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How to Make Sure What You Sell Is What the Market Needs

How to Make Sure What You Sell Is What the Market Needs

Why is there so much fuss about marketers having to be knowledgeable about value chain analysis? We could easily just go around using strong advertising strategies. That, however, is not all that is required for a sound business strategy.

The more knowledge you have about the interaction of your product or service with potential customers the easier it will be for you to pair up company potential with customer requirement. If you are a winner at that, you are a winner at marketing!

Michael Porter in his book, “Competitive Advantage”, clearly explains how important the value chain is for a company, and how value is created within the organization [1] is better explained here as well. For the most part, companies would consider value chain analysis as an essential part of their business strategy.

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Senior management is responsible for organizing managers in the Operations, Sales and Customer services to identify the different areas connecting Company value chain to Customer value chain. This will help to discover what the consumer requirements really are.

The phrases involved in a value chain analysis

A proper value chain analysis for your company can considerably improve your company’s efficiency and effectiveness in meeting your customer requirements.

The main factors involved are the following:

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Logistics

This refers to the coordination of information flow and goods coming in and going out of your business organization. A sound analysis of inbound logistics enables the identification of options to lower supplier costs as well as strengthen relationships with potential suppliers. Outbound logistics, gives you an insight relating to the flow of goods and required information to your buyers, is considered to be a crucial distribution and service factor.

Operations

This stage in the value chain involves a variety of procedures, equipment, and workers employed in production, purchase and sale of inventory to customers. Manufacturers aim to produce top-quality products at reduced costs by identifying ways to optimize manpower and equipment costs and getting rid of wasteful production steps. An example of this is by using Platform.ly [2], where marketing is made in automation to achieve lossless tracking and also runs your whole back-end business. Resellers’ operations are further analyzed to further determine ways to improve inventory management and the ability to efficiently merchandise it to buyers.

Front-end Activities

Porter stresses on marketing, sales and support being core front-end value chain activities. Businesses have to repeatedly review and improve marketing research, promotional activities as well as customer support. Effective research aids in getting to know more about your present and future customers. Promotions such as advertising and sales serve to gain consumer attention. Prominent companies are in the constant habit of reviewing their on-going promotional strategies in search of improvement opportunities. Customer retention is essential to long-term success.

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Supporting Factors

Porter implies that a value chain has four supporting factors:

  • Infrastructure
  • Technology development
  • Human resources
  • Procurement

Infrastructure and technology development refer to the construction as well as the development of buildings, supplies, equipment and technology needed to assist current business activities. A thorough analysis of your infrastructure and technology contributes to discovering ways to enhance your structure in order to support customers. Human resources concentrate on the attraction, retention, and motivation of top employees. Procurement is how the purchasing departments focus on routinely reviewing opportunities for getting reduced costs from suppliers or favorable transactions.

What can value chain analysis give us?

Value chain analysis does have important advantages to be considered, such as:

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  • a very crucial role in determining important organizational, tactical as well as strategic issues connected to the business.
  • a very valuable tool in that it helps businesses to fully exploit all possible sources of competitive advantage.
  • applicable to all types of businesses no matter what the industry or business size.

How is value chain analysis insufficient?

As is typical of any theoretical framework, the value chain is not completely flawless. These can be considered as follows:

  • assumed that it is feasible to split company operations into two different categories: primary and support activities.[3] If we were to take a realist viewpoint, this may very well prove to be contrary when considering the many complexities of business operations today.
  • time-consuming for practical application. After all, we are talking about a thorough analysis of all business operations involved.
  • may not be possible to attain all the adequate information needed for the proper conducting of a value chain analysis.

When is it suitable to apply value chain analysis?

There are many different ways of adapting value chain analysis in various industries, some examples are:

Delivery Service

In order to enhance market share as well as brand loyalty, FedEx’s value chain clearly identifies the importance of employee development by using proper human resources plans and improvements in infrastructure.

Food and Beverage

Properly choosing and locating top-quality coffee beans, enhancing trustworthiness by providing top-grade consumer service, and successfully marketing their brands were the most important elements in Starbucks value chain. PizzaHut managed to defeat its competitors by efficiently delivering a cheaper product than just concentrating on premium pricing.

