Being practical with Business Analysis

13 Feb 2012|Added Value

In its Global CMO Study, that was published recently, IBM underscores three main topics:
– The empowerment of consumers, who are now in control of the business relationship
– Delivering customer value, and how an organization’s behavior is as impactful as the products/services it provides
– The accountability of Marketing to the business

This last point, to me, is paramount and has been a topic of focus for Added Value for some time. Nobody doubts of Marketing’s importance in participating to the commercialization of products/services, but the ROI remains unclear and casts doubts on Marketing’s relevance as a whole. It is plagued with a perceived disconnect to the business reality of the company, and various ills are associated with the concept of Marketing.

This, however, should not be considered unavoidable and Marketing’s role, today more than ever, is fundamental in the success of the business. The current economic climate by itself is enough justification for dedicated and skilled teams exploring and generating growth, be it organic or external.

Only this will not happen unless Marketing’s added value is recognized, unless Marketing is no longer perceived as a service disconnected from day-to-day business reality, and unless it can prove its capacity to integrate into the core-business and assess its contribution in other terms than sole costs, and finally convince the organization of the legitimacy and benefits of its suggestions.

In our work with clients, we increasingly go above and beyond our typical role and dive in deeper detail into the financial and operational implications of our recommendations.

In order to help our clients going in this direction, we are working at integrating a “Business Analysis” offer that seeks to evaluate the business implications of our recommendations, that aims at developing business cases and contributing to the robustness of our insights.

Our goal here is not to compete with blue chip consulting firms: we remain a Strategic Marketing consulting firm. Our objective lies in bringing ever more value to our clients, by remaining pragmatic, close to their business and by asking the relevant questions about the operational implications of our recommendations.

We are progressively rolling out our approach when it seems appropriate and have had the opportunity to work on ambitious and fascinating projects.

We were recently asked to accompany one of our clients in the Aviation Industry in the design concept for an international Terminal, and specifically to help them determine the services, design cues and offerings of the various business and first lounges within the new international terminal.

This sounds like a somewhat, albeit downright cool, typical AV project, but we managed to take it even further, down to the Business Planning stage.

We implemented a three phase approach:

  • Inspiration: We carried out trend analysis on airport-related themes and looked into the culture of the country. We benchmarked international airports around the globe looking into best-in-class airport terminals and lounges as sources of inspiration for products and services, as well as design cues. We also interviewed experts (sociologists, journalists, designers, etc.) in order to understand where the world is headed.
  • Strategy: We used the previous inspiration work as stimuli for a strategic workshop (definition of the strategy and ambition, draft specifications – products, services, design style, etc.) and wrote the creative brief for the architects.
  • Business Planning & Implementation: Once the design concept and strategy were finalized, we interviewed lounge operators, benchmarked them against each other and developed an extensive and detailed dynamic Business Planning tool, enabling our client to measure investment and ROI based on dynamic parameters (down to the number of flat-screen TV in each lounge).

This tool will now serve as the basis for operator RFP’s, evaluating their responses and selecting the optimal business model.

By adding the Business Analysis layer to our usual insights, we were able to give much more practical recommendations to our client, thus ensuring that our work upstream gets all the shine it deserves and in the end enabling our client a much faster route to its goal.

Written by Alexandre Thomas, Project Director.

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