By Charlie Wilton, CMRP, FMRIA
Every year, companies invest significant resources into long-range planning and detailed annual operating plans. In spite of this, many businesses fail to achieve their goals. Companies that consistently meet or exceed their goals do so because their strategies and plans focus on a specific set of stakeholders in an approach we’ve created called the Triple C™ Win.
No matter how well crafted, company plans based solely on ambition and growth are destined to fail. Successful plans must take into account the needs of every stakeholder including, of course, the Company but also the end user (Consumer) and partners (Customers). While this strategy seems intuitive and logical, many plans continue to be largely based on “growing share.” Let’s review each of the three components.
The Three Cs of Triple C™
Even with brilliant plans, Company ambitions are unlikely to inspire support from Customers or partners, the people responsible for bringing your products and services to your target audience. Growing your share does not directly benefit a Customer unless, of course, it can be translated into meeting one of their needs.
As such, the Company must understand who their Customers are and what is important to them. There are often only a few strong Customers so Companies must focus where it counts. And, they must focus on Customers that will contribute to total business growth rather than focus single mindedly on price. This means attention must be paid to, among other things, margin, gross profit, inventory management, and Consumer satisfaction.
A strong business plan pays attention to Customer strategies and key initiatives such as driving traffic, increasing visits/loyalty, or increasing average orders for their Customers in line with their needs and goals. Without directly linking your Company plans to your Customer core needs, your plans will not likely generate the result you require.
Naturally, the Company, must ensure that they have a clear outline and strategy of their brand goals. What are the business goals for each brand? What does the Company want their end Consumer to do, think, and feel regarding the brands? How can the Company create products that deliver revenue growth, increased gross margin, and incremental share?
It should go without saying but building products, programs, and plans that do not meet the needs of the ultimate end user, your Consumer, are also destined to fall short.
As part of the Triple C™ Framework, it is important to understand the who, what, where, and why of the Consumer.
- Who is your Consumer target, both demographically and psychographically?
- What do your Consumers need from existing and future products, specifically in terms of products that are relevant, unique, and motivating?
- What do you want your Consumers to think, feel, do? And, what do your Consumers actually think, feel, do? For instance, does the Company want their Consumers to buy more products or buy higher margin products or shop more frequently?
The Future with Triple C™
Winning strategies and plans seek Triple C ’win’ outcomes where the needs of every key stakeholder (Consumer, Customer, and Company) are taken into account.
In addition to the three stakeholders that must win, there are other important considerations that will increase the chances of success. For instance, in the last five years, Channels have changed drastically, blurred extensively, and disrupted how, when, and where people buy things. New Categories, from insect protein to virtual reality, have opened up new opportunities and continue to erupt and disrupt. New Competitors, including those inside and outside the standard industry, regularly arise causing fear and concerns for brands that thought they were leaders.
Identifying the basic foundation for successful business growth is straightforward but translating each component into key strategic initiatives with relevant, actionable outcomes is much more difficult.