What We Learned as an Organization in 2015

by Sat Duggal

With just a few days until the new year, we thought it would be valuable and interesting to take a look over our collective shoulder at the past year and what we’ve learned as an organization, how we’ve grown, and how that shapes what we expect from 2016.

Impact of the Integrated Commercial Strategy (ICS)

One of our major initiatives this year was to publicize the ICS by means of an ebook, a series of webinars, and numerous posts on this blog.

The ICS isn’t exactly new, of course. It’s based to a large extent on the strategic marketing excellence programs we’ve been designing for clients for years. But this is the first time we’ve compiled the entire concept into a concrete form and made it available in this way. (If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at it, by the way, you can get a free copy of the ebook right here.)

One of the main points made in the eBook, and in our subsequent webinars and blog posts as well, is the fact that surviving (not to mention thriving) in business today requires successfully facing a host of pressures that are aimed at squashing your success:

  • Commoditization
  • Powerful procurement organizations
  • Internal malaise
  • Increased price sensitivities
  • Global competition
  • Lack of differentiation

The list goes on from there. This ongoing list of pressures that keep compressing profit margin, slowing growth, and hindering innovation, are compounded even more by the plethora of options marketers now have at their disposal from a strategic and a tactical standpoint. All of this is further complicated by the sheer speed at which things happen, or (we think) they need to happen.

So often this year we’ve seen our own clients cancel vital strategic consultations at the last minute in order to put out the latest fire. They’re overwhelmingly reactive rather than proactive, and it’s a trend that permeates the entire business environment these days. Once this reactive mentality becomes the norm, strategic and purposeful action starts to take a backseat and organizations can almost shift into neutral and just coast on momentum alone.

As the ICS framework makes very clear, this problem comes down to a lack of proper priorities, a lack of strategic focus and intent, and a lack of effective collaboration with functional colleagues.

Our experiences helping clients this year have only gone to strengthen our commitment to the Integrated Commercial Strategy as the new playbook for profitable growth going into 2016 and beyond.

3 questions marketers need to ask going into 2016

As we move into the new year, there are three basic questions we’re going to be focusing on urging our clients to sort out:

  1. 1. What are my top three priorities? (And, equally important, what am I going to say “no” to?)

  1. 2. What is my strategic focus and intent for 2016? (Is your audience effectively segmented to allow for laser-tight targeting? How well are you focusing the efforts of sales, marketing, and operations on reaching those specific targets?)

  1. 3. How am I doing at collaborating with my functional colleagues in the business? (This especially becomes vital when handoffs are needed, whether interdepartmentally or across company lines: are you making it happen or are bottlenecks the new norm?)

Based on what we’ve seen and experienced in 2015, we see no reason at all why focusing on answering these three questions and incorporating the ICS into daily business activities won’t continue to bring our current and future clients profitable growth in 2016.

ICS ebook