Retail

Walmart is known to use value chain analysis in order to maintain low prices for their customers. By constantly identifying suppliers, comparing in-store as well as online shopping, and developing innovations have contributed to Walmart’s commitment to making it easier for people to increase their savings.

Reference

[1] MindTools: Porter’s Value Chain
[2] Platform.ly: Home
[3] Mayday Network: Understanding Value Chain And It’s Importance to Business

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Junie Rutkevich

Game Developer of iXL Digital

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Published on April 25, 2019

How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

Have you ever felt limited in your abilities to do something you really wanted to pursue? Maybe it was an ambition you had, or an idea to start something. Perhaps it was an opportunity that came your way, but you weren’t able to take it because something held you back.

Often, we’re unable to progress towards our goals because such obstacles stand in the way. We let our limitations stop or overshadow our abilities to see through to a goal.

Yet, there’s one thing that we rarely think of to use when trying to overcome limitations.

Creativity.

What is Creativity?

When I say creativity, I’m not talking about an innate talent. Creativity is a much needed, but often neglected, skill that everyone has! It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input.

Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems.

Everything, including brilliant inventions, cannot come from nothing; it all derives from some sort of inspiration. Creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.

From this perspective, you can find creativity at play in many areas.

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For example, Mark Zuckerburg rapidly became successful by taking the previously existing concept of social media, and combining it with an incredibly simple interface that appealed to a much wider audience. Uber and Lyft combined the idea of a traditional taxi service with an incredibly efficient smartphone app.

Both of these examples connect different ideas, find common ground amongst the differences, and create a completely new idea out of them.

That’s creativity in a nutshell, and anyone can improve theirs.

Limitations are Actually Opportunities

The advantage of using creativity, is to help you see limitations as opportunities. Take any limitation that you may find yourself facing, is there a way to look at things differently?

Let me illustrate with an example.

On the day of my son’s 5th birthday, my wife and I arranged a party for him at a children’s adventure park. His friends and family were all invited, and the plan was to have a long, fun day out to celebrate.

However, the day didn’t go exactly as planned…

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At Lifehack, we pride ourselves on a healthy work-life balance, so I wasn’t concerned about taking the day off to celebrate. But, on the big day, a call came through to my phone.

It was a manager from Lifehack. He excitedly told me that a group of investors were quite interested in our business proposition, and were wanting to meet later that day.

This was great news! A potential investment could be coming our way. But, I was already miles away from home and the office. Plus, it was my son’s birthday…

I asked if I could call him back once we got settled into the park.

To be honest, I was pretty certain I was not going to be able to make it. Asking to reschedule would be a risky request, but there was no way that I was going to miss my son’s party.

My son could sense something was off, and he asked me what was wrong. So I let him know that I just received a call about a meeting today, but also told him not to worry as today was about celebrating his birthday.

But like all kids, he continued questioning me…

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“But daddy, is it important?”

“No, of course not,” I bluffed.

Then, with childlike intuition and creativity, he asked: “Can’t you just meet with them at the park?”

And, then it struck me! This was the idea that I was missing.

Even though my son didn’t quite understand that it would not be possible for the investors to meet me at the park, it made sense for me to simply do a video call!

I could miss 25 minutes of the party to do a quick call while the rest of the party walked through the aquarium. And, in the end, that was exactly what happened.

I called back my teammate and asked him to briefly explain to the investors why I couldn’t be there in person to meet, but would be happy to join via video. I took the call, and was able to spend the rest of the day at the park with my son.

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Not only did my son enjoy his birthday, his simple idea led to a successful investment meeting that allowed us to get funding for a new project.

This is where I was able to turn a limitation into an opportunity that enabled me to reach my success.

Creativity is One Key to Success

When you use your creative ability to turn your limitations and setbacks into opportunities, you’ll find doors opening for you in areas you may have never imagined.

Remember, your attitude is also important when it comes to achieving a goal, and tackling a setback or problem. That’s because a positive attitude transforms not just your mental state, but your physical and emotional well being. It is the key to lasting total transformation.

Check out this article to learn more about how you can tune your attitude towards positivity.

So, the next time you’re feeling limited by your abilities, setbacks or challenges, don’t give up. Really look at the situation, and see how you can leverage on your creativity to find an alternative solution.

Featured photo credit: Photo by William Iven on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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