In the world of strategy, there are two camps. One who play it safe and look for incremental improvement. And the other who rebukes status quo, and is not afraid to “break the system”.
It’s no secret that I’m part of the radical strategy crew. If the same effort can be applied and the results are drastically different…why even bother with lukewarm benefits?
Radical Strategy employs these rules:
- It breaks the system. Breaking has a negative connotation, in some views. But breaking a system ignores fear of competition. If Zuckerburg were afraid of MySpace…well, you know. Competition is an advantage in breaking the system. You can be first, or you can be best. Let the first guy bear the problems, perfect the issues and provide something better.
- Hyper-Responsive becomes the new snooze. Responding to trends is the ol’ standard. I see it, now I’ll apply it. In radical strategy, predictions become as germane as reading the daily news. If someone else is doing it, you are too late my friend. Predicting the problems of your customers is the super highway to radical strategy.
- Failure is its fuel. Most strategy is designed to mitigate risk, no failure roadmaps. That’s a childish approach, IMO. Failing fast is invaluable knowledge. If moving fast (see above rule), failure becomes market intelligence, allows for strategic predictions and reevaluates the customers’ needs by ruling out those tactics.
- Collaborate or Die. The mad-scientist/genius approach is a thing of the past. The brain trust in this modern world means ideas and perspective of a collaborative environment far surpass the “hero” needs of yesterday. Radical strategy re-imagines competition as collaborators, finds value in the ideas of every team position and looks to unrelated industries for unique partnerships.
- Kill the cow. Radical strategy isn’t afraid to compete against itself. The standard sales in a company becomes competition. The next generation of greatness does not come from the last decade of sales. (See prediction point #2). Killing the cow calls for solving customer problems in other categories. And solving problems is the lifeblood of radical growth.
I challenge you to investigate radical strategy. Hey, you can plot it and not even act if fear is your motivator. That’s your safety net. (^^,)
I’m used to working with a variety of executives from the “try-curious” to the timid. While, I do not reveal client information or names, I can illustrate the agnostic situation and impact.
- Personalization of assets:
- Pre-Facebook quizzes, programmatic targeting and AI big data, I crafted the strategy and launched the first fully personalized travel website. From a self-driven quiz, you landed as one of four personas for the destination. From there, the entire site from color and design to content and recommendations were specifically served for the person’s desires of experience.
- Impact: 1,300% increase in site usage and time on site went from 1:20 to 12:00. Occupancy in the destination, tied to site discovery was raised to 87%, RevPar from $130 to $310. Email permission went from under 2,000 to 300,000 in the first 90 days.
- Moral of the Story: Interrupting the vanilla delivery of content in the discovery process and replacing it with a custom experience proved to be a strategic exercise that yielded increased business and loyalty.
- Getting rid of the AOR:
- A client was dissatisfied with their Agency of Record and its inability to keep up with trends and new media (an industry struggle that is coming to a head today). After a thorough audit of their marketing, the realization that both market-share and brand equity were suffering severely, bold action was called for. An in-house agency with a modern body of knowledge would cut costs and assure work product would be aligned with the growing complexity of media trends. I designed the department, job descriptions and assumed the role of hiring manager. To assure a seamless transition, I lent my team to the advertising tasks for the gap between old agency and new team. This gap time allowed us to illustrate modern marketing practices, lift sagging results and peg a new standard of marketing for the new team to follow.
- Impact: A 30% decrease in marketing budget yielded a 72% increase in marketing results in under 3 months. Long term, the in-house agency team rebuilt all the assets, social media and campaign strategies, ultimately putting the client back into the number 2 spot against its competitors for business.
- Moral of the Story: The place of the AOR will never be the same, as complexity grows in astounding ways, agencies struggle to keep the strategic relationship with their clients. It’s unrealistic to be all things to all people. Two main trends address this: the anchor agency and the in-house team. I concentrate on assisting clients with both by crafting the strategy for either maneuver. One of the main catalysts to my “Certified Corporate Trainer” status is to help client teams get the strategy in their blood, it becomes a natural crusade. They have the how, I assist with the “why”.
These are just two examples of radical movements that yielded positive results. I’ve been fortunate enough to have helped hundreds of organizations, all with positive impact. Luckily, I was one of just a few executives that adopted digital marketing, even before Google. I spent a good decade persuading anyone who would listen that the Internet was a tectonic shift. This prepared me, not only for major success in digital, but in comfortably adopting sweeping movements in marketing and business. More importantly it gave me the tools to persuade the C-suite and boards to make major changes to distinguish themselves in the marketplace.
“Business is up, and I thank Jennifer for the impact. If you are thinking about hiring Jennifer Barbee or her team, carpe diem. If you don’t, your neighbors soon will.” ~CEO, Hospitality Industry