In the Spring of 2014, Prophet conducted a unique series of in-depth interviews with fifty leaders of the world’s largest companies on the topic of accelerating growth. These CEOs, Division Presidents and Chief Strategy Officers highlighted the crucial role played by “growth moves,” the major moves companies make to exploit a large market opportunity. The key learning: overwhelming agreement that the main obstacle to accelerating growth is choosing and effectively executing the right growth moves needed to take advantage of large market opportunities. Contrary to conventional thinking, uncovering, assessing and prioritizing opportunities–the focus of most growth strategists–was not the biggest challenge.

According to the growth leaders, charting the concrete steps to turn market opportunities into profitable, sustainable revenue streams is difficult and risky. Difficult because the organization must often apply new thinking and methods. Risky because operating effectively requires organizations to focus on only a few moves at a time. The leader of the world’s largest labeling company said it best, “My organization can only handle one or two big moves in a five year span. I have to make sure we choose the right ones, then consistently maintain focus on significantly shifting buying behavior and making a material impact on the bottom line.”

Top Growth Moves

Our interviews uncovered growth leaders’ favorite growth moves. The moves span industries, channels and markets and provide a great starting point for any company endeavoring to uncover inspired and actionable growth moves.

  1. Reframe Category Requirements
    Take a core proposition to a larger audience by simplifying it and eliminating restrictive terms and conditions; lower the total cost of ownership and reduce switching costs. T-Mobile changed the wireless competitive game and gained millions of new customers by simplifying choices, eliminating the cost of switching carriers, destroying barriers to phone upgrades and tailoring bandwidth and option bundles to better meet consumers needs.
  2. Broaden The Customers You Serve
    Make your value more transparent to the entire value chain by providing new mechanisms to engage with and serve your customers’ customers. Avery Dennison built teams to enter co-development partnerships with their converters’ customers, CPG companies. New relationships revealed value-adding capabilities that CPG packaging engineers never knew existed, to the benefit of Avery Dennison and converters.
  3. Expand Your Value Proposition into Solutions
    Unleash the expertise and data used to develop products and systems by providing broader information, consulting and management services and solutions. Monsanto combined expertise in plant biology and agronomy with weather and soil big data to go “beyond the seed.” They now provide yield improvement solutions, software and services to tailor inputs to specific microclimates and soil conditions within individual farms.
  4. Redesign Your Customer Experience
    Bring together customer insights, innovation, design and digital to reconceive customer experiences and create signature brand touch-points that drive adoption and loyalty. Zurich Financial redefined how it interacted with European customers by creating ZurichHelpPoint. Zurich HelpPoint delivers a single point of contact that enables Zurich to better address customer needs, sell add-on services, cross-sell coverage and retain customers.
  5. Empower Your Customers
    Enable customers to help themselves to expansive offerings, guidance or diagnostic tools by putting them in complete control of the how, where and when of their buying experience. Charles Schwab destroyed prevailing investment paradigms that put brokers on a pedestal. First, they championed discount trading that empowered individual investors. Then they armed investors with online and mobile tools to make better decisions and manage their portfolios.

Generating Growth Moves

The in-depth interviews also revealed that growth leaders feel stymied by their inability to generate and select the best growth moves. They reported that their management consultant partners lacked the required innovative thinking and practitioner expertise; their own strategy teams did not have access to the best practices or rigorous assessment tools that are also needed.

At Prophet we’ve designed a proprietary tool called the Demand Generator to create and evaluate inspired and actionable growth moves. It is an intense, sixty-day, strategic immersion for a senior team of innovators, digital experts, designers, marketers, sales professionals and operators. They create, refine and market test alternative growth moves.

The tool relies on an outside-in lens to generate a portfolio of potential moves. The lens starts with prospective buyer motivations. Analogs from outside the industry, market and competitive dynamics and the growth assets of the company are combined with buyer motivations through an iterative sequence to build out prospective growth moves. The potential for growth moves to profitably drive demand is assessed through rapid, rigorous market simulations. The result is a set of validated growth moves ready for piloting and expansion.

Talk to Prophet about how we can work with your company to generate and assess growth moves that will unlock faster growth.

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