and Google, but others like Oxo and some US businesses that provide interesting case studies.

But it is short on practical advice on what to do – how to achieve simplicity in not just your communications and product design, but in your business strategy and model.

This is particularly challenging as simplicity does not mean simplistic.  
Complexity is a reality, and an expanding one at that! And importantly complexity gets in the way of effective implementation of strategy.  It is a barrier to engaging your staff and being able to ensure everyone is focussed on the same goals. To achieve simplicity (or to put it another way, clarity  of purpose) you need to understand in detail your market, your business model, its competitive advantage, needs of customers and of course future opportunities – in short your strategy and how to make it real. (See: Some practical tools to ‘conquer the crisis of complexity’ for my top 5 tools).

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing

This article is linked to James' Google+ profile

I have found there are 3 types of people in the world.  Firstly there are those that thrive on complexity, making things seem more difficult or complex than they need be.  In part in may be that they thrive on detail, or want to show how smart they are - therefore building up their status by surrounding themselves with complexity.  May be a little harsh, but I bet you know people like that! ..


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