Understanding How To Use Business Purpose to Increase Value

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Much has been written and said about the importance of remaining true to who you are and being consistent in acting synchronously with your core values. Consistency, whether applied to personal behavior or your business can be the most challenging of the fundamentals of behavior or business management. In the face of pressure to grow sales, increase market share over the competition or meet arbitrary next quarter sales goals; staying true to who you are and what brought you to success can be a formidable challenge. Combine that with the one absolute that says, “in business to stand still in one place invites irrelevance in the market” and staying true to your brands identity can become a herculean task at best. Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Emerson wasn’t referring to business but the thought could just as legitimately be applied.

An organization’s core value is relative to that which it does best or that which it is best known for in a market. A product or service that has value to consumers can often include intangibles and anything else that consumers can associate with your efforts.  A company’s brand image is the total of all the perceptions held by customers about your specific product offerings and is an important component of your brands value. Straying too far from a core identity in search of increased profit or market position can be damaging.

Surveys have found that increasing the number or complexity of products will result in consumer confusion, a fact that is contrary to established marketing theory that more choices are better for consumers and will naturally lead to additional sales. New product offerings must be relevant to the core brand to be successful.

After years of unsuccessful efforts to appeal to a broader consumer market with non-traditional health-conscious salads, snack wraps, smoothies and low-calorie, fries, Burger King is finally realizing that it is all about the hamburger, and maybe the relevant hot dog. McDonald’s, after years of declining sales, is still searching for its former self, the one that got it to the top of the fast-food spectrum. Steve Barr, PwC’s US retail and consumer leader, says, “There are brands that know exactly who they are and they never ever try to be anything more than they are. I think, from my perspective, it’s less about history and more about relevancy, and even the best of brands, if they don’t maintain their relevancy, will lose their way with the consumer. The great thing about the classic brands is there really is a tremendous amount of trust. So when those brands do change, even as they’re constantly reinventing themselves, they’re always staying true to their purpose.”

The evolving advancement in technology and changes in consumer behavior are pushing companies to embrace new strategies to remain relevant in a dynamically changing marketplace. Those that are successful in meeting the new demands of its customers are those that remain focused on its core purpose. Are you consistent in your efforts to reach your audience? What has worked for your business?

The Pathway to Achieving Success

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“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”

So said Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, but a few simple disciplines, practiced or not, overstates simplicity and grossly understates the complex nature of human behavior. It is as if successful people achieve simply by performing a list of personality traits or checking-off enumerated action items on a daily list of “to do’s”. If we could just extrapolate those recurring behaviors that are fundamental to all successful people into an algorithm or formula, than we would have created the ultimate, failure killing, silver bullet. Obviously Jim Rohn, from his earliest days of a Sears Roebuck Clerk, knew it was not that simple. As an accomplished business leader and successful motivational speaker he came to understand that his success and the likelihood of others succeeding was significantly impacted by the continuous practice of a relative few personal behaviors and personality traits. But “silver bullets” are a myth and, much like “luck”, a figment of the imaginations of those who have yet to achieve their personal success. Some simple research will uncover anywhere from six to thirty personal characteristics or personality traits that, if practiced, will lead to success. So why are so many, so fortunate to have achieved success? What personal attributes have resulted in their being so accomplished?

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

First and foremost, the road to success whether in service to others, personal relationships or financial achievement, begins as a personal choice. The one fundamental reason why so many from the ranks of the disadvantaged and underprivileged have achieved success is rooted in a moment when they made a personal choice to create a different reality for their future. All things good and evil begin with the taking of personal responsibility. Out of the gate successful people realize that they alone are ultimately responsible for their accomplishments – or failures.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

Successful people don’t wait for life to happen to them. They set forth a plan of measurable goals and objectives and set into place actions that gravitate towards accomplishing those goals. Successful people understand that nothing happens by accident. That achievement is an environment chocked full of actions and reactions and those who fail to succeed at anything, do so by getting stuck in the conversation. Success begins and ends with calculating risk, making decisive decisions, moving forward by learning from mistakes and vowing to never waste time and effort in looking back in regret.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Successful people are inquisitive, for them learning never stops. Most understand they don’t possess all the secrets to achievement. For them learning is perpetual and lifelong in duration. Always self-aware and in-tune with their abilities and limitations, they seek out those who compliment their vulnerabilities and talents. They know that often the most profound source of achievement is founded in others experience, borrowed, enhanced and presented with renewed effort. Successful people are practiced communicators dedicated first to listening and then to learning from others who have gone before them.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

A recent study found that 77 percent of successful people reported growing up in middle-class families or poverty. Most didn’t inherit their money it came as the result of hard work, long hours, personal sacrifice, and significant effort. Complementing this, successful people bring an elevated sense of enthusiasm and passion to their job. They love what they are doing and it presents an aura of excitement and self-confidence to those around them.

