Back to (business school) basics

Back to (business school) basics

Who’s the best person to take a long, hard look at the strategy that underpins your business? Highland Marketing founder, Mark Venables, thinks that sometimes you need outside research to challenge your preconceptions and prejudices.

Isn’t strategy the leadership team’s superpower?

It’s a rookie error to think that the CEO or the leadership team have all the answers. The really smart businesspeople I know are more than happy to take advice and ideas from people they trust. I’d say their superpower is asking great research questions, analysing the answers, and identifying the way forward.

Business school basics

Amazon will sell you any number of books about setting a strategy for business success. Consistently, I see two narratives – the “entrepreneur is the hero” story, and the “just follow my complicated methodology” story.

Much of this is interesting and some of it is useful. However, at its core, the process is pretty straightforward. At Highland Marketing, we start from the basis that research is the bedrock of any strategy, and from there focus on four areas:

  • Market opportunity scanning – How do you fit against market needs and aspirations?
  • Product proposition and value proposition development – How are you going to convince people you’ve got what they need?
  • Competitive analysis – Who else is out there and how do you stack up?
  • Market segmentation and selection – Who wants what you’ve got, and is in a position to buy?

If you’re thinking that this is obvious, well good. It’s not rocket science, it’s not even science.

However, it is important to actually do the research and, crucially, you need to be diligent, analytical and objective. Many business ideas fail because someone falls in love with an idea and pursues it to destruction. You need to look at all the angles and be willing to pivot.

A good way of achieving this objective is to work with someone who knows the market and its drivers, has seen what works and what doesn’t, and can look at the opportunity both qualitatively and quantitatively. If you want someone like that, we’d love to talk to you.

Making it happen

Of course, having a great strategy will only be the beginning of your success, which brings us to another superpower: relentless execution.

One of our associates tells a story about when he was a junior marketing leader working on a new product proposition. He’d been working with an external agency and together they’d come up with a plan. He’d presented it to the Board, and after that meeting the CEO had come to have a chat. His steering? It’s great idea, now all you’ve got to do is make it happen.

And that’s what the best business leaders do – recognise the opportunity and work tirelessly to bring it to fruition. They do things, enjoy the successes, take the knocks, improve their approach, and go round again.

Get in touch if you want to know more about how Highland Marketing can help you set your strategy.

What do health tech leaders want from the general election campaign?
Secrets from the algorithm: insights from Google’s Search Content Warehouse API leak
What will the general election mean for the NHS and health tech?
Back to (business school) basics
NHS finances: cuts get real