My premise this month is that a company’s future success derives from providing value to customers that is not available from competitors – and that it must be developed with a market-orientation.
To accomplish a competitive edge, most companies will either:
- Improve existing products and services;
- Develop radically different offerings, quickly.
Generally to succeed long-term, you must be prepared to cannibalise your own business before someone else does. So where to start?
We are all so busy, and there are so many business hurdles…
- Thinking strategically while working the day-to-day business issues
- Deciding which comes first : technology, product, quality, market, manufacturing, distribution or finance
- Understanding the influence of culture and values
- Selecting a dominant strategy that integrates marketing, R&D and production strategies
- Focusing on the winners, dropping the losers
- Examining your company’s mission, vision and strategic intent
- Measuring integrated strategic planning progression… just to name a few!
Always remember, however, that the planning responsibility of business owners and senior management includes conceiving and implementing an integrated business strategy that results in profits, growth and clear direction for the entire organisation. Therefore, as part of aligning total business strategy, Marketing and R&D strategies need to align to increase the return from investment in new technologies. It is therefore imperative that an integrated portfolio approach to support market-oriented R&D planning is undertaken and baked into the business culture.
Why are market-oriented strategies so important?
- Market orientation is a key driver of company performance, so companies should align their core activities with market requirements.
- Among the most important activities is the introduction of new products which sustain company success in many markets.
- The alignment of process steps, from idea to launch, with market requirements drives success.
- Consequently, R&D should be focused on designing new products which satisfy market requirements.
So in the end, ask yourself this… How can my company best integrate the marketing function with research and development? As product life-cycles and development cycles become ever shorter and as increasing proportions of R&D are outsourced, linking the marketplace with the ‘laboratory’ becomes both crucially important and increasingly difficult. A final thought… don’t give up! This integration of marketing and R&D practices is the key to your long-term success and the only way to gain a sustainable competitive advantage.