To Pivot on the Fly, Swim with the Current
For today’s One Good Idea episode we’re talking about pivoting your growth strategy. For our first-time viewers, One Good Idea is a result of our work with customers and conversations with other business professionals. We always welcome a conversation with you and our promise is you will always leave with at least one good idea. Hence the creation of this series.
In this episode, we recall the situations where we had a number of customers who had completed all the necessary steps to develop their growth strategy and plan. They’re well into implementation, when things go haywire. The cause might have been a major shift in the market, or a significant and unexpected change in regulation, or an unanticipated geo-political scenario, all resulting in the current plan being blown up.
This happened to many companies during the pandemic which caused firms to pivot or quickly change their strategic direction to adapt. Of course, if a company is committed to scenario analysis they might already have a plan in their “back pocket” for the circumstance. But if not, then it’s important to know how to regroup to pivot.
How Do You Know Where to Pivot Your Growth Strategy?
This is a great question. When it comes to pivoting on the fly, it can be better to figure out how to take advantage of the current, so to speak, rather than go against it. For example, during the pandemic we saw plenty of restaurants quickly pivot to take out and curbside pickup, some restaurants made this a regular option as part of their revised business model.
To survive, businesses must meet market requirements. When you don’t meet market requirements, your business is at a disadvantage against competitors who already had this as part of their business model.
Let’s return to a B2B example which involved a customer who relied heavily on industry and other in person events as part of the customer engagement tactics, especially to “demo” and interact with their product. Product experience was a critical part of the customer buying journey.
The pandemic pretty much put an end to in-person events. It didn’t take long before this company began to experience a decline in customer orders. Hence the need to pivot, and pivot quickly.
Keep the Customer Buying Journey in Mind
In our conversation with the president of this company, we quickly explored how they could create ways for customers to “demo” and interact with the product, and potentially experience it. We teed up several ways to do this along with a strategy and set of tactics. We had to think outside the box and explore doing things differently than before.
We began exploring how to quickly leverage virtual events since the industry was also pivoting.
One of the first steps was to create a virtual interactive demo. That took some time but that has now become a standard part of their customer buying journey. We also suggested creating a cost-effective variation of the product that could be quickly manufactured and ordered so customers could interact and experience the primary features and functions of the product at a lower cost.
They actually made a series of moves that allowed them to pivot to survive. And they revised their marketing touches accordingly. They recognized the importance of being better able to anticipate various scenarios. As a result, they’ve implemented a scenario analysis process that the leadership team employs quarterly.
Pivoting takes courage. Seems like we may have more than One Good Idea in this episode. Thinking outside the box and using scenarios to help anticipate the unexpected.
Let’s wrap this episode with more than One Good Idea and a Smart Business tip. You can find content on thinking outside the box and using scenario analysis on the VisionEdge Marketing website.