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Strategic Positioning & Competitive Advantage

Pillar 3 – Your Strategic Positioning & How You Develop A Competitive Advantage

This is a big category and here are links to the other pages – page 23456 – 7

What Do Consumers Value When Buying?

Consumers are private individuals buying for themselves and their families but how do they choose what to buy out of all their options?

Obviously it is going to vary based on the product. Someone won’t buy a car using similar value attributes to buying pet food for their dog.

Are there common value attributes for these B2C deals and relationships? (B2C refers to business-to-consumer.)

Strategy consultants Bain think so and shared their thoughts in an article in the Harvard Business Review.

The Elements of Value by Eric Almquist, John Senior and Nicolas Bloch from the September 2016 Issue. (You can read the full article on the HBR website and two others for free.) [continue reading…]

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What Do B2B Buyers Value When Making Buying Decisions?

Buying has changed a lot since the Internet became popular, both for consumers and for B2B buyers. I’m looking at consumers in a separate article so here I want to answer the question…

What Do B2B Buyers Value When Making Buying Decisions?

To answer it, I’m summarising an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review:

The B2B Elements of Value by Eric Almquist, Jamie Cleghorn and Lori Sherer from the March–April 2018 Issue (You can read the original here).

Bain, the strategy consultants have produced 40 elements of value which they fit into five major categories. They have also look at what consumers value when buying.

The Main Categories of B2B Values

[continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning, 4 – Lead Generation

The Customer Value Attribute Map is an essential tool to help you focus on establishing and maintaining a competitive advantage based on differentiation (i.e being different in ways which matter to the targeted customers.)

It goes by different names:

  • W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne call it the Strategy Canvas in Blue Ocean Strategy, (This is probably the most famous of the names due to the popularity of the book.)
  • Cliff Bowman calls it the Customer Matrix in Competitive and Corporate Strategy,
  • I call a Customer Value Attribute Map (because I feel that’s the most descriptive) and
  • others call it a Customer Value Matrix.

It doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as you use the basic concept to get crystal clear about what particular customer segments or niches want and what you and your closest competitors offer. This way you can see areas where you are better than them, where they are better than you and where one of you offers a unique attribute.

Just don’t confuse it with the Customer Value Map which shows the fair value line of value for money between low price, low value brands and high price, high value brands and where your business lies in relation to that fair value line. [continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning

What Is Your Market Position? The Customer Value Map

There are many ways to differentiate a business. One of the easiest to understand is to find an unoccupied position on the customer value map where there is latent demand from customers.

What Is A Customer Value Map?

It’s a graphical representation of your market with price on one axis and customer value (i.e. what the customer gets for her money) on the other.

Customer value has many different components or attributes but at this stage, assume that value has a strong relationship with price along the lines of the old cliché… you get what you pay for.

This cliche is used to justify spending more on an item because (generally) price is a reliable signal of inherent quality.

An Example of A Customer Value Map

Here’s an example from the car industry which shows the fair value line for different brands. [continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning, 4 – Lead Generation

What Customers Value – Order Winners & Qualifiers

I introduced the concept of order winners and order qualifiers in my article on key success factors and now I want to delve into this important topic in more detail.

How Customers Chose To Buy Or At Least Rationalise Their Purchase Decisions – Order Winners, Orders Qualifiers & Customer Value

Customers make their purchasing decision emotionally and logically on a perception of customer value for money.The unconscious mind communicates the decision to the conscious mind at lightning speed and leaves the conscious mind to look for the logical reasons to back up the purchase decision. [continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning, 4 – Lead Generation

Strategy Under Uncertainty

This is part of the P3M2 module from the Pillar 3 Your Strategic Market Positioning.

Strategic Planning Under Conditions Of Fundamental Uncertainty

Outline

  • Hugh Courtney, Jane Kirkland, Patrick Viguerie Harvard Business Review article
  • Four levels – clear trend, discrete scenarios, range of potentials, total ambiguity
  • Roles – shapers, adapters, right to play
  • The Three Actions
  • Big bets – risky depending on uncertainty
  • Options
  • No regrets

[continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning

Scenario Planning

This is part of the P3M2 module from the Pillar 3 Your Strategic Market Positioning.

Scenario Planning – How To Deal With Major Uncertainty In The Future Economic Environment Of Your Business

The Outline

  • Technique is not recommended for most small businesses
  • Build alternative views of the future world and test strategies in each world.
  • “Fork in the road” e.g. UK & EU
  • Collective learning for the team
  • Some foresight better than none
  • Increases awareness – Boiled Frog syndrome
  • Disruptive change may be unpredictable

First I should make it clear that I don’t recommend this for 95% of small businesses.

However if you are facing a major uncertainty in the future, it is a powerful way to help you to work through the different options and decisions. [continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning

PESTER Analysis

This is part of the P3M2 module from the Pillar 3 Your Strategic Market Positioning.

Review Your External Environment For Strategic Changes With PESTER Analysis

What Does PESTER Stand For?

  • P = Political
  • E = Economic
  • S = Social & Cultural
  • T = Technological
  • E = Ecological
  • R = Regulations

It is also known as PEST, PESTLE, STEP, STEEP and probably a few other acronyms. The best known is probably PEST but I find the extra ER useful to make sure there is a more comprehensive review. [continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning

The External Environment P3M2

This is Module 2 in the Pillar 3 Your Strategic Market Positioning.

The External Environment – How To Review It To Find Opportunities & Threats And How To Position Your Business To Take Advantage

I like to think of scanning your external environment as how to PESTER your way to success.

Why Assess The External Environment
[continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning

Intro To Your Market Position P3M1

This is module 1 of the Pillar 3 Your Strategic Market Position.

Introduction To Your Strategic Market Position

Willie Sutton was a famous bank robber in the USA who robbed over 100 banks and spent half his adult life in jail. A reporter asked him “Willie why do you keep robbing banks?”

He famously replied “Because that’s where the money is!”

Why should you care about the contents of Pillar 3 and spend time thinking about your strategic market position?

Well to quote Willie again…

Because that’s where the money is.” [continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning