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A Strategic Process

2010/02/18

NextStage: Predictive Intelligence, Persuasion Engineering, Interactive Analytics and Behavioral Metrics Building on what Brother Tom Bigda-Peyton wrote in Do Tactics Generate Strategy?, I’d like to offer a strategy (the first item in the list) and the process behind it (the list as a whole). It works quite well for us and may be useful to others, as well.

  1. Determine if there’s a problem to be solved.
  2. First, this is the strategy and also the first step in the process that makes the strategy work (according to The Good Dr. Richard M. Lent).

    Second, this step/strategy sometimes falls under the category of business development. Whatever term you apply, this step can take time (months) and involves getting to know the client/audience/market well enough to know if they’re experiencing a problem you can solve for them. The ideal is that the problem is obvious to all involved — they know they have a problem, they want help with the problem, they know you can help them solve their problem.

  3. Determine if the prospect/client/audience/market recognizes the problem.
  4. The more likely scenario is that you have to do research, have to study the client/audience/market and figure out for them what they don’t know they don’t know, then point out the “elephant in the living room”. Sometimes prospects genuinely don’t know there’s a better way to do something (ie, there is no problem really, you’re merely offering a time or cost savings to them) and convincing them usually requires testimonials, demonstrations, a trial ride and such. However, when you clearly demonstrate a problem to the prospect and they refuse to acknowledge it, stop. You’ve learned your lesson and soon enough they’ll learn theirs.

  5. Educate the prospect/client/audience/market.
  6. This is another step that could take months and often years to complete, so it’s best done with the largest market possible so that it only needs to be done once. If your business is a “client by client” model then you’ll really need those testimonials because Word-of-Mouth (WOM) is going to be your ally or your enemy in your marketing efforts. Educating your audience to a better way and/or problem solution will take patience and the ability to get and focus their attention where and when you want it. There are books written on this (I know, I wrote one). How you do it depends on you, what your offering is, who your audience is and so on.

  7. Introduce the Solution.
  8. More than anything else, this is the step where you demonstrate that you can solve their problem to their satisfaction

  9. Close.
  10. And I’ll leave any legal hassles (contracts, service agreements, etc) involved in this step to you.

  11. Lather-Rinse-Repeat.
  12. Now that you’ve demonstrated your problem solving abilities to client A, go down the line to prospects B, C, and so on. Also, determine if your solution can be applied to other markets and other audiences. This is usually quite simple with a service and less so with a product.

Enjoy.

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