“Never, never, never give up.” -Winston Churchill

Perhaps the single most common and prevailing trait of successful people is perseverance. Often synonymous with doggedness, steadfastness, persistence and tenacity, it implies resolute and unyielding commitment to a course of action. In the face of numerous challenges and doubters, the most successful people chose a course of action that often requires questioning of original assumptions, applying the art of knowing when to take two steps back to achieve one advantageous step forward, and that the realization of accomplishment sometimes results in the journey to be roundabout and not linear. For the achiever, no hurdle is too high to jump and no road block is too broad to circumvent around in the quest for success.

Defined in different forms and by different people success can manifest as personal fulfillment, relationships, financial attainment or social achievement. There is no “magic bullet” to achieving success in an endeavor, but there is path, a journey taken by others and laid out before all of the willing to follow.

Aligning Sales and Marketing to Produce Business Growth

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Ask any veteran in business and you’ll hear stories about the ongoing war between the marketing function and the sales department. Many relationships between the sales and the marketing departments often resemble an efficient and effective circular firing squad. As sales slump marketing blames sales for not executing on its plan and sales complains that marketing has failed to listen to the sales team or the customer and therefore put forth a failed plan.

This lack of a shared connection to the teams and the common process hurts organizational performance, ultimately raising the costs associated with launching the product to the consumer. Recent studies indicate that organizations with successfully aligned marketing and sales efforts experience significant sales growth over organizations who fail to achieve a strategic alignment of the departments.

In order to achieve effective alignment, effort must be taken to navigate personal conflicting emotions, egos and an inevitable competitive environment to establish a set of clear organizational objectives and goals for both functions. Marketing should never envision its purpose as one which operates within a vacuum, but rather one that reaches out to form partnerships with sales and client services to successfully deliver on its business value. Working strategically to combine both marketing and sales will produce business growth.

Establish Common Goals and Objectives – Goals and Objectives must be set and agreed to upfront for both teams. For marketing and sales to form a new unified relationship both players must focus their objective on improving performance. Your customers are a moving target, the relationship between marketing and sales must also evolve constantly in order to consistently hit their target.

Develop a Strategy – An effective strategy begins with defining the company’s vision, mission and business goals and sets forth specific benchmarks to achieving those goals. It should be planned and developed in consultation between marketing, sales and other stakeholders. Its purpose is to describe your business and its products and services; identify and position your products and services in the marketplace; formulate the tactics to be used and design a method to measure and monitor progress and effectiveness.

Monitor and Measure Results – It is still true that what gets measured gets accomplished. Design a set of performance parameters that are simple to understand by all stakeholders but comprehensive enough to be meaningful. Review them regularly and adapt your plan to respond to the dynamics of the marketplace.

Adapt – Today’s business environment is the most rapidly evolving and revolving in history. Truly nothing remains the same for long and the only true absolute is the act of change. Recognizing the dynamics of the marketplace and adapting to meet the consumers demands is critical to success.  You must be able to pivot, adapting your strategy as the business environment dictates.

In some instances long standing inter-department tension can make transitioning to a truly strategically aligned team effort a formidable task. Initiating a partnership with an experienced outside organization with specific skill-sets to successfully marry the two internal functional departments may produce the best results. Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) is experienced strategic experts to mid-size and growth stage companies that can customize a strategy for aligning sales and marketing functions for you.

“Many clients who first approach Junction for a marketing strategy, end up needing organizational alignment first,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner. “We are able to work with all stakeholders across an organization to develop a smart and purposeful strategy, designed to achieve the goals and objectives of the business, sales, and marketing. It’s incredibly effective and impactful.”

To learn more about Junction’s success bridging the gap between sales and marketing teams, contact Julie at julie@junction-creative.com.