One of our founding principles is to help businesses achieve their growth by allowing them to understand some of the fundamental issues around achieving their goals. We put this report together which will give you a brief insight into the issues of achieving various milestones from someone who has been doing this for years.
Our expert has given us some pointers on how to address the various issues. Currently acting CEO in an Interim role. His current remit is to grow the oil, gas and energy operations for the Group, a global engineering, EPC and project management company operating in the fields of Advanced Technology Facilities, Life Science & Chemicals, Energy & Environment Technologies and High Tech Infrastructure, having a turnover in the order of £3.5 Billion.
Before this he was the MD for Power Energy Sector OEM. Reporting to the Chief Executive, held full business unit P&L, responsible for integrating products into a full power plant EPC delivery model. With 10 direct reports, oversaw operations across Latin America, USA, Canada, Europe, Africa and Russia. Whilst in this role he delivered 3 EPC bids, total value in excess of £1bn.
Q: how do you take a company/division from turning over £500mil to £1bn?
I believe the above question is dealt below; Organisational Change has also played a major part in the delivery of success that has followed me, accept the need for change and adapting as market condition change. This should not be confused with organisational design.
From my own experience any effective marketing will always starts with a considered, well-informed marketing strategy. A good marketing strategy has helped me to define not only the vision, mission and business goals, but also outlines the steps I will need to take to achieve these goals.
The approach I have taken is to recognised that the marketing strategy affects the way I will/have run entire business since taking an executive role in 1994.
I view this as a wide-reaching and comprehensive strategic planning tool. With the marketing strategy, I have use this to set the overall direction and goals for the marketing, and therefore somewhat different from a marketing plan, which I see as outlining the specific actions that will be needed to implement the marketing strategy. From past experience I have used the marketing strategy to develop a look ahead for the next few years, while with the marketing plan I have used to describe tactics to be achieved in the current year, ie short term and helps to target the products and services to the people most likely to buy.
Some examples of marketing goals that I have used have been to include increased market penetration (by selling more existing products to existing customers) or market development (by selling existing products to new target markets). These marketing goals I view as being long-term and in the past have taken a few years to successfully be achieved.
Also, it’s important amend the strategy if external market changes occur due to say a new competitor or new technology, or if our products substantially change, ie research will have to be a continuing process and an essential part of the marketing strategy. It is important to keep an eye on your market so you are aware of any changes over time, so your strategy remains relevant and targeted and periodic reviews will be required throughout the year.
Other aspects of the research which is paramount;
- Using the market research to develop a profile of the customers we were targeting and identify their needs, etc,
- Similarly, as part of the marketing strategy I developed a profile of the competitors by identifying their products, supply chains, pricing and marketing tactics.
- This information was used to identify our competitive advantages – and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our own internal processes to help improve our own performance compared with the competition.
- I am also a great believer in the use of tactical marketing mix ie using the 5 Ps of marketing. Where I have used the right combination of marketing across product, price, promotion, place and people, where success was achieved in securing the sales.
Q: who are the 5 most important people you need around to make the above happen?
CSO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, Customer Managers, Product Director
Q: how did you align the business unit strategy with the boards vision
I’ve had the opportunity to work with some major blue chip companies where I have successfully bridged this gap, and i can summarise some off the approaches I followed, below;:
The first step was always to ensure that I and the rest of the board agreed upon on an accurate, meaningful vision and set of strategic objectives. Working with the Board it was important to work towards a vision that was both meaningful and clear so that it was easy to communicate to a wider group.
In a workshop environment it was important to challenge colleagues to ensure that the setting of objectives were specific. Therefore, specific insofar as the vision was both clear to both internal and external stakeholders. By this I mean that I was always mindful of the fact of staying away from motherhood statements. In fact, the vision had to be specific and commit the group to a path, i.e. commit to a course of action. In other words the vision had to serve as a motivator to the whole work force over an extended period and be achievable from this the strategy was developed ensuring alignment of all activities and initiatives. In other words, I looked at the target segments, geographic regions and channels etc, other points considered where such points like; differentiating ourselves from the competitors, how value/profit was to be created.
Was volume and cost-cutting make up for low prices? Was pricing extract a premium for premium brands? Ideally, when the exercise was complete, we’re people listening to the strategy description and were they able to say, “This plan will make money by____”. It takes no great leap to say, “Structure follows strategy.” Sometimes, however, I found that it was needed to undertake further diligence to ensure structural alignment when the strategy had been changed to a large degree. This need not be difficult: Sometimes it just meant ensuring that each initiative had a project owner in each business unit or assembling cross-functional teams. One last point communicating the new strategy using as many channels was needed to get the message across to all relevant stakeholders.
The final point to note is duration. The benefits of repetition should not be underestimated. I found that the power of repetition will typically seek to weave aspects of the firm’s vision, values and strategy into almost any communication, whether it’s internal or external. A one-time communication was never/not sufficient to articulate a company’s vision: It’s like sand through your fingers. Only repeated, consistent communication of strategy can turn that sand into concrete actions that everyone understands and executes together.
The foregoing I have applied as an executive since 1994 across the international markets.